Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: Coenzyme Q10 and statins

Q . I'm a 61-year-old man with high blood pressure. My doctor wants me to take Zocor to lower my cholesterol, but I'm worried about muscle damage. I found a Web site that claimed coenzyme Q10 would help. Is that right?

A. Simvastatin (Zocor) is one of the six statin drugs. They all do a good job of lowering levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. More importantly, they can all reduce the risk of heart attacks in men at risk. Since you have high blood pressure, which is an important cardiac risk factor in its own right, your LDL goal is 100 mg/dL or less, well below the goal for men with normal blood pressure. Although diet and exercise should be your first steps, most men will need medication to reach that tough goal — and for most, a statin will be the drug of choice.

Although the current crop of statins is really quite safe, they can have side effects. Muscle aches are among the most common complaints, though serious muscle injury is rare. In most cases, these myalgias are mild, and they resolve quickly when the statin dose is reduced or therapy is stopped.

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