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J Clin Pharm Ther. 2011 Jun;36(3):336-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2011.01254.x. Epub 2011 Mar 18.

Managing statin-induced muscle toxicity in a lipid clinic.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel.



Muscle toxicity is the most significant adverse effect related to statins. The aim of the study was to analyse the clinical course and achievement of LDL-C target levels in patients with statin-induced muscle toxicity.


All patients who were referred to the lipid clinic because of statin-induced muscle toxicity, or developed it during follow-up, or did not reach LDL-C target levels because of its previous occurrence, and attended the clinic for at least three follow-up visits, were eligible. Files were reviewed for demographic and clinical parameters, coronary heart disease risk level, the severity of muscle injury, the type of statin and dose that caused the adverse effects, the clinical approach and outcome, and whether the LDL-C target level was achieved.


The study group consisted of 54 patients. Twenty-three (43%) patients complained of myalgia, 23 (43%) had asymptomatic serum creatine kinase (CK) level elevation, five (9%) had myopathy and three (5%) had rhabdomyolysis. Fifty of the patients (93%) continued statin therapy and 43 (80%) achieved the LDL-C target level.


We show that for the majority of patients with statin-induced muscle toxicity, statin therapy can be safely and effectively continued. In cases of asymptomatic CK levels <3-5 upper limit of normal (ULN), statin treatment should not be interrupted. When CK levels >3-5 ULN or when various symptomatic muscle adverse reactions are present, statins rechallenge, after a recovery period, should be individualized either by a low dose of a potent statin or by a less potent statin. An additional lipid medication is advised if the target levels are not achieved.

© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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