The following comment was posted to this Web site on Dec. 29, 2009 by Ann H. We found it so powerful that we wanted to make sure others have a chance to read it, vote and comment if so inclined.
A couple of cautions first. Some folks at very high risk of heart disease may have to continue taking statins regardless of side effects. No one should ever stop taking a statin without medical oversight. That being said, however, the quality of one’s life is important. Exercise, for example, is crucial for good health. This person’s experience puts a lot of things into perspective. We welcome your feedback.
The People’s Pharmacy
++++++++++++++++++++
Date: December 29, 2009
I am 63 and have struggled with high cholesterol for years. It seems to be a hereditary problem in my family for the most part as I follow a healthy diet. I have been on and off Lipitor for years and at different dosages. At one time, I was put on Crestor and after taking 13 pills could barely walk!
A year ago, I was back on Lipitor and began to experience numbness and tingling in my hands and feet. Just before Christmas, I discovered that I could not feel hot and cold but did have all sorts of itching, burning and shooting pains in my feet that were making it hard to sleep or even tolerate shoes.
I went to a neurological center for testing. A pin prick test showed that the problem was present half way to my knees in both legs and in both hands. Initially they felt strongly that I was probably an undiagnosed diabetic. Blood work ruled out diabetes and other scary stuff, like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ALS and MS. An EMG [electromyogram] ruled out neuropathy in spite of the symptoms. I asked if it could in any way be from Lipitor and they said there was a “documented connection”.
I chose to stop the Lipitor again. When I returned to them a month later, I reported an improvement in the symptoms and retesting with a pin proved it. We agreed on a wait and see stance for two months. After that time passed I felt that I was 85% back to normal! My regular physician finally agreed that I should not take Lipitor or any statin again.
One year later, I still have some very minor nerve damage but am elated by the turnaround. My energy level has soared and now I actually feel like walking for exercise and do so regularly. I feel younger, more flexible. Next I tried not taking an anti-anxiety medication that had been prescribed for the heart palpitations and breathing issues that I also had experienced while taking Lipitor. To my surprise those symptoms were also gone.
I am a different person today from one year ago. I am so glad that I decided that my quality of life was more important than being afraid of dying because of the high cholesterol issue.
I had read a little suggestion in People’s Pharmacy in the newspaper that made me question if the Lipitor was causing my problem. One would expect that a problem would become evident in a short period of time. Not so with me. Looking back, I now believe that the problem was coming on slowly for at least two years.
Thank you and your newspaper column for setting me on the right path to true health.
Ann H.

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  1. RB
    Reply

    I’m an RN who was on lipitor for approx. 4 years. This was about 10 or more years ago. My clinic (which was associated with a medical center) was following their “protocol”.
    I started having sever burning in the soles of my feet, cramping, pain, and numbness. This was all attributed to being “borderline diabetic”. What was funny was that they never bothered to test me for diabetes even though I asked. They also told me lipitor was “one of the safest of the statins.” I was also told that I could die of a heart attack or stroke if I “Didn’t start something.”
    Well, I took myself off after doing some research. These are bad drugs – for me at least. My PCP was angry stating “You’re messing up our protocol. Our numbers need to reflect our patients are following the medical centers’ guidelines.” What? I left that practice and have since found a DO that has helped me manage my cholesterol.
    I still have the peripheral neuropathy but it’s very slowly improving. I have recently started incorporating raw foods (approx 50% a day) into my diet. My cholesterol levels remain outside the accepted levels. My DO stated that I was OK and not in any danger.
    I feel healthier, have lost some weight, and am way more active. I tell people to not go on statins. Our mindset is “we need pills”. No we don’t. I have several family members that had cholesterol levels in the 400’s and lived to be in their lat 80’s early 90’s but they ate good, wholesome foods. They ate no store bought meat (they bought from local farms) and grew their own veggies. They also stayed active. Change your diet stay away from processed foods. You’ll feel better, go from there.

