The 2013 American Heart Association Blood Cholesterol Guidelines increased the number of patients recommended for statin therapy in the United States to 56million. Two common statin side effects are muscle pain, referred to as “statin-associated muscle symptoms”, and increased risk for new onset type-2-diabetes mellitus. Up to 25% of statin users report muscle symptoms resulting in many patients being switched to lower dose or lower potency statins, or refusing statins altogether. The most likely signaling mechanisms for statin-associated muscle symptoms overlaps with the proposed mechanism of statin-induced insulin resistance. Metformin has outstanding utility in reducing insulin resistance and preventing type-2-diabetes mellitus, but has not been studied for statin-associated muscle symptom rescue or prevention. The overlapping mechanisms of statin-associated muscle symptoms, statin-induced insulin resistance, and metformin intervention offers the potential to address two common and detrimental side effects of statins. As statins are the single best medication class for preventing cardiovascular events the potential for clinical benefit is large given metabolic syndrome’s growing prevalence in the United States.Herein we hypothesize that metformin will rescue and prevent patients from statin-associated muscle symptoms. This hypothesis can benefit two patient groups: 1) patients at risk for diabetes who are taking a statin and experiencing muscle symptoms; and 2) patients with diabetes taking metformin who are to be started on a statin. Method to test Group 1) Symptom Rescue: randomized control trial of metformin versus placebo in patients with prediabetes who are already taking a statin, and are experiencing mild-to-moderate muscle symptoms. Method to test Group 2) Symptom Prevention: meta-analysis, of statin randomized control trials, with patient level data, comparing patients taking metformin at baseline to patients not taking metformin when a statin is started. An efficient method to simulate both symptom rescue and symptom prevention is a skeletal muscle cell culture model of statin-associated muscle symptom markers. These experiments would identify if metformin reverses (rescues) or prevents markers of statin-associated muscle symptoms. As metformin is recommended by the American Diabetes Association for type-2-diabetes mellitus prevention, yet not frequently used, validating this hypothesis will lead towards research and practice change including: a) decreases in the frequency of statin-associated muscle symptoms; leading to subsequent increases in statin therapy compliance; b) increases in metformin use in prediabetes with subsequent decrease in the incidence of type-2-diabetes mellitus; and c) decreases in complications of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes due to improved statin compliance and type-2-diabetes mellitus prevention.
Medical Hypotheses – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2017
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