Current Rheumatology Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 428–437 | Cite as

Lipid Paradox in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Changes With Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapies

  • Matxalen Amezaga Urruela
  • Maria E. Suarez-Almazor


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality, related not only to traditional CV risk factors, but also to a chronic inflammatory state. However, lipid profiles in RA are different from those observed in the general population at risk of CV disease, where there is evidence of a positive relationship between disease and high cholesterol levels. In untreated patients with active RA this relationship is different, with a paradoxical effect resulting in lower levels of cholesterol associated with an increased risk of CV disease. In this review, we summarize the latest evidence on lipid abnormalities in the setting of RA and the interaction between inflammation and lipoproteins, as well as the effect of DMARDs and biologic therapies on lipid profiles and the possible implications for CV outcomes in this population.


Rheumatoid arthritis Lipids Cardiovascular risk Markers of inflammation Paradox Therapy Risk factors Lipid profiles Atherosclerosis 



Dr. Suarez-Almazor is the recipient of a K24 award from the National Institute on Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders (NIAMS K24AR053593). The article’s contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAMS or NIH.


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matxalen Amezaga Urruela
    • 1
  • Maria E. Suarez-Almazor
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of General Internal Medicine and Ambulatory TreatmentBaylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Section of Rheumatology & Section of Clinical Research and Education, General Internal Medicine, Department of General Internal Medicine and Ambulatory TreatmentThe University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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