The Journal of rheumatology

Is statin exposure associated with occurrence or better outcome in giant cell arteritis? Results from a French population-based study.

PMID 25512477


To investigate the potential association between statin use and giant cell arteritis (GCA) course. Using the French National Health Insurance system, we included patients with incident GCA from the Midi-Pyrenees region, southern France, from January 2005 to December 2008 and randomly selected 6 controls matched by age, sex, and date of diagnosis. Statin exposure was compared between patients with GCA and their controls before GCA occurrence with a logistic regression. Influence of statin exposure on prednisone requirements during GCA course was explored with a Cox model, considering statin exposure as a time-varying variable. The cohort included 103 patients (80 women, mean age 74.8 ± 9 yrs, mean followup 48.9 ± 14.8 mos), compared to 606 controls. Statin exposure (27.2% of patients with GCA and 23.4% of controls) was not associated with GCA occurrence (adjusted OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.76-1.96; p = 0.41). Diabetes mellitus was significantly associated to GCA occurrence (adjusted OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.11-0.72; p = 0.008). After diagnosis, exposure to statins up to 20 months was associated with maintenance while taking low prednisone doses (p = 0.01). Statin exposure was not associated with GCA occurrence in the general population. However, exposure to statins up to 20 months may favor a quicker corticosteroid tapering. Based on those results, statin effect on GCA course should not be definitively ruled out.