Rhabdomyolysis from Simvastatin triggered by infection and muscle exertion

South Med J. 2005 Aug;98(8):827-9. doi: 10.1097/01.smj.0000170731.44173.34.


A 42-year-old woman received a 6-month course of simvastatin (20 mg/d) for hypercholesterolemia. Despite an infection with fever, fatigue, myalgias, and lumbar pain, she continued to perform her regular sports activities. Neurologic examination revealed bilateral ptosis and slight upper limb weakness. Serum creatine kinase was 41,000 U/L. Needle electromyography was nonspecifically abnormal. Discontinuation of simvastatin and reduction of the sports activities was followed by a prompt continual lowering of the elevated muscle enzymes to normal values over a 2-week period. The patient's infection, regular sports activity despite the infection, and a suspected mitochondrial defect were regarded as triggers of rhabdomyolysis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Infections / complications*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Precipitating Factors
  • Rhabdomyolysis / chemically induced*
  • Rhabdomyolysis / diagnosis
  • Simvastatin / adverse effects*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Simvastatin