Using this page · Individualise medicines monitoring

This medicines monitoring page has been written using publications and expert opinion. It is designed to save clinician time, but not replace professional responsibility. When using this page you should: ensure an individualised monitoring plan is developed in partnership with the patient and take account of any locally agreed advice and guidance.

Before starting


  • Baseline
    • ALT or AST
    • Blood pressure
    • Body mass index
    • HDL cholesterol (non fasting)
    • non-HDL cholesterol (non-fasting)
    • Serum creatinine (for creatinine clearance) or Estimated glomerular filtration rate
    • Thyroid stimulating hormone
    • Total cholesterol (non-fasting)
    • Triglycerides (non-fasting)


  • Baseline
    • HbA1c or Blood glucose If high risk of diabetes mellitus
    • Full blood count
    • Creatine kinase

When to measure creatine kinase

Consider for patients with any of:

  • renal impairment
  • hypothyroidism
  • personal or familial history of hereditary muscular disorders
  • previous history of unexplained muscle pain (whether associated or not with previous lipid-regulating drugs)
  • previous history of liver disease or where substantial quantities of alcohol are consumed
  • elderly (aged over 70 years)
  • interactions with other medicines where plasma levels may be increased

Creatinine kinase and exercise

Do not measure following strenuous exercise or in the presence of any plausible alternative cause of an increase since value interpretation is difficult.

Consider specialist advice if baseline CK level extremely elevated (e.g. because of physical occupation or rigorous exercise).

Continued until stable


  • At 3 months
    • ALT or AST

High intensity statins

  • At 3 months
    • HDL cholesterol (non fasting)
    • non-HDL cholesterol (non-fasting)
    • Total cholesterol (non-fasting)
    • Triglycerides (non-fasting)

Definition of high intensity statins

High intensity statins include:

  • Atorvastatin at doses of or greater than 20mg daily
  • Rosuvastatin at doses of or greater than 10mg daily
  • Simvastatin at doses of 80mg daily


  • At 3 months
    • Full blood countask patient if experiencing muscle symptoms first
    • HbA1c or Blood glucose if high risk of diabetes mellitus
    • Creatine kinase

Ongoing once stable


  • Annually
    • ALT or ASTrepeat after first year only if indicated
    • Full blood countask patient if experiencing muscle symptoms first; if statin tolerated for greater than 3 months explore other causes
    • non-HDL cholesterol (non-fasting)

Abnormal results


Do not initiate statins or stop existing if ALT or AST are greater than 3 times upper limit of normal (ULN).

Creatine kinase

Do not initiate statins or stop existing if CK greater than 5 times upper limit of normal (ULN).

Re-measure after 7 days: if CK still greater than 5 times ULN do not re-start; if CK less than 5 times ULN, re-start statin at lower dose.

Renal impairment

If eGFR less than 30mL/min/1.73m2 check dose with renal specialist.

Rosuvastatin in renal impairment

Rosuvastatin contra-indicated if CrCl less than 30mL/min; 40mg dose contraindicated if CrCl less than 60ml/min.


Manage hypothyroidism adequately before starting a statin.

Rosuvastatin in hypothyroidism

Rosuvastatin 40mg is contraindicated in hypothyroidism.


Advice to patients

Advise patients to report any unexplained muscle pain.


Enquiries about this page

Contact us if you have any enquiries about the drug monitoring information on this page.