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Polymyalgia, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis and Other Reactions in Patients Receiving HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors*: A Report of Ten Cases

Myron I. Liebhaber, MD; Robert S. Wright, MD, FCCP; Harris J. Gelberg, MD; Zeb Dyer, PA; Jeffrey L. Kupperman, MD, FCCP
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*From the Department of Medicine and Pediatrics (Drs. Liebhaber and Wright), UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA; Department of Medicine (Drs. Gelberg and Kupperman), USC School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA; and Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic (Dr. Dyer), Santa Barbara, CA.



Chest. 1999;115(3):886-889. doi:10.1378/chest.115.3.886
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Since 1980, hydroxy-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors have become the most prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs. They are effective and have been shown to lower the incidence of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.1 By inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase, which is a rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of cholesterol, these drugs increase the number of low-density lipoprotein receptors in the liver and, therefore, decrease serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. They have an excellent safety profile with a low frequency of side effects.2 Recently we have encountered a series of patients with evidence of hypersensitivity to HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, or statin drugs. We are reporting our experience with 10 patients: two with potentially life-threatening reactions and one with biopsy evidence of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. We are aware of only two previous cases of interstitial lung disease in association with statin medications.3,,4

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