  2. Chris C.
    Reply

    Had heart attack in ’97 have 6 stents. Been on Lipitor since then added Crestor after that. U.C. Started up when I worked at school as a custodian. Had appendix taken out. Had my left knee replaced. Discs in back were slowly getting bad. Had back fusion surgery to fix the back. Went back to work. Broke right foot sweeping floor. Back to work with soft cast on for 12 weeks. One weekend left leg hurt really bad. Went to ER and sent me home. Got up next day and leg hurt and had no feeling. Fell several times. Had second back surgery to tighten screws and clear area around nerve. Still the same. Couldn’t lift right arm had rotator cuff surgery. Left leg was the same. Couldn’t breath had ultra sound found blood clots in leg that let go and lodged in my lung. Spent 3 days in hospital and 6 to 8 months on blood thinners.
    Thought nerve might heal over time. Been almost 3 years after surgery. Leg pain has kept me up all night some nights. Lost my job tried all kinds of pain remedies nothing seams to work. 62 now, been on disability and S.S. Ever since.

  3. Barbara
    Reply

    Boy, I’ve just sat here for almost 20 minutes reading all these posts about statins and it’s like reading a horror story. The reason I started is because I was curious if the Lipitor that my OLD MD and I say old boldly because of her putting me on Lipitor. She put me on it because my total cholesterol was high, when it was my good cholesterol that was bringing the total values up.
    I argued with her, but she insisted so I took it for years and I mean years. I only know now that it is only meant to be taken for two years. Now I’m wondering if that’s the cause of my small fiber neuropathy since the neurologist has ruled out all other causes. The only other cause would be my hypothyroidism that was left chronically in a low state due to an endocrinologist who apparently didn’t understand Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
    All I know is that I’ve been off Lipitor for almost three years now and the neuropathy is progressing, not improving.
    But God bless you all who have suffered from indiscriminate statin use.

  4. Larry
    Reply

    Ann, what was your total cholesterol measure when they put you on statins?

  5. Katie
    Reply

    I have been on the forum about blood thinners, and just found out today that one or more of the stents that I had placed in Dec. 2012, after a heart attack, are closing, thus causing chest pain. I have to have an angiogram in a week or so to see what needs to be done. I am on Crestor, since the heart attack, and I have had horrible muscle pain from the beginning.
    My problem is, that I also have severe RA, for which I take Enbrel injections. It is difficult to tell if the pain is from RA or the Crestor, but it is different. I can’t take the Advil for pain, that helped me cope before, because I take a blood thinner.
    I did not have high cholesterol before my HA, now I am on a roller coaster, like so many here. My mom is 96, has high cholesterol, but takes no meds, eats no meat but chicken, and lots of veggies.she had one HA in her 80’s. I guess no one really knows what will work. I had a stent placed about 16 years ago… it is still fine, but the new ones, are closing already. I have been in constant pain for seven years with the RA, but I still love life, and now just pray.

  6. S D
    Reply

    I had the same problem with my doctor aka drug dealer and lipitor.

  7. S D
    Reply

    I was on lipitor in Oct 2012, by Mar 2013 the peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, muscle cramps, shooting pains, hot flashes, memory loss, and the symptoms would get worse at night, till exhaustion just knocked me on my butt. I was 46 and got real old very quick. My doctor said my cholesterol was around 250 because of my hypothyroidism and put me on lipitor.
    I was already feeling crappy before lipitor and the doctor just blew me off and after the lipitor side effects he did the same as before. I asked for a referral to an endocrinologist, he said stop taking lipitor, then he referred me to a neurologist, then referred to a podiatrist. They could not find a problem with my feet. I would be on my feet most of the day and I could barely walk up the stairs at work. It got so bad driving home, when I put my feet on the pedals it felt like being stabbed with a knife. So I went on medical leave and still have nerve damage in my feet. I’m ready to sue because my quality of life has gone down due to lipitor !!

