Combining statins and fibrates increases rhabdomyolysis risk

January 6, 2011

Patients who are newly treated with statin-fibrate concurrent therapy are slightly more likely to be hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis than those who take just one of the medications, according to research published in the American Journal of Cardiology, HealthDay News reported.

Patients who are newly treated with statin-fibrate concurrent therapy are slightly more likely to be hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis than those who take just one of the medications, according to research published in the American Journal of Cardiology, HealthDay News reported.

Cheryl Enger, PhD, of Waltham, Mass.-based i3 Drug Safety and colleagues reviewed insurance claims data from 2004 to 2007 for 584,784 patients who were new users of statins, fibrates, or both. Investigators compared rates of hospitalization among the users for rhabdomyolysis, renal impairment, hepatic injury, and pancreatitis.

Research found that the risk for rhabdomyolysis was low, although higher in patients newly treated with statin-fibrate therapy than those treated with only one of the medications. Patients taking a statin-fenofibrate combination compared with statins alone had an adjusted rhabdomyolysis incidence rate (IR) of 3.75 per 100,000 patient-years, and the IR of rhabdomyolysis in statins was 3.30. The adjusted IR ratios of renal impairment and pancreatitis for statin-fenofibrate combinations compared with statins alone were 1.47 and 2.87, respectively. The IR of hepatic injury with statins was 8.57 per 100,000 patient-years, and there was no risk difference between exposure groups. Fenofibrate therapy, alone or in combination with statin therapy, was found to increase the rate of pancreatitis.

i3 Drug Safety and Abbott Laboratories supported the study, and several authors disclosed employment with the two companies and AstraZeneca.