Statins and polyneuropathy revisited: case-control study in Denmark, 1999-2013

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2017 Sep;83(9):2087-2095. doi: 10.1111/bcp.13298. Epub 2017 May 11.


Aim: In a previous study, we found a positive association between statin use and polyneuropathy risk. Other studies reported equivocal results. The present study aimed to confirm our findings with a design similar to that used in our previous study but with a larger data set.

Methods: We searched medical registry data to identify patients diagnosed with incident polyneuropathy of no known cause (idiopathic polyneuropathy) between 1999 and 2013; we verified diagnoses through medical records. For each case, we recruited 20 general population controls with no previous history of polyneuropathy. Controls were matched to their respective case for age and gender. We ascertained the prior statin use of cases and controls through a prescription registry. Based on this information, exposure to statins was categorized into 'ever use' or 'never use'. Ever use of statins was classified by how recently they had been used ('current use' or 'past use'); current use was further classified into long-term use (5+ years) and high- or low-intensity use. We used conditional logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to examine associations between polyneuropathy and statin use.

Results: We included 370 validated cases and 7400 controls. Ever use of statins was not associated with an elevated risk of polyneuropathy (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.84, 1.54). Similarly, we found no associations between polyneuropathy risk and current use (OR 1.11, 95% CI 0.79, 1.53), long-term use (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.66, 1.92) or high-intensity statin use (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.59, 1.84).

Conclusion: Statin use was not associated with an increased risk of idiopathic polyneuropathy.

Keywords: adverse effects; case-control study; epidemiology; polyneuropathy; risk factors; statin.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyneuropathies / chemically induced*
  • Polyneuropathies / epidemiology
  • Registries


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors