September 27, 2005

Statins cut bone fracture risk in men, U.S study says

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Statin drugs used to lower cholesterol
levels also cut the risk of bone fractures in adults, a study
said on Monday.

In a 2-1/2-year survey of 83,000 mostly male U.S. military
veterans, the 28,000 who took statin drugs had roughly a
one-third lower risk of fracturing bones compared to those not
taking statins or those taking other types of
cholesterol-lowering drugs, the report said.

The finding backed up previous research that showed statins
lowered bone fracture risk in women, who as they grow older are
more susceptible than men to developing brittle bones, the
report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine said.

Since more men than women take statins, it was important to
find out that men also got the bone benefit, wrote study author
Dr. Richard Scranton of the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology
Research and Information Center in Boston.

Statins lower cholesterol naturally produced by the liver,
thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Among the theories explaining how statins strengthen bones
is that the drugs reduce inflammation, allowing small blood
vessels to function better and promote new bone growth, the
report said.

Statins are the world's most popular class of prescription
drugs, and Atorvastatin, sold by Pfizer Inc. under the brand
name Lipitor, is the biggest seller at $11.1 billion in sales
in the year ended in July.