Association of statin use with risk of back disorder diagnoses

Researchers in Texas led a retrospective study to investigate the link between statin therapy and risk of spondylosis, intervertebral disc disorder, or other back problems. The team dug into de-identified health care data from 2003–12 for San Antonio-area patients aged 30 years or older who were covered under the military's TRICARE system.

Researchers in Texas led a retrospective study to investigate the link between statin therapy and risk of spondylosis, intervertebral disc disorder, or other back problems. The team dug into de-identified health care data from 2003–12 for San Antonio-area patients aged 30 years or older who were covered under the military's TRICARE system. Using 115 baseline characteristics—including age, gender, comorbidities, medication use, and health care utilization—they created a propensity score and matched treatment groups in a 1:1 ratio. From the overall study sample of 60,455 patients, they matched 6,728 statin users with a like number of nonusers. Data analysis indicated that patients in the user group, who received the same care at the same cost as nonusers, were more likely to be diagnosed with back disorders. In addition, statin users were characterized by prolonged use and higher dosages compared with nonusers. The findings, the investigators conclude, speak to the need for more study into the overall effect of statin use on musculoskeletal health.