Influence of Baseline Psychological Health on Muscle Pain During Atorvastatin Treatment

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3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase reductase inhibitors (statins) are generally well tolerated, with statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS) the most common side effect (~10%) seen in statin users. However, studies and clinical observations indicate that many of the self-reported SAMS appear to be nonspecific (ie, potentially not attributable to statins).


Mental health and well-being influence self-perception of pain, so we sought to assess the effect of baseline well-being and depression on the development of muscle pain with 6 months of atorvastatin 80 mg/d (ATORVA) or placebo in healthy, statin-naive adults.


The Psychological General Well-being Index (n = 83) and Beck Depression Inventory (n = 55) questionnaires were administered at baseline in participants (aged 59.5 ± 1.2 years) from the effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle Function and Performance (STOMP) trial (NCT00609063). Muscle pain (Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire [SF-MPQ]), pain that interferes with daily life (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI]), and pain severity (BPI) were then measured before, throughout, and after treatment.


At baseline, there were no differences in well-being (Psychological General Well-being Index), depression (Beck Depression Inventory), or pain measures (SF-MPQ and BPI) (P values ≥ .05) between the placebo and ATORVA groups. Baseline well-being correlated negatively with baseline BPI pain severity (r = −0.290, P = .008). Baseline depression correlated with baseline pain (SF-MPQ; r = 0.314, P = .020). Baseline well-being and depression did not predict the change in pain severity or interference after 6 months among the total sample or between groups (P values ≥ .05).


Baseline well-being and depression were not significant predictors of pain after 6 months of ATORVA (P values ≥ .05). Thus, they do not appear to increase the risk of SAMS in otherwise healthy adults.

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