Statins reduce atherosclerosis and cardiovascular morbidity in the general population, but their efficacy and safety in children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are unknown. This study was undertaken to determine the 3-year efficacy and safety of atorvastatin in preventing subclinical atherosclerosis progression in pediatric-onset SLE.
A total of 221 participants with pediatric SLE (ages 10-21 years) from 21 North American sites were enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Prevention in Pediatric Lupus Erythematosus study, a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, between August 2003 and November 2006 with 36-month followup. Participants were randomized to receive atorvastatin (n=113) or placebo (n=108) at 10 or 20 mg/day depending on weight, in addition to usual care. The primary end point was progression of mean-mean common carotid intima-media thickening (CIMT) measured by ultrasound. Secondary end points included other segment/wall-specific CIMT measures, lipid profile, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) level, and SLE disease activity and damage outcomes.
Progression of mean-mean common CIMT did not differ significantly between treatment groups (0.0010 mm/year for atorvastatin versus 0.0024 mm/year for placebo; P=0.24). The atorvastatin group achieved lower hsCRP (P=0.04), total cholesterol (P<0.001), and low-density lipoprotein (P<0.001) levels compared with placebo. In the placebo group, CIMT progressed significantly across all CIMT outcomes (0.0023-0.0144 mm/year; P<0.05). Serious adverse events and critical safety measures did not differ between groups.
Our results indicate that routine statin use over 3 years has no significant effect on subclinical atherosclerosis progression in young SLE patients; however, further analyses may suggest subgroups that would benefit from targeted statin therapy. Atorvastatin was well tolerated without safety concerns.
"Ischemic heart disease remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in aSLE. A 3-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of atorvastatin in cSLE suggests male gender (P <0.001), higher body mass index (P <0.001), decreased creatinine clearance (P = 0.031), older age (P <0.001), and azathioprine use (P = 0.005 to 0.0102) all to be positively associated with an increased burden of sub-clinical coronary artery disease as measured by carotid intima-media thickening . Notably, moderate prednisone doses (0.15 to 0.4 mg/kg/day) were associated with fewer abnormal carotid intima-media thickening measurements (P = 0.024), and there was a trend towards slowed progression of subclinical atherosclerosis over time . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease and occurs worldwide in both children and adults. The estimated annual incidence among children is 2.22/100,000 and among adults is 23.2/100,000 in the United States. There is increasing understanding about differences in disease manifestations, medication use, and disease severity between those with childhood-onset SLE as compared with adult-onset SLE. Children have a more fulminant disease onset and course than adults with SLE, resulting in two to three times higher mortality. In future years, we anticipate more insight into the genetics between childhood-onset SLE and adult-onset SLE to help delineate the best therapies for both subsets of patients.
"However, there are currently no clear guidelines on the frequency of dyslipidemia screening and the threshold at which specific treatment should be contemplated for patients with pediatric rheumatic diseases has not been defined . The APPLE trial, the only study to prospectively assess the use of a statin to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, as measured by CIMT in pSLE, did not find a significant difference in progression of CIMT between the statin-treated and placebo-treated patient groups . However, secondary analyses did show a trend in favor of atorvastatin for other CIMT endpoints. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are becoming major health concerns for adults with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The enhanced atherogenesis in this patient population is promoted by the exposure to traditional risk factors as well as nontraditional cardiovascular insults, such as corticosteroid therapy, chronic inflammation and autoantibodies. Despite definite differences between many adult-onset and pediatric-onset rheumatologic diseases, it is extremely likely that atherosclerosis will become the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in this pediatric patient population. Because cardiovascular events are rare at this young age, surrogate measures of atherosclerosis must be used. The three major noninvasive vascular measures of early atherosclerosis - namely, flow-mediated dilatation, carotid intima-media thickness and pulse wave velocity - can be performed easily on children. Few studies have explored the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and even fewer have used the surrogate vascular measures to document signs of early atherosclerosis in children with pediatric-onset rheumatic diseases. The objective of this review is to provide an overview on cardiovascular risk and early atherosclerosis in pediatric-onset systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and juvenile dermatomyositis patients, and to review cardiovascular preventive strategies that should be considered in this population.
"Statins are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to their lipid-lowering effects. However, two large randomized controlled trials failed to show any beneficial effects of 20 mg atorvastatin versus placebo in adult and pediatric SLE patients without clinical cardiovascular disease [65,66]. The use of statins in SLE patients should thus be limited to treat hyperlipidemia. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease of diverse manifestations, with onset usually in young women in the third to fourth decade of life. The chronic nature of this relapsing remitting disease leads to organ damage accrual over time. Mortality and morbidity are increased in patients with SLE compared with the general population. Therapeutic advances over the last few decades have led to significant improvements in patient outcomes. Five-year survival has improved to over 90% from a low of 50% in the 1950s. However, multiple aspects of the management of SLE patients are still far from optimal. Early diagnosis remains a challenge; diagnostic delays leading to delay in definitive treatment are common. Monitoring treatment remains problematic due to the paucity of sensitive biomarkers. Current treatment regimens rely heavily on corticosteroids, even though corticosteroids are well known to cause organ damage. Treatment of refractory disease manifestations such as nephritis, recalcitrant cutaneous lesions and neurological involvement require new approaches with greater efficacy. Cognitive dysfunction is common in SLE patients, but early recognition and adequate treatment are yet to be established. Premature accelerated atherosclerosis remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Fatigue is one of the most disabling symptoms, and contributes to the poor quality of life in patients with SLE. Ongoing research in SLE faces many challenges, including enrollment of homogeneous patient populations, use of reliable outcome measures and a standard control arm. The current review will highlight some of the outstanding unmet challenges in the management of this complex disease.
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