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Atherosclerosis. 2013 Sep;230(1):121-4. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.07.001. Epub 2013 Jul 13.

Increases in creatine kinase with atorvastatin treatment are not associated with decreases in muscular performance.

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Division of Cardiology, Henry Low Heart Center, Hartford Hospital, CT 06102, USA.



The present study examined if increases in creatine kinase (CK) levels during high-dose atorvastatin treatment are associated with changes in skeletal muscle function and symptoms.


The Effect of Statins on Muscle Performance study (STOMP) investigated the effects of atorvastatin 80 mg daily for 6 months on muscle performance, exercise capacity, and the incidence of statin-associated muscle complaints in healthy adults.


CK levels increased with atorvastatin (n = 202) from 132.3 ± 120.9 U/L (mean ± SD) at baseline to 159.7 ± 170.4 and 153.1 ± 139.4 U/L at 3 and 6 months, respectively (P ≤ 0.002 for both). Changes in CK with atorvastatin treatment were not associated with changes in muscle function or the incidence of myalgia. More subjects on atorvastatin (n = 24) compared to placebo (n = 12 of 217) doubled their CK level at 6 months (P = 0.02). No differences in muscle function or physical activity were observed between atorvastatin-treated subjects who did or did not double their CK.


Results of the present investigation extend the findings of STOMP by demonstrating that greater increases in CK levels with high-dose atorvastatin treatment did not deleteriously impact skeletal muscle function or predict skeletal muscle complaints. This study was registered at (NCT00609063).


Exercise; Muscle; Myalgia; Statins

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