Q. Years ago, my cholesterol was in the stratosphere and Lopid (gemfibrozil) was ineffective. When Lipitor (atorvastatin) became available, the doctor prescribed it to be taken as well. It certainly gave amazing results, with the cholesterol count dropping like a stone in just three months.
A pharmacist mentioned that this combination might be dangerous, but my doctor just laughed and pointed to the great lab results.
One day the following month I awoke immobilized. Luckily the phone was next to my bed, so I called my brother. He carried me to the emergency department where they suspected a stroke. Over the next five hours under observation, I gradually regained my ability to move. I was sent home and told to see the doctor the next day.
When I saw him, he looked at me like I was a freak and told me I was depressed. (Not so!) Other doctors have also been skeptical. Has anyone else ever experienced this kind of muscle problem?
A. Your story is unique because the problem came on suddenly and you recovered so quickly. The combination of gemfibrozil and Lipitor does increase the risk for rhabdomyolysis, a serious muscle breakdown that can be life threatening.
We have heard from hundreds of people who have experienced a gradual onset of muscle pain in shoulders, legs or back after taking statins. They may also experience weakness or nerve problems such as numbness, tingling, itching or burning. You will find more stories at www.peoplespharmacy.com.