Print This Page

Simvastatin Side Effects: Diabetes & What Else

  • Currently 4.5/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 4.5/5 (311 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!

The Food and Drug Administration upset the applecart when it announced that statin-type cholesterol-lowering medications like simvastatin (Zocor) could raise blood sugar levels and increase the risk for diabetes. Millions of people with elevated cholesterol are trying desperately to reduce their likelihood of having a heart attack or a stroke. The last thing they need is to have their blood sugar go up, since that can increase the risk of the very complications people are trying to avoid (heart attacks and strokes, not to mention kidney damage, nerve pain and eye problems).

The FDA has worded its warning cautiously:

"A small increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes have been reported with the use of statins."

We are not so sure this is such a "small increased risk." Eric Topol, MD, seems to agree with us. He is one of the country's leading cardiologists. In an op-ed article published in the New York Times (March 4, 2012) titled, "The Diabetic Dilemma for Statin Users," Dr. Topol points out that the way the data were analyzed could be misleading. The FDA lumped relatively "weak" statins together with more potent statins like atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor). With this data manipulation the FDA diluted the impact of potent statins on blood sugar increases. According to Dr. Topol, the stronger the statin and the higher the dose the greater the likelihood of diabetes. He states:

"More than 20 million Americans take statins. That would equate to 100,000 new statin-induced diabetics. Not a good thing for the public health and certainly not good for the individual affected with a new serious chronic illness."

http://tinyurl.com/79raddj

Amidst the statistics we tend to forget that individuals are affected. We have heard from many people who have had significant problems with blood sugar control while taking a statin-type drug. The first case came to our attention almost ten years ago. A husband and wife taking Lipitor had increasing trouble controlling their glucose levels. Why did it take the FDA so long to figure this out?

What other side effects should we be paying more attention to when it comes to statin-type drugs:

• Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release)
• Crestor (rosuvastatin)
• Lescol (fluvastatin)
• Lipitor (atorvastatin)
• Livalo (pitavastatin)
• Mevacor (lovastatin)
• Pravachol (pravastatin)
• Zocor (simvastatin).

Products containing statins in combination with other drugs include:

• Advicor (lovastatin/niacin extended-release)
• Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release)
• Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe).

Potential adverse reactions patients and their families should be aware of include:

• Muscle pain or spasms (any where in the body, including legs, shoulders, back, arms or neck)
• Arthritis
• Blood sugar elevation
• Memory problems, cognitive dysfunction, confusion, amnesia
• Nerve pain, peripheral neuropathy, leg cramps
• Digestive upset, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence
• Headache
• Insomnia
• Urinary tract infections
• Skin reactions, hives
• Pancreatitis
• Sexual problems, erectile dysfunction,

What we do not know is how common some of these side effects may be. Until recently the FDA assumed that memory problems and blood sugar elevation were so rare as to be almost forgettable. The recent alert changes that equation. How common are sexual problems with statins? No one really knows. What about arthritis, nerve pain or peripheral neuropathy? Again we are clueless.

We recognize that some people really do need these medications to prevent a heart attack or a stroke. The data suggest that people who have clearly diagnosed heart disease can benefit. Those who have had one heart attack can reduce the risk of a second by taking a statin. And many individuals never suffer any side effects. Good for them. They are fortunate.

Others are not so lucky. We don't know what the true incidence of some of the so-called minor side effects really is. That's why we need your help. Please let us know how you or someone you love has fared on a statin-type drug. You can comment below. Thanks for letting us know about your experience. And one more thing...no one should stop a statin without consulting the prescriber. We do not want anyone to go from the frying pan into the fire. Your doctor needs to know about how you are doing on any medication, especially a statin!

  • Currently 4.5/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 4.5/5 (311 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!

66 Comments

| Leave a comment

I am a healthy 64 year old woman, and had been on a statin for about 5 years. In September of 2011, I stated having mild shortness of breath virtually all the time. I have never been a smoker. I dismissed it as a virus or allergy, but it became worrisome as it persisted, and sometimes I could not take a deep breath. By mid November, I started to suspect the statin, and discontinued it.

The situation improved almost immediately, and soon I was symptom free. I also felt better in other subtle ways, such as improved mental focusing (ie fewer senior moments), and better balance and equilibrium. My doctor did not think the shortness of breath was due to the statin, and prescribed a different statin. However, the research I have done on these drugs terrifies me, and I am very reluctant to go back on a statin.

