Statins May Help Prevent Bone Fractures
Use of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Might Fight Osteoporosis
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
"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."