Although statin treatment is generally well tolerated, it is estimated that 5% to 10% of patients develop muscle-related side effects (MRSEs), resulting in less effective nonstatin alternatives or cessation of lipid-lowering therapy completely. This study was designed to assess the efficacy and tolerability of extended-release fluvastatin (fluvastatin XL) and ezetimibe alone or in combination in patients with previous MRSEs with other statins. This was a double-blinded, double-dummy trial of 199 mostly moderate- or high-risk dyslipidemic patients randomized to fluvastatin XL 80 mg/day (n = 69), ezetimibe 10 mg/day (n = 66), or fluvastatin XL 80 mg/day plus ezetimibe 10 mg/day (n = 64) for 12 weeks. Fluvastatin XL lowered low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 32.8% compared with 15.6% with ezetimibe (between-group difference -17.1%, 95% confidence interval -23.6 to -10.7, p <0.0001); the fluvastatin XL/ezetimibe combination lowered LDL cholesterol by 46.1% (between-group difference vs ezetimibe -30.4%, 95% confidence interval -37.0 to -23.8, p <0.0001). Proportions of patients achieving their National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III target LDL cholesterol were 84% with the fluvastatin XL/ezetimibe combination, 59% with fluvastatin XL, and 29% with ezetimibe (p <0.001 for fluvastatin XL monotherapy or combination therapy vs ezetimibe monotherapy). Incidences of MRSEs were 24% in the ezetimibe group, 17% in the fluvastatin XL group, and 14% in the combination group. There were no instances of creatine kinase increases >or=10 times upper limit of normal. In conclusion, in patients with a history of statin-associated MRSEs, fluvastatin XL alone or in combination with ezetimibe offers an effective and well-tolerated lipid-lowering option.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00125125.