Expert opinion: the therapeutic challenges faced by statin intolerance.Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2016 Aug; 17(11):1497-507.EO
Statin intolerance is largely defined by muscle related symptoms, leading to intolerability and cessation. The nocebo effect coupled with the challenges of diagnosing statin myopathy undermines drug adherence that is critical for achieving the benefits of lipid-lowering and cardiovascular risk reduction. A temporal relationship should be made between the initiation of therapy and development of symptoms to aid in diagnosis. The mainstay of treatment is statin cessation or statin dose reduction and evaluation of alternative causes for muscle related symptoms. Most symptoms usually resolve within 2 weeks of discontinuing therapy. The patient can be re-challenged with the same statin at a lower dose or an alternative statin. Non-statin lipid lowering therapies offer an alternative to patients who cannot tolerate statins.
We discuss current guideline-focused management of patients with statin intolerance.
When initiating statin therapy, attention to risk factors for statin intolerance is strongly recommended. Most patients will tolerate some degree of statin therapy; thus statin re-challenge is advisable. If alternative dosing regimens are not tolerated, non-statin medications are acceptable alternatives. To limit errors in the diagnosis of statin intolerance, improvements in clinician-patient communication about the side effects and benefits of statins should be attempted.