Disease States

Statin therapy improves disease activity in Lupus patients

Statin therapy improves disease activity in Lupus patientsSystemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with symptoms ranging from skin conditions and joint pains to much more serious complications involving vital organs.  Although not common within UK populations the severity of the condition has resulted in numerous studies looking at ways to manage the disease. New research published in Rheumatology Online (2) looked at the effect that statin therapy had on markers of inflammation.

Plasma / serum levels were tested from two sub-groups:

  1. 21 patients (mean age of 44.6 years, 86% women), suffering with SLE who were placed on statin therapy before and after for a period of at least six months. Disease activity was assessed using Systamatic Lupus Activity Measured-Revised (SLAM-R) score.
  2. A control group of 32 frequency matched patients (aged 18 – 65 years, 85% women), with no history or evidence of inflammatory or autoimmune conditions.

Samples were assessed for biomarkers associated with inflammation; these were IL-1b, IL-6, IL-8 tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), soluble intercellular cell adhesion molecule (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-I) and anticardiolipin antibodies.

It was found that patients with SLE had significantly elevated median levels of IL-6 (9.84 vs. 0), VEGF (261.19 vs. 88.29), sCD40L (1737.41 vs. 1635) and TNF-a (7.19 vs. 0) when compared with control patients. Statin therapy did result in a decrease of patients SLAM-R score (P=.0199); however biomarker levels did not experience significant changes. SLAM-R scores did not have a significant association with biomarkers.

The new research enforces the importance of statin therapy when treating SLE patients, with researchers noting “We have shown that statin therapy resulted in statistically significant clinical improvement in SLE patients as measured by reductions in SLAM-R scores and may be beneficial in the treatment of lupus patients.”

1.    Patient Online http://www.patient.co.uk/health/systemic-lupus-erythematosus-leaflet
2.    Rheumatology Online- http://www.clinexprheumatol.org/abstract.asp?a=6272

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