Low doses of anti-inflammatory steroids can double the risk of heart problems, research shows
- Researchers believe that low doses of steroids can increase the risk of heart problems
- P.In patients taking less than 5 mg prednisolone per day, the risk of cardiovascular disease was almost doubled
- It was already known that higher doses of the treatment increase the risk of disease
- Data from 2011 shows that about one percent of Britons use glucocorticoids such as prednisolone
Low doses of a steroid may be associated with an increased risk of heart problems, new research has suggested.
Scientists found that for patients taking less than 5mg of prednisolone per day, the absolute risk of cardiovascular disease nearly doubled compared to patients who were not taking glucocorticoids.
While high doses of steroids are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, scientists say the impact of smaller amounts is not fully known.
A new study indicates that even low doses of oral glucocorticoids can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Low doses of a steroid may be associated with an increased risk of heart problems at high doses, new research suggests. Pictured: prednisolone tablets
Glucocorticoids are steroids widely prescribed to treat a range of inflammatory diseases, allergies and certain cancers.
Data from 2011 shows that about one percent of Britons use glucocorticoids as part of their treatment.
Researchers analyzed medical records of 87,794 patients diagnosed with six different immune-mediated inflammatory diseases who received care from 389 primary care clinics in the UK from 1998-2017.
Increased dose-dependent risk ratios were found in all cardiovascular conditions measured, including atrial fibrillation, heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, peripheral arterial disease, cerebrovascular disease and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
The researchers say it was previously thought to be safe to take 5 mg of glucocorticoid over the long term.
Scientists found that for patients taking less than 5 mg of prednisolone per day, the absolute risk of cardiovascular disease nearly doubled, compared to patients who were not taking glucocorticoids.
Their findings suggest that even patients taking low doses can double the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
According to the researchers, the study indicates that patients who require long-term steroid treatment should receive the lowest effective dose.
The study published in PLOS Medicine by Mar Pujades-Rodriguez at the University of Leeds and colleagues suggests that patients should have a personalized cardiovascular risk prevention plan that takes into account past and present steroid use.
Although the study was limited by the lack of available hospital data on prescription drug adherence and may have reduced the magnitude of dose-response estimates, the authors believe that the large sample size contributes to greater generalizability of results.
They write, “These results underscore the importance of rapid and regular monitoring of cardiovascular risk and the use of primary preventive treatment at all glucocorticoid doses.”
Kevin McConway, Professor Emeritus of Applied Statistics, The Open University, said, “It is important to note that these results do not directly tell us about people using these types of steroids for other health conditions, as such people were not included. in this research.
They also don’t tell us that steroid drugs are taken through other routes (such as inhalers) instead of swallowing them.
It is also important to note that even among the patients with the specific inflammatory diseases they studied, the researchers found that a large number of them were not taking the drugs in question.
“Only 16% of them had been prescribed oral glucocorticoids in the year before the researchers started monitoring them.”
He added, “ Some of the increase in risk, even for people taking relatively small doses of these drugs compared to people who don’t take any at all, may sound alarming, but this needs to be put in context that the risks are not great to start with.
The researchers estimate that the risk of cardiovascular disease, in people with the affected diseases who did not use these drugs at all, was 1.4% in one year, which is not that great given their average age (they were an average of 58 years ). when they entered the study). ‘