Does Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation Mitigate Statin-Associated Muscle Symptoms? Pharmacological and Methodological Considerations
Statin drugs markedly reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and consequently the incidence of cardiac events. In approximately 5–10% of adults, these drugs are associated with a range of muscle side effects such as muscle pain, cramping and weakness. Reduction in mitochondrial coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), or ubiquinone, has been proposed as a mechanism for these statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS), and thus various formulations of CoQ10 are marketed and consumed for the prevention and treatment of SAMS. However, data supporting the efficacy of CoQ10 are equivocal, with some studies showing that CoQ10 supplementation reduces the incidence and severity of SAMS and others finding no beneficial effects of supplementation. Methodological and pharmacological issues may confound interpretation of data on this topic. For example, many patients who report SAMS, such as those who have been enrolled in previous CoQ10 studies, may be experiencing non-specific (non-statin-associated) muscle pain. In addition, the effectiveness of oral CoQ10 supplementation to increase mitochondrial CoQ10 in human skeletal muscle is not well established. This manuscript will critically evaluate the published data on the efficacy of CoQ10 supplements in the prevention and treatment of SAMS.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Dr. Taylor received research support from Regeneron, Inc. and served on the Amgen Pharmacovigilance Monitoring Board.
No external funding was used in the preparation of this manuscript.
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