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Med Hypotheses. 2011 Oct;77(4):658-61. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.07.007. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

Symptomatic myositis-myalgia in hypercholesterolemic statin-treated patients with concurrent vitamin D deficiency leading to statin intolerance may reflect a reversible interaction between vitamin D deficiency and statins on skeletal muscle.

Author information

1
Cholesterol and Metabolism Center, Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, ABC Building, 3200 Burnet Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA. cjglueck@health-partners.org

Abstract

Myositis-myalgia is the most common cause of statin intolerance, leading to cessation of statin use, with consequent failure to lower LDL cholesterol to target levels for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We hypothesize that symptomatic myositis-myalgia in hypercholesterolemic statin-treated patients with concurrent 25 (OH) vitamin D deficiency and statin intolerance may reflect a reversible interaction between vitamin D deficiency and statins on skeletal muscle. In hypercholesterolemic, vitamin D deficient patients, intolerant to statins because of myositis-myalgia, three non-blinded clinical case series have uniformly demonstrated that after supplementation with oral vitamin D2 which normalizes serum 25 (OH) vitamin D levels, statins can be successfully re-instituted in >90% of patients, without recurrent myositis-myalgia, with reduction of LDL cholesterol to target levels. Empirically, in 68 hypercholesterolemic patients, unable to tolerate≥1 statin because of myositis-myalgia, selected by low (<32 ng/ml) serum 25 (OH) vitamin D, we have prospectively assessed whether resolution of vitamin D deficiency would result in statin tolerance, free of myositis-myalgia. On no statins, 50,000 units of vitamin D2 was given twice/week for 3 weeks, and was then continued once/week. After 3 weeks on vitamin D supplementation, statins were restarted, and patients were re-assessed after 3 months on statins while continuing vitamin D supplementation. At 3 months follow-up, on vitamin D supplementation and re-instituted statins, 62 of 68 (91%) previously statin-intolerant patients now tolerated statins well and were asymptomatic without myositis-myalgia. In these 68 patients, on vitamin D supplementation and statins, mean±SD vitamin D rose from 22±7 to 43±13 ng/ml (p<0.0001), and LDL cholesterol fell from 162±55 to 101±35 mg/dl (p<0.0001). Despite published and new empirical evidence, the medical establishment has refused to accept the hypothesis, requiring placebo-controlled, double-blind studies, none having been reported to date. A placebo-controlled, double-blind study is needed to document that normalization of serum 25 (OH) vitamin D levels in vitamin D deficient, statin intolerant patients would facilitate re-introduction of statins with concurrent freedom from myositis-myalgia. The ability to reverse myositis-myalgia in vitamin D deficient, statin intolerant, hypercholesterolemic patients by vitamin D supplementation would be extraordinarily valuable, facilitating reinstitution of statins to lower LDL cholesterol to reduce risk of CVD events. We hypothesize that symptomatic myositis-myalgia in hypercholesterolemic statin-treated patients with concurrent vitamin D deficiency producing statin intolerance may reflect a reversible interaction between vitamin D deficiency and statins on skeletal muscle.

PMID:
21802861
DOI:
10.1016/j.mehy.2011.07.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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