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Statins Linked to Fatigue in Randomized Study

Wed, Jun 13, 2012

Clinical News Room

“These findings are important, given the central relevance of energy and functional status to well-being,” the authors write. They add: “These effects, germane to quality of life, merit consideration when prescribing or contemplating use of statins, particularly in groups without expected net morbidity/mortality benefit, extending to ‘high-risk’ primary prevention and women and elderly persons (including those with coronary artery disease).”

Golomb commented to heartwire : “Statins are fine in patient populations where a mortality benefit has been shown–ie, men under 70 with heart disease or primary-prevention patients with raised CRP or who smoke. But I would think twice for other groups. Primary-prevention patients who don’t smoke or don’t have raised CRP are far more likely to experience an adverse effect than to have a cardiac event.”

She estimated that fatigue could affect between 20% and 40% of patients taking statins. “Observational data suggest the effect tracks with the potency of the agent, so it may be more of an issue with the newer, more potent statins,” she added.For the study, patients rated their own changes from baseline in “energy” and “fatigue with exertion” assessed at six-month follow-up and scored on a five-point scale from “much less” (−2) to “much more” (+2) vs baseline. Results showed an average reduction of 0.25 points with simvastatin and a reduction of 0.17 points with pravastatin, but larger effects with both agents in women.
The authors explain that a 0.4 mean difference in the EnergyFatigEx score, which was seen for women receiving simvastatin vs placebo, could occur if four in 10 people cited worsening in either energy or exertional fatigue; two in 10 described both as “worse” or either as “much worse”; or one in 10 characterized both components as “much worse.”

Results of a logistic regression analysis, adjusted for baseline levels, suggested that both simvastatin and pravastatin had a significant adverse effect on EnergyFatigEx score.

MedScape News Today; June 13, 2012; Written by Sue Hughes

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