Q. I’ve been on simvastatin (80 mg) for several years. I’ve had serious problems with leg cramps and now my tendons are affected from my toes to my knees. Could the medication be responsible?
A. The FDA has just issued a warning about simvastatin (Zocor). The agency is concerned about muscle damage linked to high doses (80 mg) of this cholesterol-lowering medicine. Doctors are not supposed to prescribe this dose to new patients. Only people who have not experienced muscle problems after taking it for a year should continue on the 80 mg dose.
Even lower doses of simvastatin may cause side effects. One reader shared his story:

“I was started on simvastatin 20 mg, and by the third week I was in a lot of pain. My triceps and biceps hurt the worst, as though someone was ripping the muscles apart. I also had pain in my hips, legs and shoulders.”I stopped the simvastatin, but my blood tests showed elevated CPK (muscle breakdown) and decreased GFR (kidney functioning). Six months later, the labs show my GFR is normal, but my CPK is still mildly elevated. When I try to exercise, my muscles get sore quickly and the soreness lasts longer.”

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  1. Miriam
    Puerto Rico

    My Doctor insists I take Simvastatin, but I don’t like all these side effects! What to do? What to do?

  2. Angela L.
    United Kingdom

    I have been reduced from 40 to 20 I started tonight. I am awake at 3am now with pain again in my legs and hips. I am 53 yrs old.

    • jimmy

      An alternative to statins is Niacin- it works just as well or better with no nasty side effects.
      If you do opt for statins, all statins should be taken with co-enzyme Q 10 and also magnesium.
      Note: Cholesterol is not the problem.

  3. deanna

    Wow wondering why I was having muscle spasms all over mainly in the shoulders and arms I could feel the trembles and I could feel heat all over my muscles. My doctor prescribe the medicine a new doctor I started seeing he warned about the organ damage and said in a month need a blood test. Well Dec 31st I ended up at the ER they said muscle spasms well I followed up with my doctor and told him off the muscle spasms and told them they were so bad I was down for 2 days with dizziness then the ER gave me muscle relaxers he said those can be additive. All this time I thought I was falling apart not even a month on this medicine. Well I was getting a physical for my new job I had to report all medicines he saw the muscle relaxer and the cholesterol medicine that’s when that doctor told me about this so I hope I get to feeling better cuz I still hurt all over now because of the cholesterol med s I had to get a muscle relaxer now I have to wait on my new employer to ok it even though I am not taking it after today. Why did I have to hear about this from another doctor?


    I have taken statins now for 18 years. I take them at walmart pharmacy for only 4 dollars a month. I take now semivastatin ant can I tell you that in 2014 they finally have caught up with me. My doctor I called and said I was going off of them my cholestrol went from 139 to 232. I had a independent lab do a test on my cholestrol and it went to 253. I called and got back on them at low dose(10mg) last time I went to doctor my cholestrol was 175
    my mind is being drained of something though. I feel light headed all the time. I’m in a catch 22 situation. Either I get and keep cholestrol down or have a heart attack if I quit taken them.

  5. JOSEPH T.

    Also I am taking 10 mg of zolpidem at bedtime for a sleep aide. I have seen the paperwork that comes with it, that it can cause memory loss is that true? My memory loss is short term stuff. some days are better then others. thanks

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