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Osteoporosis Health Center

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Statins May Help Prevent Bone Fractures

Use of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Might Fight Osteoporosis
WebMD Health News

Jan. 26, 2004 -- Taking statins to help your heart may also benefit your bones.

A review of recent studies on statins shows use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs may reduce the risk of bone fractures in older women. But the results aren't conclusive.

Researchers say the findings suggest that clinical trials to test the effects of statins on preventing bone-weakening diseases like osteoporosis are needed.

Statins Appear to Reduce Fracture Risks

The study, published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at combined data on statin use and bone fractures from four large studies of older women.

After taking into account factors that are known to affect fracture risk, such as age, body mass index (BMI), and estrogen use, the review showed that statin users had a 38%-81% lower risk of hip bone fractures and a 5%-51% lower risk of nonspinal fractures.

An additional analysis of eight other studies with information on statin use and documented fractures confirmed those findings. Those studies showed that statin use was associated with a 57% reduction in the number of hip fractures reported and a 31% reduction in nonspinal fractures.

However, a review of two clinical trials on statins did not show a protective effect of the cholesterol-lowering drugs in reducing hip or nonspinal fractures.

"These findings build on the recent reports that statins increase bone formation in rodents and suggest that statins may be useful agents for osteoporosis," write researcher Douglass C. Bauer, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues. "Controlled trials specifically designed to test the effect of statins on skeletal metabolism and fracture are needed."

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