Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
The hypothesis we set out to investigate was that statin use is associated with reduced joint pain/stiffness and consequently improved physical functioning and quality of life. This hypothesis was based on findings from previous studies suggesting that statin use may prevent the development of radiographic osteoarthritis. However, in contrast with this hypothesis, results from this large study did not demonstrate an association between statin use and reduced onset of joint pain or stiffness. Moreover, statin use did seem to be associated with an increased risk of functional limitations and poorer self-reported health, especially in the middle-aged women.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Peeters: There is yet insufficient evidence that statin use may prevent or delay the onset of symptomatic osteoarthritis. Associations between statin use and poor physical functioning and poor self-rated health may be explained by factors other than joint pain/stiffness, for example muscle pain.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Peeters: In contrast with previous studies, the current results do not support an effect of dose and duration on the relationship between statin use and joint-related symptoms. Further research is required to clarify the effects of dose and duration on the statin use–osteoarthritis relationship. Furthermore, the current results are the first to show some evidence that the effects of statins on physical functioning may differ for types of statins. If these findings are confirmed in future studies, this could have important implications for prescribing.