This is, of course, written in retrospect. After my doctor increased my Lipitor to 40 mg. a day I started getting mild muscle pain in my hips, noticeable when I would stand up. Chalked it up to getting 'older' and not enough exercise. In the 4 years I was on the higher dose there were several things I noticed, excessive short term memory loss, extensive muscle mass loss in the lat 2 years, increased muscle pain in my feet, shoulders, back, arms and worst of all my hands. I asked the doctor but she said she wasn't aware of people who had muscle pain in that many places being related to Lipitor.

This was accumulative muscle pain, it didn't all hit at once, first the feet, then shoulders, arms etc. and the severity increased as time passed. I decided it was time for some research. The pain in my hands were so severe I went to the doctor that did my carpal tunnel surgery as I thought it must be tendon pain. After running me through a battery of grip test, pushing, pulling, etc. he pinched the muscle between my thumb and index finger and I came up off the chair. He thought it might be post menopausal mystery pain. say what? never heard of it and he also mentioned "Fibromyalgia". I researched both, was not Fibro, might be PMMP but it only fit a few criteria.

Was at dinner with a friend and she mentioned she couldn't take Lipitor because of the severe muscle pain in only 2 weeks of starting it. A bell went off and I researched "Lipitor muscle pain". I found a lot of information on Spacedoc.com about how the medical community was virtually ignoring these side effects and aren't informing the doctors of these side effects being reported.

I went off Lipitor as a short term experiment as my hands hurt so much I couldn't even push the garage door opener remote control. With in 7 days my hand pain was gone! Completely gone! My feet have improved as well as shoulder, back, arms. Do I still have pain? oh yeah, but it is joint pain in my hands and I can get shots in those places. It is places that hurt BEFORE I started taking the 40 mg. dose of Lipitor. I stayed off of any cholesterol for 6 mos. trying the homeopathic method, vitamin supplements, Omega Plus type stuff. Cholesterol still 350, HDL LDL and Triglycerides out of normal range so I consented to try 5 ml Crestor. I go back next mo. for more blood work to see the outcome.

One more thing, After I got off Lipitor my blood pressure came down and I was able to get off one of those medications.

My husband is now on one pill, thanks to my complaining to doctor, and news media. so now he is on one half, which is 20mgs lipitor, generic. Still has side effects. now, insomnia is added, and more confusion in the morning. I honestly feel that the generic lipitor is deadly for him. Now I have to call the doctor again, because this generic lipitor, is different, he has had fast and unusual side effects with it. I tried writing to FDA, but must have done it incorrectly, because I am not get the correct info from them. I wish they would pull all statins off the market.
Thank you
Ernestine

Within about a month of starting Crestor at 5 mg, I had calf pain on a consistent basis. And in the same timeframe, I was diagnosed as diabetic -- not a great surprise because I was a likely candidate with a history of gestational diabetes and hypoglycemia -- but I had not tipped into the actual diabetes category until after I took a statin.

The calf pain disappeared shortly after I stopped the statin, but the diabetes remained.

And now, if any drug has a leg pain or arthritic side-effect, I get that reaction very strongly and immediately.

I have Atrial Fib and Congestive Heart Failure and have been taking Simvastatin for several years. I am type II diabetic as well. My glucose is controlled with insulin and oral meds but averages on the high side. I also have experienced cramps all over my body. My hands will curl up as if I have cerebral palsy and I have to manually straighten out the cramps. I have had erectile dysfunction for over 10 years. My feet swell but I also experience pain when I elevate my feet. I cannot walk without hip and leg pain and cramping.

Yes this is really a double whammy. My LDL was high, at age 59. Heart disease and diabetes arein my family tree, on my father's side. However, I am not pre-diabetic, not even close. Now I dont know what to do. The last time I spoke with my PCP about this, he had not seen the study. I am waiting to hear from him as to what he thinks I should do.

As a former RN, one of my primary functions, was to ensure that my patients were well aware of the benefits and the risks of any drug or procedure. The problem is, I was only educating them with limited information... only what I knew. It was called INFORMED CONSENT. I know now that, I wasn't really giving my patients adequate knowledge. I think it is HORRIBLE, what western medicine has become. Legalized drug pushers for providers? 1Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." So very true in todays Pharma industry.

