Importance: Muscle pain, fatigue, and weakness are common adverse effects of statin medications and may decrease physical activity in older men.
Objective: To determine whether statin use is associated with physical activity, longitudinally and cross-sectionally.
Design, setting, and participants: Men participating in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (N = 5994), a multicenter prospective cohort study of community-living men 65 years and older, enrolled between March 2000 and April 2002. Follow-up was conducted through 2009.
Exposures: Statin use as determined by an inventory of medications (taken within the last 30 days). In cross-sectional analyses (n = 4137), statin use categories were users and nonusers. In longitudinal analyses (n = 3039), categories were prevalent users (baseline use and throughout the study), new users (initiated use during the study), and nonusers (never used).
Main outcomes and measures: Self-reported physical activity at baseline and 2 follow-up visits using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE). At the third visit, an accelerometer measured metabolic equivalents (METs [kilocalories per kilogram per hour]) and minutes of moderate activity (METs ≥3.0), vigorous activity (METs ≥6.0), and sedentary behavior (METs ≤1.5).
Results: At baseline, 989 men (24%) were users and 3148 (76%) were nonusers. The adjusted difference in baseline PASE between users and nonusers was -5.8 points (95% CI, -10.9 to -0.7 points). A total of 3039 men met the inclusion criteria for longitudinal analysis: 727 (24%) prevalent users, 845 (28%) new users, and 1467 (48%) nonusers. PASE score declined by a mean (95% CI) of 2.5 (2.0 to 3.0) points per year for nonusers and 2.8 (2.1 to 3.5) points per year for prevalent users, a nonstatistical difference (0.3 [-0.5 to 1.0] points). For new users, annual PASE score declined at a faster rate than nonusers (difference of 0.9 [95% CI, 0.1 to 1.7] points). A total of 3071 men had adequate accelerometry data, 1542 (50%) were statin users. Statin users expended less METs (0.03 [95% CI, 0.02-0.04] METs less) and engaged in less moderate physical activity (5.4 [95% CI, 1.9-8.8] fewer minutes per day), less vigorous activity (0.6 [95% CI, 0.1-1.1] fewer minutes per day), and more sedentary behavior (7.6 [95% CI, 2.6-12.4] greater minutes per day).
Conclusions and relevance: Statin use was associated with modestly lower physical activity among community-living men, even after accounting for medical history and other potentially confounding factors. The clinical significance of these findings deserves further investigation.