Statins are safe to take with most medicines used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One medicine, rituximab, may not work as well when taken with statins. Your doctor may also need to check your liver function if you are taking statins with certain RA medicines. Some types of statins don’t mix well with tocilizumab, tofacitinib, or leflunomide. Your doctor may avoid prescribing these statins if you are taking these RA medicines. Sometimes, the statin dose just needs adjusting to work okay with RA medicines.
Statins are the most common medicine used to lower cholesterol. Lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. This risk is higher than normal in people with RA. Statins can help lower your risk.
Rituximab is used for some people if their RA has not improved with other medicines. In some studies, when statins and rituximab were taken at the same time, the rituximab did not work as well. But in other studies, there was no effect.
Methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, tofacitinib, and tocilizumab are treatments for active RA. Some people taking these medicines have liver function test (LFT) levels that are above normal. High LFT levels may be an early sign of liver inflammation or injury. Sometimes the LFT levels return to normal over time without stopping the medicine. Some people have developed liver damage after taking methotrexate for a long time. Liver damage is very rare with other RA medicines. Statins used to lower cholesterol can also raise LFT levels in some people. Using statins together with some RA medicines may further increase this risk. Your doctor can do regular blood tests of your liver function. This way you can see what effects the drugs might be having on your liver.
Statins can be an important medicine to help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. People with RA and high cholesterol can benefit from taking statins. It is safe for most people to take statins with their RA medicine. Talk to your doctor to see if statins are right for you.
Statins are OK with your medications for RA!