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Objective To investigate the effect of atorvastatin therapy on inflammation, disease activity, endothelial dysfunction, and arterial stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods This study included 30 patients with early RA, randomly divided into 2 groups. Group 1 (n = 15) received methotrexate (MTX; 0.2 mg/kg/week; mean (15.5 ± SD 1.3) plus prednisone (10 mg/day). Group 2 (n = 15) received MTX and prednisone with the same previous doses plus atorvastatin therapy (40 mg/day). Ten healthy individuals of similar age and sex served as controls. Disease activity, lipid profile, serum malondialdehyde (MDA), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), resistin, adiponectin, and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were measured before and after 6 months of treatment.
Results Atorvastatin combined with MTX therapy significantly reduced serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p < 0.001). Disease activity variables, serum MDA, TNF-α, resistin, adiponectin, and FMD were significantly improved by the drug combinations (p < 0.001).
Conclusion Atorvastatin therapy in patients with RA reduced disease activity and conventional and novel vascular risk factors that promote the atheromatous lesion. Therapy was also associated with concomitant improvement in endothelial function.