Incidence of musculoskeletal and neoplastic diseases in patients on statin therapy: Results of a retrospective cohort analysis

Ishak A. Mansi, Eric M. Mortensen, Mary J. Pugh, Michael Wegner, Christopher R. Frei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Because of their beneficial cardiovascular effects, several studies have recently advocated starting statins at a young age for primary prevention. However, some reports suggest that statin therapy may be associated with an increased incidence of musculoskeletal and neoplastic diseases. This study was conducted to investigate the incidence of various musculoskeletal and neoplastic diseases in statin users and nonusers. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of patients in the San Antonio Military Multi-Service Market during the period from October 1, 2003, to March 5, 2010, was conducted. The International Classification of Diseases, 9th edition, diagnosis codes between 2 cohort groups - statin users and nonusers - were compared. Statin users were those patients with at least one 3-month prescription for a statin in the fiscal year 2004. Nonusers were those patients who received a prescription - but not a statin - during the period of the study. Both groups were assessed for the development of musculoskeletal and neoplastic diseases in the following 4-year period (October 1, 2004, to September 30, 2009). RESULTS: A total of 92,360 patients were identified: 12,980 statin users and 45,997 nonusers. After adjusting for age, sex and Charlson comorbidity index, statin users had significantly higher rates of osteoarthritis and arthropathy (odds ratio: 1.26; 95% confidence interval: 1.19-1.33), and dorsopathies, rheumatism and chondropathies (odds ratio: 1.20; 95% confidence interval: 1.12-1.27). CONCLUSIONS: In this retrospective analysis, statin use was associated with an increased incidence of musculoskeletal diseases, including arthropathy. Further studies are needed to provide physicians and their patients with adequate information regarding statin therapy, particularly if recommended for primary prevention in younger populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013



  • Arthropathy
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neoplasm
  • Side effects
  • Statin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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