  8. Nazmul
    Reply

    Hi I’m nazmul. I am 29 years old. First time I went to doctor for neck pain then doctor checked my full blood. Then doctor said he got diabetes and high cholesterol I mean 193 borderline. He gave me simvastatin 40 mg and metformin for diabetes 500mg. After taking medication 30 days later I am feeling feet and hand burning and sometimes getting cold, warm pain my hand and feet. I went to doctor doctor checked my blood and said blood sugar is fine and cholesterol was 119 its too low.
    I told my doctor its happened for cholesterol tablet but doctor said it can be diabetes, but my blood sugar its fine. He refers to the neurologist he checked me did some test but he cant find anything. I told them its happened for statin. Then I stopped my statin now feeling better. I mean 80% better. but I know normal cholesterol is 150-200. but after statin was 119. It’s too low cholesterol. I think statin medication can cause nerve damage.

  9. marie
    Reply

    I’m really glad I found the site. I have been taking crestor. I too have heart problem that run hard in my dads side of family. I have high cholesterol my doctor was giving my crestor and I was doing ok. But he stopped practicing. So I had his replacement. I’m not liking her much because she time me off the crestor and put me on lipitor. I see all the warnings of it causing diabetes which I don’t have, but all the women on my mothers side have had it. I have only been on it for a couple months and feet have swelling up and it feels like my bones are crushing together every time I walk.
    I’m really scared of what this medication has caused me. I have a hard time remembering to take it at night. Maybe this was a blessing. I’m not taking it any more and gong to a different doctor to get feet look at and to get on different meds. I would like to find a cholesterol med to take in the morning, that I can remember. Thanks guys and gals for all information.

  10. Joe
    Reply

    I have been on Pravastatin for about a year and a half. I started to feel fatigued. Normally I exercise a lot and am just very active, but because of the fatigue, I was not. I am also on Atenolol. Is it the Pravastatin or Atenolol that made me fatigued?

  11. Sue
    Reply

    I also had a very severe reaction to being on Lipitor. Severe numbness in feet and hands. I stopped taking it, have nerve tests which show damage from it. The dr. Had me take alpha lipoic acid (over the counter) for a month which helped regenerate the nerve damage. At some point I think I will have to go on a statin drug again but it won’t be Lipitor that is for sure!

  12. Kathy
    Reply

    Thank you everyone for sharing your experience with these drugs! I went to my doctor yesterday and he put me on Pravastatin which I am always cautious about taking medications because I am very sensitive to medications. I am not able to take the dosage that most people can take. For example, I take fish oil but I can only take one a day and it still leaves me feeling drugged and so tired. And that is just one example. I’ve had other doctors to take me off of medications because the side effects were worse for me than the problem it was treating. I asked him about the side effects and he told me “some people have muscle problems while taking it”. That sent out a red flag for me and that is why I’m here reading your responses. Because of this, I am not going to take it! I will take my chances. Thank you again for educating me about this type of drug!

  13. Bg
    Reply

    I keep seeing PREdiabetic? Isn’t this just another way for big pharma to get more and more people on drugs? Seriously??

  14. Maggie
    Reply

    I cried when I read Ann’s story and wish that I had put two and two together back when I was put on Lipitor 20mg about 10 yrs ago, when I turned 50. I kept telling my doctor that in general, I just did not feel well when taking it. After a very short time, I developed severe nerve pain in my right leg and eventually started to have an elevated fasting blood sugar and was told I had early stages of type 2 diabetes. The nerve pain was diagnosed as meralgia paresthetica and was thought to be caused by the diabetes.
    The neuropathy eventually became present in my left leg as well, from groin to knee. I took myself off of Lipitor (my cholesterol was never all that high anyway; just slightly elevated)because I felt it was contributing to my nerve pain, for which I now see a pain specialist as it has gotten so severe. Recently, the nerve pain has affected one of my feet and I am just so angry that my mobility is limited and I use a cane/walker to get around.
    I never dreamt my quality of life would be like this by age 50 and now pushing 60. My mother is 89 and more active than me and her mother lived to be an active 100 yr old. I was hoping for the same for myself, but now I feel this condition is irreversible and I blame the Lipitor for ruining my life, esp when my cholesterol was not that bad to have been placed on this horrible medication. I would rather die from a heart attack than to have to live this way and not even be able to care for my own grandchildren as I would like to do. Something needs to change.

