What is Toxic Myopathy?

Simply Put

Myositis can be triggered by a variety of reasons, some known and some unknown. Toxic Myopathy (also known as Toxic Myositis) is diagnosed when Myositis is thought to be triggered by drugs and chemicals.

According to Johns Hopkins, cholesterol-lowering medications, particularly the “statins”, may be the most commonly prescribed drugs that can cause a toxic myopathy. 

Below is a list of drugs and chemicals which have been implicated in causing Myositis:

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

  • Statins
  • Red Yeast Rice
  • Ezetimibe (Zetia)
  • Niacin

HIV Therapy

  • Zidovudine (AZT)

Antivirals and Protease Inhibitors

  • Interferon
  • Clevudine


  • Chloroquine

Amino Acid

  • Tryptophan

Rheumatologic Agents

  • Auronofin (Ridaura)
  • Abatacept (Orencia)
  • Adalimumab (Humira, Exemptia)
  • Auranofin (Ridaura)
  • Colchicine (Colcrys)
  • Etanercept (Embrel)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Tocilzumab (Actemra)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • Leflunomide (Arava)
  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
  • Certolizumab pergol (Cimzia)
  • Golimumab (Simponi)


  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine

Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)

  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)


  • Anakinra (Kineret)
  • Azathioprine (Imuran)
  • Glucocorticoids (Steroids)
  • Leflunomide (Arava)
  • Rheumatrex (Methotrexate)


  • Voriconazole (Vfend)


  • Propofol (Diprivan)

Cardiac Medications

  • Amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone)


  • Toluene (solvent, industrial feedstock)


In many cases, discontinuing the suspected substance has remedied the Myositis symptoms, but for some treatment with corticosteroids and/or immunosuppressing drugs are necessary to arrest the Myositis symptoms.

Simply Put

“Simply Put” is a service of Myositis Support and Understanding, to provide overviews of Myositis-related medical and scientific information in understandable language.

MSU volunteers, who have no medical background, read and analyze often-complicated medical information and present it in more simplified terms so that readers have a starting point for further investigation and consultation with healthcare providers. The information provided is not meant to be medical advice of any type.

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