Scientific Research

High doses of statins linked to greater risk of osteoporosis according to study


Statins taken at low doses can protect against bone resorption but if the dosage is too strong, there may be a greater risk of osteoporosis according to a new study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases and conducted by the Medical University of Vienna and the Complexity Science Hub.


Statins are used to contain cholesterol levels and are among the most prescribed by doctors. They are also among the most studied drugs at the research level, especially as regards the possible side effects that they can bring.


According to Michael Leutner, a researcher in the department of endocrinology and metabolism of the Viennese university, statins lower blood cholesterol but cholesterol itself is still of fundamental importance for different processes and phenomena that occur within the body. For example, it is used for the production of hormones such as estradiol and testosterone.


And the low levels of these hormones, particularly estrogens during menopause, can increase osteoporosis in women, as explained by Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, another researcher working on the study. Analyzing the data of more than 7.9 million Austrians found between 2006 and 2007, the researchers found a link between the dosage of statins and the frequency of osteoporosis.


They specifically found that dosages up to 10 milligrams of lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin or rosuvastatin were linked to fewer diagnoses of osteoporosis than patients who did not take statins. However, with doses of 20 milligrams or more, the connection changed and became relative to a greater number of cases of osteoporosis in patients treated with simvastatin, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin, as explained by Kautzky-Willer herself.


These links suggest that the higher the statin dosage, the stronger the connection with the risk of osteoporosis and this was observed in both sexes.