Statins can Damage Muscles
Reported July 10, 2009
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Because of their
importance in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, statins are one
of the most widely prescribed medications in the world. One well-known side
effect of taking statins is muscle weakness and pain. Researchers are now
finding that structural muscle damage may be present in patients who have
statin-associated muscle complaints. In some cases, muscle biopsies have
shown underlying structural injury to the muscles even in patients who had
discontinued medication before the biopsies were taken.
A new study by researchers from the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the
Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, looked at muscle
biopsies from 83 patients, 20 of whom had never taken statins. They found
significant muscle injury in patients who had taken statins, including
several who had discontinued medication before the biopsy.
"Although in clinical practice, the majority
of patients with muscle symptoms improve rapidly after cessation of therapy,
our findings support that a subgroup of patients appears to be more
susceptible to statin-associated myotoxicity, suffering persistent
structural injury," Dr. Annette Draeger from the University of Bern and
coauthors are quoted as saying.
The researchers note there is a need to evaluate alternative treatment
strategies for patients with significant muscle symptoms.
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, July 2009.