June 4th, 2013

Study Finds More Musculoskeletal Problems in People Who Take Statins

An observational study published in JAMA Internal Medicine provides new evidence suggesting that people who take statins are more likely to develop musculoskeletal problems.

Ishak Mansi and colleagues analyzed data from 6,967 statin users and an equal number of propensity-matched nonusers who were active-duty soldiers, veterans, and their families in the San Antonio Military Area. They found that the statin users were more likely to have musculoskeletal problems:

  • All musculoskeletal diseases: Odds Ratio 1.19, CI 1.08-1.30
  • Dislocation/strain/sprain: OR 1.13, CI 1.05-1.21
  • Musculoskeletal pain: OR 1.09, CI 1.02-1.18
  • Osteoarthritis/arthropathy: OR 1.07, CI 0.99-1.16

The authors calculated that between 37 and 58 people would need to be treated with statins to cause one additional person to develop musculoskeletal disease. However, increased exposure did not appear to raise the risk of statin use.

The results, according to the authors, “indicate that the full spectrum of statin AEs [adverse events] has not been fully explored.” They call for more studies on this topic: “the full spectrum of statin AEs will provide more complete data for cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses of statin use.”

The study appears two weeks after a small study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology received considerable attention after it was covered in the New York Times. In that study the investigators found that statins appeared to blunt the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise.



2 Responses to “Study Finds More Musculoskeletal Problems in People Who Take Statins”

  1. Statin AEs have been already explored. For instance, Liu et al. have gathered over 8400 on-line drug reviews prepared by patients on statin therapy, and compared them to an equivalent number of reviews for a broad spectrum of other drugs. They have shown that statin drugs are very strongly associated with muscle pain and weakness, and that there is as well a statistically significant association between statin drugs and several debilitating diseases…

  2. Antonio H. Reis, Ph.D says:

    Statins cause musculoskeletal damage but also damage to cardiac muscles, and this should be a major source of concern. See, for example:

    Statin Therapy Decreases Myocardial Function as Evaluated Via Strain Imaging (2009) Jack Rubinstein, MD; Feras Aloka, MD; George S. Abela, MD, MSc Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine (Rubinstein, Abela), Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; Internal Medicine Division, Department of Cardiology (Aloka), Michigan StateUniversity, East Lansing, Michigan Clinical Cardiology, Volume 32, Issue 12
    Free download at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/clc.20644/pdf