The NORCOR statin project, initiated in 2017, is currently led by John Munkhaugen (clinical part) and Nils Tore Vethe (pharmacological part). We are developing new methods to measure levels of cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) and their breakdown products (metabolites and other proteins) in blood and muscle. These methods are used to study drug metabolism and effects, medication adherence, and side effects. The overarching goal is to develop personalized treatment and follow-up with cholesterol medications to ensure patients achieve the best possible effect, minimal side effects, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Included in the project are studies on method development, observations, and interventions:

Method development studies

Observational studies

Intervention studies

The project involves three PhD candidates and one postdoctoral researcher.


  1. Validation of a novel direct method to determine reduced adherence to atorvastatin therapy, European Heart Journal Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy 2024
  2. The atorvastatin metabolite pattern in muscle tissue and blood plasma is associated with statin muscle side effects in patients with coronary heart disease; An exploratory case-control study, Atherosclerosis Plus 2024
  3. Treatment patterns and adherence to lipid-lowering drugs during eight-year follow-up after a coronary heart disease event. Atherosclerosis, 2024
  4. Atorvastatin Metabolite Pattern in Skeletal Muscle and Blood from Patients with Coronary Heart Disease and Statin-Associated Muscle Symptoms. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2023.
  5. Plasma concentration of atorvastatin metabolites correlates with low-densitylipoprotein cholesterol reduction in patients with coronary heart diseasePharmacology Research & Perspectives 2023
  6. Validation of a novel direct method to determine reduced adherence to atorvastatin therapy. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology 2023
  7. Atorvastatin lactone/acid ratios are promising biomarkers for statin dependent muscular side effects in patients with coronary heart diseaseEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology 2023
  8. Treatment patterns and adherence to lipid-lowering drugs during 8 years of follow-up after a cardiovascular event. European Heart Journal 2023
  9. Monitoring Simvastatin Adherence in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease: A Proof-of-Concept Study Based on Pharmacokinetic Measurements in Blood PlasmaTher Drug Monit, 2022
  10. Clinical and pharmacological characteristics in plasma and mononuclear blood cells in patients with coronary heart disease and low statin toleranceEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology (EJPC) 2022 (abstract)
  11.  Tailored clinical management after blinded statin challenge improved long-term lipid control in coronary patients with self-perceived muscle side-effects. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2021
  12. The relationship between directly measured statin adherence, self-reported adherence measures and cholesterol levels in patients with coronary heart disease, Atherosclerosis, 2021
  13.  Clinical and psychological factors in coronary heart disease patients with statin associated muscle side-effects. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 2021
  14. .Effect of atorvastatin on muscle symptoms in coronary heart disease patients with self-perceived statin muscle side-effects: a randomized, double blinded crossover trial.  European Heart J Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, 2020.
  15. Adherence to atorvastatin therapy in coronary prevention evaluated by drug plasma concentrations. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2019
  16. Statin-associated muscle symptoms in coronary patients: design of a randomized study. Scand Cardiovasc J. 2019
  17. A Method for Direct Monitoring of Atorvastatin Adherence in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Quantification of the Total Exposure to Parent Drug and Major Metabolites Using 2-Channel Chromatography and Tandem Mass Spectrometry. The Drug Monit. 2019