Muscle Trouble? There May Be an Alternative to Statins

Evolocumab may help lower cholesterol in patients who cannot tolerate statins

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Some patients who need to take statins to lower cholesterol report related muscle pain or weakness that keeps them from taking the drugs, but statins may not be at fault.

In a two-phase study of 511 patients with high cholesterol, researchers found that muscle-related adverse effects were not always tied to statin use, and that a non-statin treatment, evolocumab (brand name Repatha), may help lower cholesterol.

In the first phase, patients were given either a statin or a placebo. Some patients discontinued their use of the statin due to muscle problems, but some also reported the same muscle problems with the placebo, suggesting that statins may not always be to blame for muscle-related adverse effects in patients with high cholesterol.

Meanwhile, in phase two of this study, which was conducted by Cleveland Clinic researchers, study patients received one of two non-statin medications to see whether they could effectively lower cholesterol. Thirty percent of patients receiving evolocumab reached a significantly lowered cholesterol goal.

This study was published in JAMA.

Amgen, a pharmaceutical company, funded this research. Study authors disclosed multiple conflicts of interest, including financial ties to various pharmaceutical companies.

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Review Date: 
April 8, 2016
Last Updated:
April 9, 2016