Few studies have examined dyslipidemia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), especially in Japanese cohorts. The aims of this study were to investigate the lipid profiles of RA patients, to assess the relationships between lipid profiles and RA activity and treatment, and to elucidate the effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) in Japanese patients with RA. A multicenter observational study was conducted in 488 patients with RA. Serum total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, and RA activity as assessed by disease activity score 28 (DAS28), and treatment for RA were analyzed retrospectively. In statin-treated patients, drug efficacy was also analyzed. The prevalence of hyper LDL-C, hyper TG, and hypo HDL-C were 29.3, 24.2, and 10.2 %, respectively, and the overall prevalence of dyslipidemia was 56.5 %. The level of HDL-C was inversely correlated with DAS28. Patients treated with low-dose glucocorticoids showed significantly higher levels of HDL-C and lower TC/HDL-C ratios compared with patients not receiving glucocorticoid treatment. Conversely, patients treated with biologic agents showed significantly higher levels of LDL-C, lower levels of HDL-C, and higher TC/HDL-C ratios. Atorvastatin significantly improved lipid profiles after a few months of treatment. The prevalence of dyslipidemia in Japanese patients with RA is higher than that in the non-RA population. Our result suggests that controlling RA disease activity might improve lipid profiles and eventually lower cardiovascular risk. Low-dose atorvastatin was effective for treatment of dyslipidemia in RA patients but had no apparent effect on RA disease activity.
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