Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Statins May Curb Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Cholesterol-Fighting Statin Drugs Show Potential in Lab Tests
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Jan. 30, 2006 -- Cholesterol-curbing drugs called statins may help treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a new study shows.

    In lab tests, statins prompted the death of certain joint cells involved in rheumatoid arthritis, according to the researchers. They included Takao Nagashima, MD, of St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan.

    Some statins may have "potential" against rheumatoid arthritis, write Nagashima and colleagues. But they aren't recommending statins for rheumatoid arthritis since they didn't study any rheumatoid arthritis patients directly and they tested high doses of the drugs.

    Examples of statins include the brands Lipitor, Pravachol, and Zocor.

    Stalking Cell Death

    The study focused on synovial cells. Normally, synovial tissue makes synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints.

    In rheumatoid arthritis, the joints are attacked by the body's immune system. No one knows exactly how rheumatoid arthritis works, but out-of-control synovial cells may play a key role in the joint damage, the researchers write.

    Could statins control troublesome synovial cells? To find out, Nagashima's team tested several Japanese-made statins on synovial cells.

    One drug, fluvastatin, sparked synovial cell death. Another statin, pravastatin, didn't have the same effect, the study shows.

    Although these statins work similarly to improve cholesterol, they performed differently with synovial cells, the researchers note. The doses used in the experiment were about 10 times higher than normal prescriptions for cholesterol control.

    Statins should be tested against rheumatoid arthritis in clinical trials, write Nagashima and colleagues.

    Today on WebMD

    rubbing hands
    Avoid these 6 common mistakes.
    mature couple exercising
    Decrease pain, increase energy.
     
    mature woman threading needle
    How much do you know?
    hands
    Swelling, fatigue, pain, and more.
     
    Lucille Ball
    Slideshow
    Hand bones X-ray
    Article
     
    prescription pills
    Article
    Woman massaging her neck
    Quiz
     
    woman roasting vegetables in oven
    Slideshow
    Woman rubbing shoulder
    Slideshow
     
    doctor and patient hand examination
    Video
    arthritis
    Article