Seven studies (n=761) met criteria for inclusion in the review. Four studies (n=575) were included in the meta analysis. Two studies reported using adequate randomisation methods, one reported allocation concealment, all were blinded, one reported 100% follow-up and four used an intention-to-treat analysis. Three studies scored 4 out of 5 points, one scored 3 and three scored 2.
In comparison with placebo there were statistically significant changes in lipid levels in favour of statins including a significant reduction in LDL (SMD 1.6, 95% CI 1.40 to 1.80mmol/L; four studies), a significant increase in HDL (SMD 0.21 CI 0.03mmol/L to 0.38mmol/L; four studies) and a significant decrease in total cholesterol (SMD 3.0, CI 3.8mmol/L to 2.2mmol/L; number of studies not reported). Statistically significant increases in height (SMD 0.35, CI 0.16cm to 0.55cm; number of studies not reported) and weight (SMD 0.23, CI 0.03kg to 0.44kg; number of studies not reported) in favour of statins were also reported. Significant heterogeneity was detected in these analyses.
No significant differences were found in body mass index (number of studies not reported), and Tanner stage progress in statin-treated males (two studies) and females (two studies). Results for testes volume were conflicting (two studies). Studies could not be pooled for triglycerides, VLDL, apolipoproteins, creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and many side effects of statins, but individual trials tended to show no significant adverse effects.
There was no evidence of publication bias.