I had taken red yeast rice for several years because of slightly elevated cholesterol (around 216). Over time, muscle pain and achiness increased to the point that I thought I made a mistake moving to NC to play more golf, because I was so stiff and ached so much (I was 59 at the time).

After deciding on New Years Day of 2009 to stop taking this supplement for a little while to see if I noticed any difference in how I felt, I was amazed to find that physically I ached at least 70% less, and because I am physically very active, I was able to do so much more with way fewer anti-inflammatories. A side benefit is that I felt much more mentally alert. I was seeing both a massage therapist and physical therapist for back, knee, and hip pain and both commented on how much difference they saw in the rigidity of my muscles. In addition, I had been diagnosed with diabetes, which I now maintain with diet and exercise.

Would I ever take any statin, prescribed or otherwise again? Emphatically no.

I had a TIA stroke in 2002. I had been taking Zocor 40mg for about 6 years at that time only to get my total cholesterol down from 247 to about 200. Sometime after the stroke, I changed to Vitorin 40mg (which is Zocor 40mg + ?). It immediately reduced my total Cholesterol to 135. In 2008 or 2009, I was switched back to Zocor 40mg and my total cholesterol stayed at about 135 but my HDL was 39.

In early 2011, I asked my doctor about the HDL being low and she asked me to start taking Lipitor 10. I took it for maybe 6 weeks and got a blood test - Total was 170 and HDL was good, in the 50's but I had started having leg pains. She told me to stop Lipitor and start niacin (1000mg, OTC) (no statins at all.)

After 8 weeks with niacin and no statins, my fasting blood test showed HDL of 50 (good) but total was 245 (bad), so I'm back on Zocor but trying 20mg, so far no side effects that I am aware of, and am continuing the niacin 1000mg, OTC. (I do have arthritis to some small degree, but I'm 75 yrs old) During the same blood test visit, I also had blood sugar tested and that was fine. I will request a fasting blood test after about 8 weeks on the Zocor 20mg to see how that worked. After reading this People's Pharmacy article, I will also request a repeat of the blood sugar test to see if it's gone up. Thank you, People's Pharmacy.

Have taken (at MD's insistence) a number of these drugs: Crestor, Zocor quickly come to mind as the latest tries. Muscle pain, including severe enough to interfere with rising from bed in morning, caused me to discontinue them, and now, in spite of urging, won't take them again. Do take Niaspan, which has no bothersome side-effects for me.

I have been taking pravastatin for over 5 years, which while effective in bringing my cholesterol down to about 180 I have noticed several side effects which increased in severity over the years of taking the drug.

Constant tingling and numbness in my toes initially, and then later mild tingling and numbness in my fingers. I talked to my Dr. and he discounted it as not associated with any meds I was taking (I am also taking med for hypertension)

Sexual side effects including significantly reduced libido and other symptoms were noticeable after 2 or 3 years on the statin.

My blood tests showed increased blood sugar from one test to the next, eventually exceeding the high end of "normal" range.

For the past year I have stopped taking the statin with these results:
blood sugar returned to within the normal range (high end of normal)
sexual libido and performance returned to my "normal" (2 - 3 times a week)
tingling and numbness in fingers is gone totally. Some tingling/numbness in toes continues

I walk 4 or 5 times a week, eat oatmeal daily, 1/2 block bakers chocolate daily and take 4 Niacin tablets daily. Cholesterol not to the lower level achieved with statin, but in the 190 - 200 range.

I have tried several statins. They all cause "tiredness" in my legs. I first noticed this several years ago-I was taking line dance lessons and my legs hurt so bad I could not continue. (I had previously done line dancing and had enjoyed it.) Presently I am taking Pravastatin which my Dr. tells me does not have the problems that newer statins have. I also take Diovan which has been switched to Losartin by my drug co.. My legs hurt and are sort of "wobbly" when I walk any distance. Since I have LVH, my Dr. feels I need to take these drugs. I used to take long walks, but can no longer do so.

This has been a great concern for me the last 6 years. Just wondering why has the FDA finally making a statement about this.

What got my attention was the success story of someone that had such a bad case of memory had stop taking the statins.
Thanks,
Ray

My doctor has tried me on various statins for my high cholesterol, incl. Zocor, crestor and lipitor. On each of them I was just so exhausted I could barely get my daily routine accomplished. What was the last straw was when I was mowing the lawn, a chore I typically enjoy, and my legs felt like they were so fatigued I could barely get across the lawn. I finally told my doctor that she had two choices: I could either exercise, or I could take this crap. She chose exercise.

