Statin use in giant cell arteritis: A retrospective study

Jean Schmidt, Tanaz A. Kermani, Francesco Muratore, Cynthia S. Crowson, Eric L. Matteson, Kenneth J. Warrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objective. (1) To examine the association between statin use and giant cell arteritis (GCA); (2) to compare the clinical features and disease course of GCA among statin users and nonusers. Methods. For this retrospective study, we reviewed the medical records of all patients with biopsy-positive GCA diagnosed between 1998 and 2008. Using a case-control design, we compared the frequency of statin use in GCA patients to non-GCA population-based subjects who were randomly selected and individually matched by sex, age, and calendar year to the GCA cases. Statin use at diagnosis or index date and during followup was abstracted. In subjects with GCA, clinical information at diagnosis and followup was collected. Results. We included 594 patients, 297 with GCA (73% female), mean age at diagnosis 75 years. The rate of statin exposure at index date was 18.1% for GCA patients versus 33.3% for controls (p < 0.001). Patients using statins were less likely to develop GCA compared with patients not using statins (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.15-0.6, p < 0.001), even after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors. Among patients with GCA, the presenting clinical features and acute-phase reactants were similar in patients receiving statins compared to those not on statin therapy. These 2 groups were also similar with regard to relapse rate, prednisone tapering, and overall survival. Conclusion. Patients using statins may be less likely to develop GCA compared to patients who are not using statins. Statin use does not appear to modify the clinical presentation or the course of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-915
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Epidemiology
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl coa reductases
  • Vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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