Statin Intolerance Service

Doctors in the Statin Intolerance Service within the Cardiovascular Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota treat people who have statin side effects or a family history of statin intolerance.

A team of doctors trained in heart disease (cardiologists) works as a multidisciplinary team 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 Service 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. Your doctor may order blood tests.
  • Discussion of your family medical history. Your doctor will discuss your family medical history with you, including family members' experiences with statins.
  • Genetic tests. Genetic tests may help 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. You may take a questionnaire to describe what symptoms you're experiencing and what statins you have taken.
  • Muscle strength tests. Your doctor may order tests to evaluate your muscle strength.

Treatment

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

  • Statin changes. Your doctor may change the type or amount of statin you're taking.
  • Lifestyle changes. Your doctor may recommend that you increase physical activity, incorporate a healthy-eating plan and quit smoking.
  • Supplements. Your doctor may recommend that you take other agents to block muscle pain, including vitamin D and coenzyme Q10 supplements.
  • Medication changes. Your doctor may recommend that you take cholesterol-lowering drugs instead of statins.
  • Natural therapies. Certain natural substances or supplements — including fish oil, substances found in some plants (sterols and stanols), and soluble fiber, such as oat bran — may lower cholesterol.

Appointments

You may be referred by your primary doctor, or you may make an appointment without a referral.

For appointments or more information about the Statin Intolerance Service at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota, call the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at 507-284-3994 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday, or complete an online appointment request form.

See physician staff.