Can coenzyme Q10 reduce the risk of side effects from statins?
Answer 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 XL)
- Lovastatin (Altoprev)
- Pitavastatin (Livalo)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor, Ezallor)
- Simvastatin (Zocor, Flolipid)
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.
Jan. 14, 2020
- Rosenson RS, et al. Statin muscle-related adverse events. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 9, 2019.
- Qu H, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on statin-induced myopathy: An updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018; doi:10.1161/JAHA.118.009835.
- Coenzyme Q-10. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Oct. 10, 2019.
- Taylor BA, et al. Statin-associated muscle disease: Advances in diagnosis and management. Neurotherapeutics. 2018; doi:10.1007/s13311-018-0670-z.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/coq10. Accessed Oct. 9, 2019.
- Lopez-Jimenez F (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Nov. 2, 2019.