Dr. Connie Newman, AMWA President, served as Chair of the AHA Writing Group for the scientific statement on statin safety and adverse events. This report, published in ATVB December 10, 2018, is one of the most detailed analyses of statin safety in the literature and discusses adverse events, drug interactions, safety in children, the elderly, pregnant women, and in special populations. The Scientific Statement was favorably reviewed by several experts in cardiovascular disease and by the media.
The Writing Group examined multiple double blind randomized controlled trials that showed no difference in muscle symptoms (with normal CK) between statin and control groups, and concluded that the most plausible explanation for common complaints of muscle aches, and high rates of muscle symptoms in observational studies, is the nocebo effect. The Scientific Statement discusses adverse events that are caused by statins such as myopathy/rhabdomyolysis (which is rare, with incidence of <0.1% ), drug interactions, serious liver disease (very rare with estimated incidence of < 1 in 100,000) and diabetes mellitus (incidence of 0.2% per year) which usually occurs in people with risk factors for diabetes and can be managed with diet, weight loss, and/or metformin. The authors found no evidence to support causality for other adverse events commonly attributed to statins: cognitive dysfunction, sleep disturbances, Alzheimer’s disease, tendonitis, peripheral neuropathy, cancer, cataracts, erectile dysfunction.
Read the report and some of the commentary:
- Statin Safety and Associated Adverse Events: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. December 10, 2018.
- AHA’s Statement on the Safety Profile of Statins: Big Benefit with Low Risk, Professional Hearth Daily. December 10, 2018.
- AHA: Statins associated with high degree of safety, MDedge. December 10, 2018.
- AHA Scientific Statement: Low Risk of Side Effects for Statins, Physician’s Briefing. December 10, 2018.