Statin therapy and plasma coenzyme Q10 concentrations--A systematic review and meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials

Pharmacol Res. 2015 Sep;99:329-36. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2015.07.008. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


Statin therapy may lower plasma coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) concentrations, but the evidence as to the significance of this effect is unclear. We assessed the impact of statin therapy on plasma CoQ10 concentrations through the meta-analysis of available RCTs. The literature search included selected databases up to April 30, 2015. The meta-analysis was performed using either a fixed-effects or random-effect model according to I(2) statistic. Effect sizes were expressed as weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI). The data from 8 placebo-controlled treatment arms suggested a significant reduction in plasma CoQ10 concentrations following treatment with statins (WMD: -0.44 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.52, -0.37, p<0.001). The pooled effect size was robust and remained significant in the leave-one-out sensitivity analysis. Subgroup analysis suggested that the impact of statins on plasma CoQ10 concentrations is significant for all 4 types of statins studied i.e. atorvastatin (WMD: -0.41 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.53, -0.29, p<0.001), simvastatin (WMD: -0.47 μmol/L, 95% CI: -0.61, -0.33, p<0.001), rosuvastatin (WMD: -0.49 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.67, -0.31, p<0.001) and pravastatin (WMD: -0.43 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.69, -0.16, p=0.001). Likewise, there was no differential effect of lipophilic (WMD: -0.43 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.53, -0.34, p<0.001) and hydrophilic statins (WMD: -0.47 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.62, -0.32, p<0.001). With respect to treatment duration, a significant effect was observed in both subsets of trials lasting <12 weeks (WMD: -0.51 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.64, -0.39, p<0.001) and ≥12 weeks (WMD: -0.40 μmol/L, 95%CI: -0.50, -0.30, p<0.001). The meta-analysis showed a significant reduction in plasma CoQ10 concentrations following treatment with statins. Further well-designed trials are required to confirm our findings and elucidate their clinical relevance.

Keywords: Coenzyme Q10; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Myopathy; Statin therapy; Ubiquinone.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebo Effect
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ubiquinone / blood


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Ubiquinone
  • coenzyme Q10