Cholesterol/LipidsCoenzyme Q10Pain

Is it necessary to take coenzyme Q10 during statin therapy?

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are the main drug category prescribed to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Their action on HMG-CoA lowers LDL cholesterol. But it also lowers coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) production in muscles where it’s needed to maintain muscle respiration and function.

Ms. Jessica Pomaikai Asherin at Pacific University, in Hillsboro, Oregon, reviewed the evidence for supplementing statin therapy with CoQ10 in order to lower the risk of stain-induced muscle pain and tenderness (myopathy).

First, the details.

  • The English-language published literature was reviewed.
  • 3 studies (126 patients) were included in the analysis.

And, the results.

  • 2 studies reported a significant relationship between the use of CoQ10 and a decrease in muscle symptoms.
  • The other study found no significant decrease in muscle symptoms with the addition of CoQ10.

The bottom line?

Myalgia is the most common side effect of taking statins to treat high LDL cholesterol blood levels. It’s also the biggest reason to lower the dose or stop treatment with these drugs.

The author concluded, “Limited results showed coenzyme Q10 supplementation decreased myopathic symptoms in patients on statin medications.”

Considering how few patients have been studied, it’s not surprising that a definitive recommendation isn’t possible (excuse the double negative, please) for a side effect that occurs in 1% to 5% of people treated with statins.

8/29/10 18:53 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.