Asked by Eleanor Otchet, Plantation, Florida
Is CoQ10 beneficial for people taking statins?
Dr. Otis Brawley
Chief Medical Officer,
American Cancer Society
All humans make coenzyme Q or ubiquinone through some of the same biochemical pathways in which cholesterol is made. Coenzyme Q has some beneficial antioxidant activities. Most of the statins used to lower cholesterol will also lower coenzyme Q levels. Rarely, levels will be lowered to the point that the patient can have muscle weakness or pain. If someone is on a statin and has unexplained muscle pain, he or she needs to stop the drug and consult his or her health-care provider. These people may be able to continue taking statins along with coenzyme Q.
Some clinicians do recommend that patients taking a statin take coenzyme Q to try to prevent muscle issues. There is generally weak anecdotal evidence that this is helpful. I should also mention that tricyclic antidepressants and thiazide diuretics used to treat high blood pressure also lower coenzyme Q.
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