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Statin therapy fails to slow progression of atherosclerosis in pediatric lupus patients
Date:10/26/2011

Atorvastatin therapy was found to be ineffective in reducing atherosclerosis progression in children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Results of the Atherosclerosis Prevention in Pediatric Lupus Erythematosus (APPLE) Trial, now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), report that the statin therapy did trend toward positive effect of treatment and may benefit patients with more severe SLE who were not included in the trial.

The ACR reports that SLE affects 322,000 adult Americans. Exact figures for pediatric SLE cases are difficult to establish, but the best estimate is that 5,000 to 10,000 children in the U.S. have lupus (Lehman 1996). One of the long-term complications of SLE for both adult and pediatric patients is accelerated atherosclerosisa build-up of plaque in the aterial wall which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Medical evidence reports that SLE patients are up to 8 times more likely to develop premature coronary heart disease, compared to the general population. Women with lupus are 50 times more likely to have a heart attack than healthy premenopausal women.

"The prognosis for pediatric lupus patients has significantly improved over the last few decades, however diagnosis at an earlier age subjects these patients to greater cardiovascular risk from systemic disease activity and treatment side effects over a longer time period," explains lead investigator, Dr. Laura Schanberg with the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Previous studies show children with SLE have more severe organ damage, and longer exposure to illness and potentially toxic treatments compared with adults.

Prevalence of atherosclerosis in pediatric SLE is unknown, but precursors of the disease such as thickening of aterial artery walls as measured by carotid intima-media thicken
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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