Public Defence: Oscar Kristiansen

MD Oscar Kristiansen at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis “Atorvastatin treatment in patients with coronary heart disease – adherence and muscle side effects” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Vestre Viken. 

An electronic copy of the thesis may be ordered from the faculty up to 2 days prior to the public defence. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Annika Rosengren, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • Substitute second opponent: Senior Consultant, PhD, Martin P. Bogsrud, Oslo University Hospital
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Kirsten Bjørklund Holven, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Stine Marie Ulven, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Senior Consultant, Head of Research, John Munkhaugen, Drammen Hospital


Statins represent a cornerstone in the pharmacological prevention of coronary heart disease. Although safe and effective, many patients do not adhere to their treatment, most commonly due to self-perceived muscle side effects. There is no consensus as to a definition of poor statin adherence, and valid measurement methods are lacking. Further, the causal relationship, if any, between statins and subjective muscle symptoms remains controversial. 

In this thesis, we have developed a novel direct method to measure adherence to atorvastatin, the most commonly used statin, based on blood concentrations of drug and metabolites. We then applied the method to show a strong relationship with blood cholesterol. We found that a majority of participants classified with reduced adherence by the new method did not respond correspondingly on self-report questionnaires.

Last, the thesis studied the effect of atorvastatin on muscle symptoms in patients previously reporting subjective muscle symptoms presumed caused by the statin. Overall, we observed no effect on muscle symptom intensity and blood concentrations of atorvastatin and metabolites did not correlate to symptom intensity.

In summary, the thesis provides a novel method to measure adherence to atorvastatin and new knowledge on muscle side effects in patients with coronary heart disease. This may allow future individual tailoring of statin treatment to optimize effect and improve clinical outcomes. 

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Sep. 30, 2022 3:54 PM - Last modified Oct. 13, 2022 8:55 AM