Statin use and its association with musculoskeletal symptoms--a cross-sectional study in primary care settings

Fam Pract. 2009 Apr;26(2):88-95. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmp006. Epub 2009 Feb 20.


Introduction: Musculoskeletal complaints are very common in primary care settings. Lipid-lowering drugs are one of several causes of musculoskeletal symptoms. However, data showing an association of lipid-lowering drug therapy and increased odds of musculoskeletal complaints in primary care patients are lacking.

Objective: To investigate the association between statin use and the reporting of muscular complaints by patients and simultaneously control for several known factors of musculoskeletal complaints.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study with 1031 consecutive patients (>50 years of age) in 26 offices of GPs, two investigators collected the data from the office files and by interviewing the patients. A logistic regression model was used to identify variables affecting the odds of muscular symptoms.

Results: The prevalence of lipid-lowering drug prescription was 23% (n = 239) and that of muscular complaints was 40% (n = 411). In all, 44% (n = 106) of the patients with lipid-lowering drug prescription had muscular complaints compared to 39% (n = 305) of the patients without lipid-lowering drug therapy. Statin prescription and 10 variables remained in the final model. Statin prescription is associated with a 1.5-fold odds of musculoskeletal complaints compared to non-prescription {odds ratio [OR] = 1.5 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-2.0], P = 0.02}.

Conclusion: Having a statin prescription appears to be an independent factor associated with musculoskeletal symptoms in primary care settings. Statin use may be more often associated with musculoskeletal complaints than previously assumed.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Muscular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Hypolipidemic Agents