Phys Sportsmed. 2016;44(1):63-7
OBJECTIVES: Physically active adults may be especially vulnerable to the adverse muscular side effects of statins. We determined if short-term cessation of statin therapy would improve aerobic exercise performance in middle-aged adults engaged in regular aerobic exercise training.
METHODS: Physically active middle-aged adults on statin therapy ≥6 mo (n = 16; 58 ± 10 y) or not taking lipid-lowering medications (controls) (n = 19; 51 ± 9 y) completed a peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and time to exhaustion test on a cycle ergometer 2-7 d apart. Tests were repeated following 1 mo of statin cessation or a 1 mo period for controls. Questionnaires were administered to assess exercise history and muscle complaints.
RESULTS: Statin users reported little or no muscle complaints and participation in aerobic exercise was similar between groups (p≥0.13). The lower VO2peak (37.3 ± 9.0 vs. 43.1 ± 4.9 ml/kg/min; p = 0.02) and time to exhaustion (21.9 ± 4.4 vs. 26.0 ± 6.3 min; p = 0.04) in statin users versus controls did not persist after controlling for age (p≥0.08). Aerobic exercise performance did not change with 1 mo of statin cessation (p≥0.54). No changes were observed in controls when tests were repeated 1 mo later (p≥0.38).
CONCLUSION: Short-term cessation of statin therapy does not alter maximal aerobic capacity or aerobic endurance in physically active middle-aged adults with few or no statin muscle complaints.