Keele University studied more than 16,000 adults and found that people on the highest doses of statins – 18.5mg or more a day had 60 per cent lower osteoarthritis rates than people not taking the drugs.
They found that taking between 10mg to 18.5mg dose of the drug a day resulted in a 20 per cent reduction in the chances of developing the disease,the ‘Daily Express’ reported. Osteoarthritis causes crippling pain – usually in the hands,spine,knees and hips – as bones rub against each other as cartilage breaks down.
Researchers at the university’s Health Services Research Unit and its Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre also found that some people on very low doses seemed to be at higher risk of arthritis than patients not taking statins.
This suggests the condition may be more closely linked to heart disease than first thought. “Our work has shown that the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are also associated with mosteoarthritis. The co-occurrence of osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease is common,” researchers wrote in the Journal of General and Internal Medicine.
Experts said more research is needed before statins could be given to patients most at risk or in the early stages of the disease.Scientists now suspect that inflammation plays a much bigger role in osteoarthritis than first thought. They are investigating whether drugs used in rheumatoid arthritis,which occurs when the immune system attacks the joints,can also help in osteoarthritis.
“We welcome this study as it contributes to the idea that osteoarthritis is not simply wear and tear and that in the future drug treatments can offer hope to people with the
condition,” a spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK said. “Arthritis Research UK is also looking at ways to reduce inflammation in people with osteoarthritis and we are funding trials to investigate whether drugs used in rheumatoid
arthritis are also effective for people living with osteoarthritis,” she added.