My husband blindly takes anything and everything the doctor prescribes for him, so I just make sure he takes a CO-Q 10 supplement (200 mg) daily. He's a type 2 diabetic (pre-statin), but has many of the other side effects incl. neuropathy.

I have been on Lavostatin for many years now. I believe I was put on it as a "preventative," rather than someone diagnosed with heart disease. Although I have high blood pressure, it has been well under control for years. I have not suffered any ill-effects that I am aware of with the exception of starting to experience leg cramps, especially at night. This only started this year.

I have blood tests every 6 months and so far, no elevated glucose level. I take care of myself, have always watched my diet and exercise quite a bit, but I am scheduled to see my doctor this month and plan on discussing this latest revelation with my doctor. I also take niacin, which may be all I need. I would be interested in seeing what his opinion is of Cholestyramine as an option, even though it has it's own side-effects.

Experienced fatigue and total extremity muscle "heaviness" with Crestor - took it for one week. Began Red yeast Rice instead; it lowered my cholesterol and triglycerides and LDL perfectly but during these past 4 years I noted a slow but steady fasting glucose - up to 99-101. I stopped the Red yeast rice for 3 months and took another test; my glucose was down to 86, but my triglycerides and LDL had gone up again - ????? what to do??

My husband and I were both on lovastatin (10 mg). At his yearly checkup the Dr. doubled my husband's dose to 20 mg. Within 1 month he began to have major memory problems, leading to frustration & worry. He also had painful arthritis suddenly develop in his hands. I wrote down my concerns, as I did not trust his memory to tell the Dr. I also asked if he could switch to niacin slow release.
The Dr. took him off of the statin, saying that he didn't like the side effects of the statins, & that we should try the niacin. I also stopped taking lovastatin & we are both on the niacin. He goes back next week for blood work to see how he is doing.

I started taking Lipitor around age 50 (year 2000) based on my family history of heart disease. Over the next few months I began having ED problems. Went to my urologist who put me on Testosterone IM. All this did was cause my hair to thin rapidly & I developed a much sharper temper(stopped taking in '03). I began to see reports linked to reduction in testosterone levels as well as libido during this time, but my primary Dr said he doubted this was the problem.

Unfortunately, I had open heart surgery in 2009 & feel compelled to take Crestor (20 mg daily). My cholesterol total number is always under 150 now & the good/bad ratio is in line, but I worry about having enough cholesterol in my system that the body needs to build the various proteins/enzymes for keeping me healthy (I have a BS in biology) I know take 200 mg of COEQ10 to help offset the effects of the statins, but unfortunately the ED is still a problem & I have lead a life without sex for about 12 years now.
Would appreciate any comments.

Thanks

My sister has had terrible trouble with muscle pain when taking statins. They have tried different ones but the muscle pain persists and is very debilitating. Her doctor says she has to be on the statin because of her elevated cholesterol. Meanwhile I'm very confused. I was on a small dose of Lovastatin but quit taking it because of all the bad things I heard about statins.

I went on niacin and red yeast rice. I switched doctors. Now after my last blood test the new doctor says I have to go on Lipitor because my LDL is too high, I have especially small particles of LDL which is bad and probably hereditary and my diabetes "reading" (whatever that is) is 75 and it needs to be less than 45. She says unless I go on the statin I will become diabetic but I thought from this article the statins would put you at risk for diabetes so who really knows what's happening here????

I didn't have a problem with muscle pain from the lovastatin or the red yeast rice but I'm completely confused about what to do. I don't want to get diabetes or have a heart attack but one person says one thing and the other says something else so I don't know who or what to believe.

I take Simvastatin. I have weakness in my legs. Also suffer from mild cognitive disfunction.

Gerd drives me crazy.

I started out with Questran in the 1980s moving on first to Mevacor and then to Lipitor in the 1990s. I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 1989 when a urine specimen showed high sugars and a 24 hr urine analysis revealed kidney disease. Now after some 20 years of statins and well controlled diabetes (A1C 6.1 this January) I have peripheral neuropathy in both feet. I'm also aware of fuzzy cognitive thinking and loss of vocabulary.

