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Atherosclerosis. 2015 Feb;238(2):329-35. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.12.016. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

A randomized trial of coenzyme Q10 in patients with confirmed statin myopathy.

Author information

1
Division of Cardiology, Henry Low Heart Center, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT, USA; Department of Health Sciences, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT, USA; University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA. Electronic address: Beth.taylor@hhchealth.org.
2
Division of Cardiology, Henry Low Heart Center, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT, USA.
3
Division of Cardiology, Henry Low Heart Center, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT, USA; University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation is the most popular therapy for statin myalgia among both physicians and patients despite limited and conflicting evidence of its efficacy.

OBJECTIVE:

This study examined the effect of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation on simvastatin-associated muscle pain, muscle strength and aerobic performance in patients with confirmed statin myalgia.

METHODS:

Statin myalgia was confirmed in 120 patients with prior symptoms of statin myalgia using an 8-week randomized, double-blind crossover trial of simvastatin 20 mg/d and placebo. Forty-one subjects developed muscle pain with simvastatin but not with placebo and were randomized to simvastatin 20 mg/d combined with CoQ10 (600 mg/d ubiquinol) or placebo for 8 weeks. Muscle pain (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI]), time to pain onset, arm and leg muscle strength, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) were measured before and after each treatment.

RESULTS:

Serum CoQ10 increased from 1.3 ± 0.4 to 5.2 ± 2.3 mcg/mL with simvastatin and CoQ10, but did not increase with simvastatin and placebo (1.3 ± 0.3 to 0.8 ± 0.2) (p < 0.05). BPI pain severity and interference scores increased with simvastatin therapy (both p < 0.01), irrespective of CoQ10 assignment (p = 0.53 and 0.56). There were no changes in muscle strength or VO2max with simvastatin with or without CoQ10 (all p > 0.10). Marginally more subjects reported pain with CoQ10 (14 of 20 vs 7 of 18; p = 0.05). There was no difference in time to pain onset in the CoQ10 (3.0 ± 2.0 weeks) vs. placebo (2.4 ± 2.1 wks) groups (p = 0.55). A similar lack of CoQ10 effect was observed in 24 subjects who were then crossed over to the alternative treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Only 36% of patients complaining of statin myalgia develop symptoms during a randomized, double-blind crossover of statin vs placebo. CoQ10 supplementation does not reduce muscle pain in patients with statin myalgia. Trial RegistrationNCT01140308; www.clinicaltrials.gov.

KEYWORDS:

Aerobic performance; CoQ10; Exercise; Muscle pain; Muscle strength; Myalgia; Statin; Ubiquinol

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