Up to 15% of patients who receive a statin experience muscle pain, for which clinicians have only a few options: prescribing a different statin, reducing the dose of the current statin, or stopping statin therapy entirely.
Up to 15% of patients who receive a statin experience muscle pain, for which clinicians have only a few options: prescribing a different statin, reducing the dose of the current statin, or stopping statin therapy entirely. Consequently, finding new approaches to reduce statin-induced myopathy is a key research focus.
Since statins reduce coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) biosynthesis, a number of studies have suggested that CoQ10 supplementation can reduce statin-associated myopathy. However, results have been inconsistent across trials.
In a new study published in the November 2014 issue of Medical Science Monitor, researchers from the University of Ljubljana Medical Centre in Slovenia tested the effect of CoQ10 supplementation in statin-associated muscular pain among patients who reported mild-to-moderate muscle symptoms.
The study randomized 50 statin-treated patients who experienced muscle pain to receive CoQ10 50 mg twice daily (n=25) or placebo (n=25) for 30 days. To assess the patients’ pain, the researchers relied on the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) questionnaire rather than a visual analogue scale because the BPI is known to be more precise.
According to the authors, CoQ10 supplementation decreased statin-related muscle symptoms in 75% of the participants. The CoQ10-treated participants also reported pain reduction from 3.9 at baseline to 2.9 at 30 days, in addition to significantly less pain intensity and considerably more function.
In contrast, participants in the placebo group reported no change in pain, pain intensity, or function.
CoQ10 supplementation had no apparent affect on liver and muscle enzymes or cholesterol values.
In light of those results, the research demonstrated that twice-daily CoQ10 50 mg supplementation effectively reduces statin-related mild-to-moderate muscular symptoms while improving patients’ ability to perform daily activities.
Although the study was small, the participants were carefully selected and closely monitored, which adds validity to the results. Nevertheless, further research is needed to augment pharmacists’ understanding of CoQ10’s role in statin-induced myopathy.