  15. PB
    Reply

    I am an MD – no longer practicing. Came here as I have an elderly uncle on Crestor who is having the kind of problems described.
    Just to point people to Dr Joel Furham’s books and websites. I have found there effective and rational advice for what for me was a weight problem but the claims seem good for cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease and so on.
    My uncle is set in his dietary ways and afraid to challenge his doctors over the crestor so I have a bit to go with him -but if you are open to a non-toxic approach to controlling cholesterol then it is worth a look.

  16. L.B.
    Reply

    Like many of you, I too have been on Lipitor for almost 1 year and didn’t notice any real side effects until now. I went to my Doctor describing various “symptoms” that I seemed to be developing, specifically changes in my blood sugar. I seemed to be getting increased low-blood sugar reactions and they were starting to get worse with alarming frequency.
    When I addressed this issue with my Doctor saying I had read recent reports that there is an increased risk of developing Diabetes while on statins and my Doctor literally demeaned me and got angry and said “No that is definitely not from the statins.” To which I replied, “How can you say that when you are not in my body experiencing these side effects.”
    I also have been really fatigued and seems like my heart has palpitated all to which he adamantly once more argued that it is not from the statins. I disagree, because every time I go off of them for awhile, my energy returns, I have no low-blood sugar reactions and I seem to feel much better.
    I am sick and tired of these Doctors not truly “listening” and taking these very real side effects into consideration. They just keep dismissing them. I want answers and no one is giving them to me. Why does it have to be like pulling teeth to get straight answers from these medical professionals about the real dangers of taking statins?
    I know what it is – the pharmaceutical companies push these medicines and they all get a percentage profit from selling these drugs, all of which have not thoroughly been tested. I am so afraid that these statins are going to end up being those dreaded drugs you hear about 20 yrs. later that caused some horrible permanent side effect and then you have to go to a lawyer long after the damage has already been done to your body. I had a Doctor actually tell me to my face that the “Simvastatin”, which I was on initially, and right away it started giving me muscle pains, etc. – this Doctor said, and I quote, “Oh yes, that statin is well known to cause the most serious side effects immediately, as opposed to the other satin drugs.
    I was floored! I said, “then why in the world would the Doctor prescribe it, knowing fully well about these immediate side effects.? His answer, “Unfortunately it’s the cheapest statin drug. We need to keep asking questions and pushing for answers.

  17. Lee
    Reply

    I was in Lipitor for over 10 years, plus a baby aspirin a day. Then one day I had a TIA minor stroke, and quickly went into the hospital, no permanent damage. However while I was hospitalized for 4 days they put me on Plavix and Crestor 40 mg. this made me feel extremely heavy, like I weighed 400 pounds, I was 57, active, and weighed 200 pounds. When I got out of the hospital I stopped taking the Plavix and started taking a 325mg aspirin. The heaviness went away in a few days.
    For a few weeks I felt great and like my normal self. Then I started to get muscle cramps in my legs, so my primary Dr switched me back to Lipitor 40 mg. The cramps only got worse, and then the burning started. Horrible burning in my hands and feet. Then the pins and needles. Primary Dr. Tested me for diabetes and then referred me to a neurologist – 2 month wait to see her. Negative on the diabetes, and the burning continued to get worse. Pins and needles, cramps, night sweats ect.
    Finally got in to see the neurologist – more and more tests. Put me on gabapentin 1800 mg over the day. Cuts the pain, but does not make it go away and puts me in a brain fog. She took me off Lipitor. Told me I have Small Fiber Neuropathy. No cure, just live with it.
    Now 2 years later, blood tests and my new primary Dr wants me to go back on a statin. Hell no!
    What can I take that will lower my cholesterol and triglycerides that will not do me more harm?

