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Introducing a new genetic test: Statin-induced myopathy

On Jun 02, 2016

Statin-induced myopathy (SLCO1B1 c.521T>C polymorphism genotyping)

Statins have been shown to significantly reduce heart attack and related event rates by lowering blood cholesterol levels, yet patient compliance remains a significant problem. Many patients stop taking their statin medications as directed because of the onset of muscle spasms and pain.

An association has been established between statin induced myopathy and variations in the SLCO1B1 gene. The presence of a common variant (c.521T>C) in the SLCO1B1 results in a significantly decreased ability to take up statins by the liver, and an increased risk of myopathy. Studies show that at a 40 mg daily dose of simvastatin, heterozygotes and homozygotes for this variant have a 2.5-fold and 5-fold increased risk of myopathy, respectively, compared to people with the wild genotype.

Testing for this polymorphism allows the identification of patients on or before statin therapy who are at increased risk of myopathy. For them, lower statin doses or alternative lipid-lowering therapies are recommended.