Can coenzyme Q10 reduce the risk of side effects from statins?
Answers from Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
At this time, coenzyme Q10 isn't universally recommended for preventing side effects from cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.
Examples of statins include:
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol)
- Lovastatin (Altoprev)
- Pitavastatin (Livalo)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
Although statins are well-tolerated by most people, they can cause muscle and joint aches. Statins have been found to reduce the amount of naturally occurring coenzyme Q10 in the body.
Because coenzyme Q10 plays a role in muscle cell energy production, some researchers have proposed that taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement might reduce the risk of muscle-related side effects.
Scientific studies to determine the effectiveness of coenzyme Q10 in reducing statin-related muscle pain have had mixed results. Some studies show a benefit while other studies show no effect.
Because coenzyme Q10 doesn't cause side effects for most people, your doctor might suggest a trial of it to see if it helps. Your doctor might also decrease the dose of your statin, try a different statin or switch you to a different type of cholesterol-lowering medication entirely.
Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
Nov. 11, 2016
- Rosenson RS, et al. Statin myopathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 26, 2016.
- Banach M, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on statin-induced myopathy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2015;90:24.
- Coenzyme Q-10. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Oct. 26, 2016.
- Deichmann RE, et al. The interaction between statins and exercise: Mechanisms and strategies to counter the musculoskeletal side effects of this combination therapy. The Ochsner Journal. 2015;15:429.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/supplements/coq10. Accessed Oct. 26, 2016.
- Lopez-Jimenez F (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 27, 2016.