  18. Rod
    Reply

    I am at a loss as to what to do and need some serious advice please !!!!
    I am 57, have had 3 heart attack, first at 39 when I was diagnosed with hypercholesteroleamia with triglycerides of even now about 17mmol (excuse spelling please).
    Last MI resulted in 6 bypasses (yes, I thought 4 was max also). I am now a type 2 diabetic. I now take 40mg Rosovastatin plus 10mg Ezetimbe to try to get lipid levels down. Triglys levels still 15mmol +
    My diet is pretty good. I have had muscle wasting in my upper back/shoulder are with pain/burning/tingling sensation for many years. I now have such pain in my hip/upper (outside) leg area I can hardly walk properly, especially if I’ve been sitting down. I have reduced feeling in feet, lower legs, cramping, numbness in fingers 4/5, and forearm pain. My shoulder joints are causing me immense pain and making life miserable. The anti inflams only just mask the problem. I take heaps of paracetamol just to function.
    GP says, when I complain. “you will die if you stop taking statins”
    I think I will stop….

  19. maggielynne
    Reply

    Long story short, I cannot take even Red Yeast Rice because of muscle problems. After researching the real causes of many heart attacks I am not going to worry about my cholesterol numbers at this point in time. I tried a vegan 30-day challenge a few years ago and my numbers did not improve AND my triglycerides went UP over to over 225. Bill Clinton and Michelle Phieffer have raved puplically about the vegan diet and how well it works (for them). I don’t believe it to be true for everyone. I, too, read Wheat Belly and The Carb Sensitivity Program. Both are excellent. Even though not being diabetic, there are those of us that don’t process carbohydrates normally.

  20. Stephen O.
    Reply

    Just reporting back in. It’s been almost 10 years since I took my last Crestor. I had terrible sciatic pain. That is all fine now. I was diagnosed type 2 diabetic last September. To reduce my carb intake I discovered the book Wheat Belly. I have not had any bread, wheat pasta, pizza, cookies for 4 1/2 months. My weight has dropped 20 lbs, clothes fit well again. People say I look healthier. All my cholesterol and triglycerides are normal now. Try going wheat free for a couple of months. Google Wheat Belly. My weight continues to drop at one lb per week and it is all coming from the visceral fat.

  21. Cathy T.
    Reply

    Angelia, I had posted on this website in August 2012. I stopped my Lipitor on my own against a lot of skepticism. I must tell you that it has been almost 6 months since I quit. About six weeks after quitting 40 Mg. Lipitor, I noticed one morning that I had feeling in my feet. It was just amazing to me. They have greatly improved and I would say are just about back to normal. I can actually feel my toes and have no tingling in my feet. Even some of my new shoes actually hurt, but I never felt it before. My total cholesterol number did increase from 133 to 180, but my
    Triglycerides improved from 78 to 60, HDL improved from 49 to 63 and LDL did actually increase from 68 to 105.
    I am working on improving and making some changes in my diet and hope to bring the LDL and total cholesterol down. I feel so much better and have much more energy.
    My blood sugar was just tested in January and it has come down. I am no longer pre-diabetic. My glucose reading still is a little high, but I am working on my diet and eating more veggies instead of more fruits.
    I have done a lot of research on the internet regarding statin drugs, and I am a firm believer now that women should not take statins unless they have had a previous heart attack. You will see that several doctors say that your cholesterol numbers do not have to be as low as many cardiologists want them. I know mine wanted to increase me to 60mg just before I quit and my cholesterol was 133 at that time.
    I hope and wish all the best for you. Perhaps if you talk with your doctor you can convince him/her about some of the dangers of statins. Crestor is one of the strongest statins on the market. I forgot to mention that my memory has also improved and I am a senior citizen and was blaming that on old age.
    Cathy

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