I'm having surgery on a lumpy tendon sheath in my left thumb next week. It never occurred to me that statins had anything to do with any of these things, but now I'm wondering. In 2007 I had a cardiac syndrome episode with no damage, but a narrowed LAD coronary artery. Both my GP and my cardiologist are big Lipitor fans. I'm 80 years old and realize that decline is inevitable, but not decline caused by a medication!

Is 20 mgs considered a high dose for simvastatin?

I did not have high blood sugar until I started taking statin drugs. Not only that, but Lovastatin did not lower my cholesterol, so Pravastatin was prescribed. After taking it, my blood sugar level did not drop, but the doctor ignored it. Thanks to you I have reading about this. When my next blood work is done I will let you know my blood sugar level.

a dear friend used statins for many years. recently, she repeatedly told me about her serious memory/mental function problems. i told her statins cross the blood-brain barrier and remove cholesterol from the brain, causing memory, etc., problems. she had an MRI and they found no Alzheimer's changes. she also has a history of insomnia.

I had total cholesterol of 240, tried the (wimpy) recommendations of my doctor's: avoid red meat, don't eat egg yolks, avoid saturated fat.: no change. I went on Lipitor and Total Chol. dropped to 185. However, I NEVER felt comfortable taking statins.. the liver is involved in a heck of a lot of processes in the body. Anyways, I have moved to a whole food, low fat plant based diet (Engine 2/ Caldwell B Esselstyn/ china study/etc. etc), my cholesterol dropped 40 points in less than 4 weeks. I now have total cholesterol of 183 with no Lipitor *(60 points down in 8 weeks) will see how I'm doing in another 3 weeks.

I don't know if it works for everyone, but it works for me. You might give the low fat (no added oil) plant based diet a try: free recipes are available online (oh, and I'm never hungry an have lost 12 pounds in 2 months ..side benefit :-) )


I am a retired medical assistant who worked for cardiologists. I reviewed patients' lab results daily, so when my Dr. put me on a statin, I insisted on the very lowest dose of Crestor (5 mg.). With Crestor, I could always tell which patients were taking or not taking their med. It has been very effective in lowering my cholesterol without decreasing my HDL. My blood sugar is fine.

I do get severe leg and foot cramps on occasion, usually when I've been on my feet all day. My family history reveals great genetics re cholesterol, so I know my problems are self-inflicted due to overweight, bad diet choices etc. Taking the statin is the easy, lazy way out for me. I hope to improve my weight, diet, etc. and perhaps go off of Crestor if my numbers go way down.

My doctor prescribed Lovaza and Niaspan when I refused to take a statin. I had tried Lipitor and Zocor in the past with no luck. I don't remember any debilitating side effects, I just saw no improvement whatsoever in my lab work so I stopped taking what wasn't working.

After 2 years of Lovaza and Niaspan my lipid numbers were higher than before I started, 276 total cholesterol and triglycerides in the 320 range, my blood glucose was in the "pre-diabetes" range and my entire body hurt to the point I was afraid I had fibromyalgia. An accidental brush with an arm or shoulder would set off such pain I was useless. Just touching me was horrible so I skipped my mammograms and avoided all physical contact with everyone.

I finally quit taking both of these 3 months ago because I can't afford them anymore and I'm almost to the point where I can apply moisturizer again without tears. I even had a mammogram last week. The ringing in my ears has stopped (the only way to avoid the flushing from the niaspan was a full dose of aspirin - 2 325 mg tablets) and I'm not as dizzy as I was before.

Three visits to a registered dietician and the only change to my diet she offered was for me to eat more nuts - I am allergic to tree nuts - she said peanuts are not beneficial for cholesterol problems.

So I'm not sure I will ever find a solution. I walk as much as possible and am hoping that with less pain I can be more active. This is one of those "just a number" indicators that I can't seem to get under control.

I am 41 years old. I started on Simvastatin about 8 years ago. In my 20s, my doctor tested my cholesterol at 225, despite eating a very lean diet and being an avid runner and an overall active person. Today, I still engage in daily strenuous exercise (e.g., half marathons, hours-long bike rides and trail runs, yoga, strength training, etc.) I have never had any of the symptoms described above.

