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It is well known that people with rheumatoid arthritis have an elevated risk of heart attack.   There has been a new study that suggests using bisphosphonates, a bone-strengthening drug, may help to lower this risk.  At Duke University School of Medicine, they have been studying data based on over 19,000 people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.  They are all enrolled in a recent study known as the National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases which was conducted between 2003 and 2011.  At some point or another over 5000 of these patients were known to have taken bisphosphonates.  As a part of the trial, they were required to complete questionnaires every six months that included information such as current medications, health status, demographics, as well as clinical information.

They found that:

  • The risk of heart attack decreased by between 30 and 50 per cent among bisphosphonate users
  • The researchers noted that bisphosphonates have immunomodulatory effects, which may influence the development of vascular disease and the risk of heart attack
  • This finding suggests a potential mechanism for the mortality reduction observed with bisphosphonate medications.
  • These are large numbers of people with rheumatoid arthritis who had a reduced risk of heart attack after taking bisphosphonates for their osteoporosis.
  • The results of this study could have a significant impact on clinical practice

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