Statin Therapy as Primary Prevention in Exercising Adults: Best Evidence for Avoiding Myalgia

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This review aims to determine whether active adults who begin statins and develop myalgia reduce or stop activity to become less symptomatic. If this occurs, strategies to mitigate symptoms are explored. Should these strategies fail, the question of whether exercise is an adequate alternative to statin therapy is addressed.


PubMed, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Database were searched with keywords designed to retrieve information on statin myopathy in exercising adults.


Statins are well tolerated by most people who exercise; however, caution is warranted in those who exercise at high levels, in the elderly, and in those receiving high-dose therapy. Several strategies improve statin tolerance while maintaining exercise levels, based on low-quality evidence. If statins are not tolerated, a continuing physical activity program can provide equivalent or superior cardiometabolic protection.


Statins may occasionally present a barrier to physical activity. A number of strategies exist that can reduce the risk of myopathy. If a choice between exercise and statins becomes necessary, exercise provides equal benefit in terms of cardiovascular protection and superior mortality reduction, with improved quality of life.

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