A meta-analysis recently published in The Lancet suggests statins are less likely to contribute to muscle pain or weakness than previously thought, with the cardiovascular benefits of statins outweighing the risk of muscle symptoms.

Findings included:

  • During the first year of treatment just 1 in 15 muscle symptoms believed to be caused by statins were actually due to them
  • Greater statin regimens were associated with an increase in muscle symptoms for longer (5% relative increase), compared to lower intensity regimens
  • Statin use resulted in a clinically insignificant rise in creatine kinase (a biomarker of muscle damage), indicating “most of the episodes of muscle pain or weakness caused by a statin were clinically mild”
  • The known cardiovascular benefits therefore outweigh the excess risk of muscle symptoms

Commenting on the findings, Prof Baigent of the University of Oxford, joint lead author, said: “The idea that statins may cause frequent muscle pain has been a persistent belief among some patients and clinicians; however, our study confirms that the statin is rarely the cause of muscle pain in those taking statins.”

We’ve summarised these latest findings and implications for practice in our snapshot.

Click here to read the full paper: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)01545-8/fulltext