Study: Statins May Cause Myalgia in Some Patients


Statin use in certain patients may lead to increased muscle pain so severe it can affect adherence.

For some people taking statins to lower their cholesterol levels in order to prevent cardiovascular disease and blood clots, the adverse effects (AEs) can be so severe they stop taking them, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

Approximately 600,000 Danish people, where the study was conducted, take medicine containing statins. A common AE associated with statins is muscle pain, also called myalgia. Myalgia can lead to a reduced quality of life caused by pain and the resulting inactivity.

According to the study, statins don’t just prevent the production of cholesterol in the cell, but also inhibit the production of energy in the mitochondria. This lower energy causes myalgia in muscle cells, the study authors noted.

Long-term use of statins with regular dose increases was associated with increased production of energy in the blood cell, which is the opposite of how they act in the muscle cells, according to the study. This may challenge the investigators’ theory that statins lower energy production in muscle cells; however, this increase in energy may still cause damage to the body, according to the study.

“Statins are quite mysterious, as they can have both positive and negative consequences depending on the part of the body,” said study author Lene Juel Rasmussen, PhD, in the press release.

Statins have also been found to be effective against certain cancer types. According to the investigators, future research should focus on using the positive effects of statins to design new drugs for diseases, such as dementia.


Muscle pain and energy-rich blood: Cholesterol medicine affects the organs differently [News Release] October 29, 2020. Copenhagen, Denmark. Accessed November 4, 2020.

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