Effects of simvastatin 40 mg daily on muscle and liver adverse effects in a 5-year randomized placebo-controlled trial in 20,536 high-risk people
Heart Protection Study, Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit, Richard Doll Building, Oxford University, Old Road Campus, Roosevelt Drive, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7LF, UK
BMC Clinical Pharmacology 2009, 9:6 doi:10.1186/1472-6904-9-6Published: 31 March 2009
Simvastatin reduces cardiovascular mortality and morbidity but, as with other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, can cause significant muscle toxicity and has been associated with elevations of liver transaminases.
Muscle and liver adverse effects of simvastatin 40 mg daily were evaluated in a randomized placebo-controlled trial involving 20,536 UK patients with vascular disease or diabetes (in which a substantial reduction of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity has previously been demonstrated).
The excess incidence of myopathy in the simvastatin group was < 0.1% over the 5 years of the trial, and there were no significant differences between the treatment groups in the incidence of serious hepatobiliary disease.
Among the many different types of high-risk patient studied (including women, older individuals and those with low cholesterol levels), there was a very low incidence (< 0.1%) of myopathy during 5 years treatment with simvastatin 40 mg daily. The risk of hepatitis, if any, was undetectable even in this very large long-term trial. Routine monitoring of liver function tests during treatment with simvastatin 40 mg is not useful.