Statins and cardiovascular risk in rheumatic diseases

Bianca Marasini, M. Massarotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) atherosclerotic events. The inflammatory state, which is the hallmark of chronic rheumatic diseases, is the important driving force for accelerated atherogenesis. Since the control of traditional risk factors alone is insufficient in reducing the risk, much attention has been directed towards the potential use of statins. Statins, a family of drugs that suppress cholesterol biosynthesis by inhibiting the hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase, have been shown to significantly reduce CV-related morbidity and mortality. In addition to lower lipid levels, several non-lipid lowering pleiotropic effects, including anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities, make statins potential therapeutic agents in chronic rheumatic diseases. However, lipid metabolism in chronic rheumatic diseases is complex, since inflammatory states can induce alterations in lipid levels and function, so that cholesterol target levels from general guidelines may not be adequate in chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Larger trials are needed to refine the precise benefits and health-utility associated with this therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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