Statin Intolerance Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Doctors in the Statin Intolerance Clinic within the Cardiovascular Health Clinic treat people who have statin side effects or a family history of statin intolerance. A team of doctors with training in heart disease (cardiologists) work with specialists in several areas to evaluate your condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Your doctor may recommend you take statins if you have high cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease. Taking statins lowers your body's production of cholesterol and may lower your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart-related death. However, you may experience mild to severe statin side effects such as muscle aches, pain, weakness or other side effects including asymptomatic liver damage.

Diagnostic testing

The staff in the Statin Intolerance Clinic will conduct a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation to determine if your symptoms are due to statin intolerance or other conditions. If your doctor diagnoses you with a different condition, your doctor may refer you to another area within Mayo Clinic for treatment.

As part of your evaluation in the clinic, your doctor will usually ask you to stop taking statins, to see if your symptoms decrease or change.

An evaluation may also include:

  • Blood tests
  • Discussion of your family medical history
  • Genetic tests — Genetic tests may help to determine if you may be prone to side effects from statins or if you may be more prone to benefit from statins.
  • Percutaneous outpatient muscle biopsy — In this test, your doctor makes a small incision the size of a pen tip in your skin to remove a small amount of muscle for testing.
  • Symptoms questionnaire
  • Muscle strength tests

Treatment

Your doctor will work closely with you to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. Your treatment may include:

  • Changing the type or amount of statin you're taking
  • Making lifestyle changes — Your doctor will recommend changes in physical activity, healthy eating, quitting smoking and other lifestyle changes.
  • Taking other agents to block muscle pain, including vitamin D and coenzyme Q10 (a naturally-occurring substance in your body) supplements
  • Taking other cholesterol-lowering drugs instead of statins.
  • Using natural therapies — Other natural substances or supplements, including fish oil, red yeast rice, substances found in some plants (sterols and stanols) and soluble fiber such as oat bran, may lower cholesterol.

Appointments

Anyone may call to request an appointment in the Statin Intolerance Clinic. You don't need a referral, but your doctor may refer you to the clinic. To make an appointment, call 507-284-4443, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central time.