Glucocorticoid use and serum lipid levels in US adults: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Aug 15; 53(4):528-35.AR
It has been generally perceived that glucocorticoids adversely affect serum lipid levels, although results of prospective studies have suggested the contrary. In this study, we sought to examine the relationship between glucocorticoid use and lipid profiles in a nationally representative sample of subjects.
Using data from 15,004 participants ages 20 years and older in The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994), we examined the relationship between glucocorticoid use and serum lipid profiles. Glucocorticoid use was determined from the household interview regarding prescription medication use. We used multivariate linear regression to adjust for age, sex, race or ethnicity, education, smoking status, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, energy fraction from protein and carbohydrates, and total energy intake.
Glucocorticoid use was associated with a higher serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level and a lower ratio of total cholesterol-to-HDL cholesterol among subjects ages 60 years or older (multivariate difference 9.0 mg/dl [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 3.9, 14.1] and -0.6 mg/dl [95% CI -0.9, -0.3], respectively) but not among those younger than age 60 years (multivariate difference -1.5 mg/dl [95% CI -5.4, 2.5] and 0.1 mg/dl [95% CI -0.3, 0.5], respectively). Correspondingly, glucocorticoid use was associated with a higher serum apolipoprotein A-I (Apo A-I) level and a lower Apo A-I:Apo B ratio (multivariate difference 12.1 mg/dl [95% CI 2.9, 21.3] and 0.16 mg/dl [95% CI 0.03, 0.29], respectively) only among subjects ages 60 years or older. Inhalation/intranasal glucocorticoid use was also associated with a higher serum HDL cholesterol level (multivariate difference 4.9 mg/dl [95% CI 0.3, 9.5]) only among subjects ages 60 years or older.
Our results suggest that glucocorticoid use is not associated with an adverse lipid profile in the US population and may be associated with a favorable lipid profile among persons ages 60 years or older, in concordance with previous prospective studies.