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Coenzyme Q10: Can it prevent statin side effects?

Medically reviewed on November 11, 2016

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.

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