Statins won’t help protect bones, study finds

The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins have been touted by some as capable of reducing the risk for broken bones. But, it appears that’s not the case, a new study finds. In the study, almost 18,000 older adults were selected to take either the statin Crestor (rosuvastatin) or an inactive placebo. Of the 431 fractures during the study, 221 were among those taking Crestor and 210 were among people taking the placebo, the researchers found.

“Our study does not support the use of statin drugs in the doses used for heart disease for the prevention of bone fractures,” said lead researcher Dr. Jessica Pena, an assistant professor of cardiology at Montefiore Medical Centre and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Earlier studies have suggested that statins used to treat heart disease may also reduce the risk of fracture, and researchers have thought that inflammation may be the shared link between heart disease and bone fractures, she explained.

“However, in this randomized clinical trial of men and women with evidence of inflammation, treatment with rosuvastatin did not reduce the risk of fracture during the study period,” Pena said. Although, Crestor was the only statin tested, Pena said the same results have been found in studies using other statins. “Our results are consistent with and extend the findings of these studies,” she said.

Dr. Robert Recker, director of the Osteoporosis Research Centre at Creighton University in Omaha, looked at the study’s findings a bit differently. The study, he said, doesn’t show that statins are not protective against fractures so much as it shows that statins do not increase the risk for fractures. “I am not surprised at what they found because there isn’t any biological link between heart disease and fractures,” he said. “They were dispelling the myth that there might be a link between statins and fractures.”

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