DESTIN, Fla. – A speaker here at the Congress of Clinical Rheumatology presented data that address the effect of rheumatoid arthritis therapies on cardiovascular and metabolic disease.
“We looked at epidemiological evidence of association of increased rates of cardiovascular (CV) disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA),” Joan Bathon, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, said. “We wanted to find the effect of rheumatoid inflammation and RA treatments on modifying risk of CV disease, metabolic pathways, insulin resistance and other comorbidities.”
Bathon said a series of cross-sectional and prospective studies investigated the subclinical measures of atherosclerosis and CV events, as well as the incidence of systematic, articular and vascular inflammation. Findings showed a reoccurring relationship between inflammation in RA to CV disease. They also showed that smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, high BMI and insulin resistance increased the risk of atherosclerosis in RA.
“Systematic and intravascular inflammation likely explain the increase in RA above matched controls in metabolic risk, subclinical atherosclerosis and CV events,” Bathon said. “Aggressive management of RA may actively reduce CV risk to or below background risk for the greater population.”
There were some limitations with the research, Bathon said. Some data were confounded by indication. There was also a lack of available information on confounding CV risk factors, RA activity over time, other RA characteristics and variable exclusion of previous CV events.
However, she said research will continue in this area and future studies will include larger cohorts. – by Shawn M. Carter
Bathon J. The effect of RA therapies on the outcome of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and other comorbidities. Presented at: Congress of Clinical Rheumatology; May 12-15, 2015; Destin, Fla.
Disclosure: Bathon reports she is a consultant for Regeneron and that the research was funded by the National Institutes of Heath, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the Rheumatology Research Foundation.