Current overview of statin-induced myopathy

Am J Med. 2004 Mar 15;116(6):408-16. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2003.10.033.


Statins are an efficacious and well-tolerated class of lipid-altering agents that have been shown to reduce the risk of initial and recurrent cardiovascular events. However, cerivastatin was withdrawn from the world market because of its potential for severe myotoxic effects. Since the benefits of statin treatment outweigh the small risk of adverse events, statins remain the first-line therapy for lipid lowering and preventing atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. The risk of myopathy may be minimized with the appropriate choice of agent and by identifying patients at risk of myotoxic effects. Elderly or female patients, or those with concomitant medications or impaired metabolic processes, may be at increased risk and should be monitored closely. The risk of myopathy may also be inferred from the pharmacologic and pharmacokinetic properties of the statin used. Since myotoxic events are more frequent at higher doses, statins that are effective in reducing cholesterol levels and helping patients to reach target levels at start doses may be useful. The lipophilicity of a statin and its potential for drug-drug interactions may also help to determine the likelihood of muscular effects. Drug-drug interactions may be avoided by selecting a statin that does not share the same metabolic pathway.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticholesteremic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Muscular Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Muscular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors