Myotoxicity associated with lipid-lowering drugs

Alan N. Baer, Robert L. Wortmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Lipid-lowering drugs are associated with myotoxicity, which ranges in severity from myalgias to rhabdomyolysis resulting in renal failure and death. Although rhabdomyolysis is rare, muscle symptoms and serum creatine kinase elevations are sufficiently frequent during the course of lipid-lowering drug therapy to pose diagnostic challenges for the clinician. Progress in our understanding of this form of myotoxicity is reviewed. RECENT FINDINGS: Muscle pain and weakness are the cardinal symptoms and often interfere with vigorous exercise. These symptoms may occur with or without serum creatine kinase elevations. The risk of myotoxicity is increased by combination statin-fibrate therapy as well as by factors that elevate tissue levels of the lipid-lowering drug, including the dose, drug-drug interactions, and host factors. Underlying neuromuscular diseases may become clinically apparent during statin therapy and may predispose to myotoxicity. The pathophysiology of myotoxicity most probably involves metabolic effects of the statins on the isoprenoid pool and on mitochondrial function. SUMMARY: Management of myotoxicity requires an evaluation of risk factors prior to prescribing lipid-lowering drugs, attention to muscle symptoms, and withdrawal of drug in the event of significant abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Antilipemic agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors
  • Muscular diseases
  • Myositis
  • Rhabdomyolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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