A new analysis throws into doubt the wisdom of using statin therapy to reduce the risk of fractures.

Using the UK General Practice Research Database, scientists from Southampton General Hospital reviewed the data from 81,880 patients, aged 50 years or older, who had suffered a fracture of the vertebrae, clavicle, humerus, radius/ulna, wrist, ankle, hip or foot. Patients were compared with the same number of age, sex and practice matched controls.

The results showed that the overall risk of fractures among current statin users was much the same as for non users.

Long term use of statins did not prove protective nor was there was any reduction in fracture risk with higher statin dosages. With doses less than 20 mg/day, the risk of fracture was 13 per cent greater than with non use; with doses of 20-39.9 mg/ day, it was 7 per cent greater. Doses of 40 mg/day or more lowered the risk of fracture marginally to 0.85 that of non users (J Am Med Assoc, 2001; 285: 1850-5, 1888-9).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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