Adverse drug reactions of statins in children and adolescents: a descriptive analysis from VigiBase, the WHO global database of individual case safety reports

Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Aug;34(4):518-520. doi: 10.1111/fcp.12542. Epub 2020 Mar 10.


In adults, statins safety profile is well known. However, literature data on their adverse drug reactions (ADRs) remain scarce in children in real-life setting. In order to better characterize ADRs related to 'real-life' use of statins in children, we reviewed statin-related ADRs recorded in the World Health Organization (WHO) global database of individual case safety reports (ICSRs), VigiBase. Methods. Individual case safety reports (ICSRs) in children (2-11 years) and adolescents (12-17 years) associated with statins from January 1, 1987, to July 18, 2017, were extracted from VigiBase. Characteristics of ICSRs, type of ADRs according to MedDRA classification (SOC and PT), and ICSR seriousness were described using SAS 9.4. A total of 311 ICSRs were identified for 8 statins with 712 ADRs. Musculoskeletal disorders (n = 85, 27.3%) were the first registered ADRs followed by general disorders (n = 67, 21.5%; mainly asthenia and pain). More than 1 out of 5 ADRs were 'injury, poisoning and procedural complications' (n = 67), mainly accidental or intentional exposures (n = 44, 14.1%), overdoses (n = 14, 4.5%), or off-label use (n = 11, 3.5%). Overall, 133 (42.8%) reports were 'serious', including 11 deaths. Deaths mainly involved adolescents with intentional overdose and completed suicide with other associated drugs in 75% of reports. Our study identified rare but serious safety issues (rhabdomyolysis, myalgia, and hepatocellular injury). These ADRs can impact quality of life or lead to life-threatening complications in children. Our results should be supplemented with other data sources. Spontaneous statin ADR reports in children to pharmacovigilance networks must be promoted.

Keywords: VigiBase; World Health Organization (WHO) global database of individual case safety reports (ICSRs); paediatric; pharmacovigilance; statins.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems*
  • Age Distribution
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / diagnosis
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology*
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Myalgia / chemically induced
  • Myalgia / epidemiology
  • Rhabdomyolysis / chemically induced
  • Rhabdomyolysis / epidemiology
  • World Health Organization


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors