Danish researchers have found a possible mechanism of the muscle pain associated with statin use.
Researchers from Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen say that statin causes change in energy production in muscles and this may be the reason behind the pain.
Statins are known to help against heart disease and stroke by lowering the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in the body. In the U.S., around 30 million people use the drug that has made over $19 billion in domestic sales. Statin use has been known to result in muscle-related problems in 10 to 15 percent of all users.
"A well-known side effect of statin therapy is muscle pain. Up to 75 per cent of the physically active patients undergoing treatment for high cholesterol experience pain. This may keep people away from either taking their medicine or from taking exercise - both of which are bad choices," said Professor Flemming Dela from the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen.
Researchers found that patients who were treated with the drug had low levels of the key protein Q10.
The low levels of this protein and the change in low production of energy as a result can be the reason behind the pain experienced by the patients, according to a news release. The study was based on a small number of patients.
"We have now shown that statin treatment affects the energy production in muscles. We are working on the assumption that this can be the direct cause of muscle weakness and pain in the patients," said Dela.
The study is published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology.