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Simvastatin increases bone mineral density in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women

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DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2004.01.010
  • Medicine


Abstract Statins are able to reduce cardiovascular morbility and mortality mainly through their hypocholesterolemic effect. Beyond the inhibition of cholesterol synthesis, the identification of “ancillary” mechanisms has motivated studies evaluating the relationship between the use of statins and the modification of bone mineral density (BMD). To date, clinical trials have provided discordant results. The aim of our study was to evaluate whether simvastatin treatment (40 mg/d) could modify BMD in hypercholesterolemic women (n = 40) after a 2-year treatment as compared with a control group treated only with diet (n = 20) and matched by gender, age, body mass index (BMI), lipids, menopausal age, and BMD and the number of osteopenic, osteoporotic, and normal women (on the basis of T-score value). Exclusion criteria were secondary hyperlipemias and osteoporosis and current or previous therapy with statins, bisphosphonates, and estrogens. The BMD was measured at the lumbar spine and hip by dual energy x-ray absorpiometry (DEXA). In the group treated by simvastatin, BMD, both on the spine and femoral hip, showed a significant increase after 8 and 24 months, respectively (0.878 ± 0.133 v 0.893 ± 0.130 and 0.907 ± 0.132; 0.840 ± 0.101 v 0.854 ± 0.101; and 0.863 ± 0.10, P < .001); there was a percentage increase of 1.7% after 8 months and 3.3% after 24 months at the spine; at the femoral hip, BMD increased 1.6% after 8 months and 2.7% after 24 months. The group treated only with hypolipidic diet demonstrated after 8 and 24 months a slight decrease in BMD both on the spine and femoral hip (respectively, 0.884 ± 0.175 v 0.872 ± 0.174 and 0.861 ± 0.164; 0.860 ± 0.110 v 0.853 ± 0.096 and 0.847 ± 0.095; P < .05). In conclusion, as partly suggested by retrospective or observational data, this longitudinal study indicates that simvastatin treatment exerts a beneficial effect on BMD.

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