Association of statin use with peripheral neuropathy in the U.S. population 40 years of age or older

J Diabetes. 2013 Jun;5(2):207-15. doi: 10.1111/1753-0407.12013.


Background: Peripheral neuropathy is a serious complication of diabetes and several conditions that may lead to the loss of lower extremity function and even amputations. Since the introduction of statins, their use has increased markedly. Recent reports suggest a role for statins in the development of peripheral neuropathy. The aims of the present study were to assess the association between statin use and peripheral neuropathy, and to determine whether this association varied by diabetes status.

Methods: Data from the lower extremity examination supplement of the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used.

Results: The overall prevalence of statin use was 15% and the prevalence of peripheral neuropathy was 14.9%. The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy was significantly higher among those who used statins compared with those who did not (23.5% vs 13.5%, respectively; P < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression revealed that statin use (adjusted odds ratio 1.3; 95% confidence interval 1.1-1.6; Wald P = 0.04) was significantly associated with peripheral neuropathy, controlling for diabetes status, age, gender, race, height, weight, blood lead levels, poverty, glycohemoglobin, use of vitamin B12 , alcohol abuse, hypertension, and non-high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Diabetes status, age, gender, height, weight, blood lead levels, poverty, and glycohemoglobin were also significantly associated with peripheral neuropathy. We found no effect modification between statin use and diabetes status, race, gender, age, vitamin B12 , blood lead levels, or alcohol abuse.

Conclusions: In the present cross-sectional study, we found a modest association between peripheral neuropathy and statin use. Prospective studies are required to determine the causal direction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / chemically induced
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors