Treatment with statins and peripheral neuropathy: results of 36-months a prospective clinical and neurophysiological follow-up

Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(5):688-90.


Objectives: To confirm the changes in the results of EMG assessment of lower-limb peripheral nerves in patients treated with statins in the longer follow-up period of 3 years.

Background: Long-term treatment with statins may have adverse effects: affection of muscles or peripheral nervous system. The frequency of affection of the peripheral nervous system has not been thoroughly investigated; our previous study showed the signs of peripheral nerve damage in the results of EMG assessment.

Design/methods: Forty-two patients (23 males, 19 females, mean age 51.9 and 52.3 years) with a definitive diagnosis of combined hyperlipidemia were studied. Other metabolic disorders or chronic ethanol abuse were excluded. Initial examinations included laboratory and neurophysiological measures (peroneal and tibial nerves: MNCV, CMAP, F-wave mean latency; superficial peroneal and sural nerve: SNCV, SNAP). Subsequently, treatment with simvastatin 20 mg daily was initiated. Patients were followed for 36 months with repeated neurophysiological examinations on 24 and 36 months after statin treatment initiation.

Results: None of the patients reported subjective symptoms typical for peripheral neuropathy. Neurophysiological examination of lower-limb peripheral nerves demonstrated statistically significant prolongation of F-wave mean latency on peroneal and tibial nerves (p<0.0001, paired t-test).

Conclusions: The study confirmed that long-term treatment with statins caused a clinically silent but still definite damage to peripheral nerves when the treatment lasts longer than 2 years.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hyperlipidemias / epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Peroneal Nerve / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tibial Nerve / physiopathology
  • Time Factors


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors