Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled Randomized Controlled Trials on the Prevalence of Statin Intolerance.


The prevalence of intolerance varies widely. Stopping statin therapy is associated with worse outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease. Despite extensive studies, the benefits and risks of statins continue to be debated by clinicians and the lay public. We searched the PubMed, Medline, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) databases for all randomized controlled trials of statins compared with placebo. Studies were included if they had ≥1,000 participants, had patients who were followed up for ≥1 year, and reported rates of drug discontinuation. Studies were pooled as per the random effects model. A total of 22 studies (statins = 66,024, placebo = 63,656) met the inclusion criteria. The pooled analysis showed that, over a mean follow-up of 4.1 years, the rates of discontinuation were 13.3% (8,872 patients) for statin-treated patients and 13.9% (8,898 patients) for placebo-treated patients. The random effects model showed no significant difference between the placebo and statin arms (odds ratio [OR] = 0.99, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.93 to 1.06). The results were similar for both primary prevention (OR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.92 to 1.05, p = 0.39) and secondary prevention (OR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.83 to 1.05, p = 0.43) studies. The pooled analysis suggested that the rates of myopathy were also similar between the statins and placebos (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.88 to 1.62, p = 0.25). In conclusion, this meta-analysis of >125,000 patients suggests that the rate of drug discontinuation and myopathy does not significantly differ between statin- and placebo-treated patients in randomized controlled trials. These findings are limited by the heterogeneity of results, the variable duration of follow-up, and the lower doses of statins compared with contemporary clinical practice.





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Publication Info

Riaz, Haris, Abdur Rahman Khan, Muhammad Shahzeb Khan, Karim Abdur Rehman, Shehab Ahmad Redha Alansari, Bashaer Gheyath, Sajjad Raza, Amr Barakat, et al. (2017). Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled Randomized Controlled Trials on the Prevalence of Statin Intolerance. Am J Cardiol, 120(5). pp. 774–781. 10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.05.046 Retrieved from

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Richard Andrew Krasuski

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Richard Krasuski is Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Center at Duke University Medical Center, the Director of Hemodynamic Research, and the Medical Director of the CTEPH Program. He is considered a thought leader in the fields of pulmonary hypertension and congenital heart disease. His research focus is in epidemiologic and clinical studies involving patients with pulmonary hypertension and patients with congenital heart disease. He is involved in multiple multicenter studies through the Alliance for Adult Research in Congenital Cardiology (AARCC). He has also helped to develop multiple research databases in these patient populations. He is Co-PI in the upcoming EPIPHANY Study examining the impact of medical and transcatheter interventions on RV-PA coupling in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Over his career he has mentored over 80 students, residents and fellows and has published over 300 peer reviewed publications, book chapters and meeting abstracts. He is also the Chief Editor of Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension and on the editorial boards of several leading medical journals.

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