Coenzyme Q10Heart Disease

CoQ10 improves survival in chronic heart failure

beating-heart-150x150During the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology, in Lisbon, Portugal, researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital, in Denmark, reported for the first time that the dietary supplement coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) cut in half the death rate of patients suffering from advanced heart failure.

First, the details.

  • Patients with heart failure, New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III or IV, who were receiving pharmacologic therapy were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • CoQ10 100 mg, 3 times daily
    • Placebo
  • Patients with NYHA Class III or IV have marked limitation in their physical activity in the form of fatigue, palpitation, dyspnea, or anginal pain.
  • The patients were followed for 2 years.
  • The researchers monitored the patients for the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular event including unplanned hospitalization due to worsening of heart failure, death due to cardiovascular causes, urgent cardiac transplantation, and mechanical support.
  • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

And, the results.

  • After 3 months there was a trend toward a reduced level of NT-proBNP in the CoQ10 group.
    • NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide) is a screening test for the diagnosis of acute congestive heart failure.
  • After 2 years there was a significant improvement of the NYHA Class heart failure in the CoQ10 group – 14% vs 25% with placebo.
  • CoQ10-treated patients had significantly lower cardiovascular mortality and lower occurrence of hospitalizations for heart failure.
  • Death due to any cause was also significantly lower in the CoQ10 group, 18 patients vs. 36 patients in the placebo-group (9% vs. 17%).
  • There was no significant difference in reported adverse events in the CoQ10 group vs placebo.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “CoQ10 should be considered as a part of the maintenance therapy of patients with chronic heart failure.

Statins are prescribed for people with heart failure because they reduce the production of cholesterol. However, statins also block CoQ10 synthesis, which results in lower blood levels of CoQ10.

Before starting a CoQ10 treatment, keep in mind that dietary sources of this enzyme are not enough to have a significant impact on heart failure.

Yes, CoQ10 may be purchased without a prescription as a food supplement, but CoQ10 may affect the action of drugs such as anticoagulants (blood thinners). Therefore, tell your doctor before you start this treatment.

A summary of an earlier study of CoQ10 in heart failure is here.

5/28/13 11:06 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.