Objective Whether HMG-CoA-reductase inhibition, the main mechanism of statins, plays a role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis, is not entirely known so far. Consequently, this study was set out to investigate the relationship of different kinds and dosages of statins with osteoporosis, hypothesising that the inhibition of the synthesis of cholesterol could influence sex-hormones and therefore the diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Methods Medical claims data of all Austrians from 2006 to 2007 was used to identify all patients treated with statins to compute their daily defined dose averages of six different types of statins. We applied multiple logistic regression to analyse the dose-dependent risks of being diagnosed with osteoporosis for each statin individually.
Results In the general study population, statin treatment was associated with an overrepresentation of diagnosed osteoporosis compared with controls (OR: 3.62, 95% CI 3.55 to 3.69, p<0.01). There was a highly non-trivial dependence of statin dosage with the ORs of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis was underrepresented in low-dose statin treatment (0–10 mg per day), including lovastatin (OR: 0.39, CI 0.18 to 0.84, p<0.05), pravastatin (OR: 0.68, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.89, p<0.01), simvastatin (OR: 0.70, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.86, p<0.01) and rosuvastatin (OR: 0.69, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.87, p<0.01). However, the exceeding of the 40 mg threshold for simvastatin (OR: 1.64, 95% CI 1.31 to 2.07, p<0.01), and the exceeding of a 20 mg threshold for atorvastatin (OR: 1.78, 95% CI 1.41 to 2.23, p<0.01) and for rosuvastatin (OR: 2.04, 95% CI 1.31 to 3.18, p<0.01) was related to an overrepresentation of osteoporosis.
Conclusion Our results show that the diagnosis of osteoporosis in statin-treated patients is dose-dependent. Thus, osteoporosis is underrepresented in low-dose and overrepresented in high-dose statin treatment, demonstrating the importance of future studies’ taking dose-dependency into account when investigating the relationship between statins and osteoporosis.
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Handling editor Francis Berenbaum
Contributors Study design: ML, CM, ST, PK and AK-W. Data analysis: ML, CM, PK. Manuscript writing: ML, CM, PK. All authors read, reviewed and approved the final manuscript.
Funding This study was funded by the WWTF (MA16-045).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.
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