Background: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation is the most popular therapy for statin myalgia among both physicians and patients despite limited and conflicting evidence of its efficacy.
Objective: This study examined the effect of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation on simvastatin-associated muscle pain, muscle strength and aerobic performance in patients with confirmed statin myalgia.
Methods: Statin myalgia was confirmed in 120 patients with prior symptoms of statin myalgia using an 8-week randomized, double-blind crossover trial of simvastatin 20 mg/d and placebo. Forty-one subjects developed muscle pain with simvastatin but not with placebo and were randomized to simvastatin 20 mg/d combined with CoQ10 (600 mg/d ubiquinol) or placebo for 8 weeks. Muscle pain (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI]), time to pain onset, arm and leg muscle strength, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) were measured before and after each treatment.
Results: Serum CoQ10 increased from 1.3 ± 0.4 to 5.2 ± 2.3 mcg/mL with simvastatin and CoQ10, but did not increase with simvastatin and placebo (1.3 ± 0.3 to 0.8 ± 0.2) (p < 0.05). BPI pain severity and interference scores increased with simvastatin therapy (both p < 0.01), irrespective of CoQ10 assignment (p = 0.53 and 0.56). There were no changes in muscle strength or VO2max with simvastatin with or without CoQ10 (all p > 0.10). Marginally more subjects reported pain with CoQ10 (14 of 20 vs 7 of 18; p = 0.05). There was no difference in time to pain onset in the CoQ10 (3.0 ± 2.0 weeks) vs. placebo (2.4 ± 2.1 wks) groups (p = 0.55). A similar lack of CoQ10 effect was observed in 24 subjects who were then crossed over to the alternative treatment.
Conclusions: Only 36% of patients complaining of statin myalgia develop symptoms during a randomized, double-blind crossover of statin vs placebo. CoQ10 supplementation does not reduce muscle pain in patients with statin myalgia. Trial RegistrationNCT01140308; www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Keywords: Aerobic performance; CoQ10; Exercise; Muscle pain; Muscle strength; Myalgia; Statin; Ubiquinol.
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