Saw your remarks about GERD in the posting on statin side effects. It really bothered me too, but I actually cured gerd very easily. I"m talking CURED, not just symptomatic relief. At this time, I'm in my mid seventies, and have not had any gerd attacks in many years. The cure is honey and Braggs apple cider vinegar. Not just any apple cider vinegar, but Braggs, with "Mother", which is appears as a somewhat cloudy substance in the bottom of the bottle when it is standing for a while.

Take 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of warm water, and sip it slowly until finished. Do this at least once every day as both a preventative and immediate relief measure. Can't tell you how long to continue this regimen, I did it for six to eight months, then cut down on the frequency. Now I take it only once or twice a week, eat anything I want to, any time of the day or evening and go to bed knowing it won't wake me up with gagging and gasping for breath. I've passed the word on in my circle of friends and those who have tried it and STUCK TO IT have all been cured as well. Good luck.

My mother's family has had a history of heart disease and stroke, but those who had that history were also smokers. When my mother's cholesterol began increasing and because of her family history, she was put on Zocor and a few years later she was switched to Lipitor. She took these drugs for several years. Twenty years ago, she moved to a different city and, at my urging because of information that was just beginning to show up about statins, she went off the medication.

Her physical health has been excellent, but in her latter 70's (she is 85 now), my dad reported that she was getting very forgetful. I didn't see it (she covered it up well), but after he passed away, my sisters and I began to notice her issues with memory. She has been diagnosed with moderate dementia (I don't know if it Alzheimer's and, frankly, don't feel it matters). Recently, I learned that her sister, who has now reached the age of 75 is also showing the same memory issues and also has the same history of statin use.

One could say that there might be a genetic factor in play (news I don't think I really want to hear - LOL), but I have to wonder, now, if the statin use might have played a role. Statins might work as they are supposed to and without problems for some, but, I sure wish I could go back those many years and tell her not to take these meds. The outcome might not have been any different, but I certainly would have liked to know for sure...meds or bad luck.

I am a 51 year old female and I took Pravastatin for about 2 years.

At the end of December I saw a new gynecologist. She asked me to stop taking my birth control pill and after 30 days tested my hormone levels. The results: I was in menopause. She also checked my insulin level and it was high enough that she ordered a A1C test. On the same day as the hormone and insulin level blood test, I also left a blood sample with my internist for my yearly physical.

The results: my liver enzymes were elevated and he ordered a new test that day. I let my internist know that my gyn tested my insulin level and had ordered the A1C test. He looked at my current blood sugar level and it was within the normal range and had been for the past 4 years. He told me that he wouldn't have had a reason to test my insulin based on the results of the blood sugar test.

The A1C test came back at a number of 7 and the liver enzyme test came back elevated again and higher this time. My internist also ordered a Vitamin D level. After the second liver test, I stop taking the Pravastatin immediately and another test is ordered to be done in 2 weeks. My Vitamin D level is so extremely low that I start taking 50,000 units of Vitamin D for 12 weeks.

I really couldn't believe that my Vitamin D level was so low. I'm a gardener working in my own yard and working at a garden center on the weekends during the spring and summer. I was also outside a lot because of our mild winter.

The 3rd liver enzyme test resulted in my doctor ordering a ultrasound of my liver. During all of this I am reading information on increased insulin and liver enzymes and came across an article from a prominent physician talking about what statins can do - increase insulin levels and cause adult diabetes, and deplete Vitamin D. Now my doc wants to put me on Metformin and back on Pravastatin. Did the statins cause all/some of this or did me going into menopause cause this? The other symptoms that I had were that I always felt tired when I was taking the Pravastatin and I had a lot of muscle aches and pains which I thought were from doing too much and getting older.


Seven years ago as I began taking Crestor I felt crummy immediately. Shoulder pain, hemorrhoids (had never had them), and very dark and smelly urine. I have never been a smoker and always a teetotaler. My doctor dismissed the symptoms as the usual statin problems. That was before I had a stroke 4 months later. When I got to the ER luckily the staff was mostly my band parents (I teach middle school band).

They rushed me through the tests to determine that it was an ischemic stroke and I did get the tPa at 91 minutes post infarction. My left hand is usable but feeling is muted. I'm still able to play the trumpet but the left side of my face still has slight aphasia that makes playing a bit different. When someone says that they take statins to prevent a stroke I jump in to tell my story. Look pal I had a stroke while taking this stuff. I refuse to take any medicine - even aspirin.

No one will own up to the fact that it probably was the statin but there is little doubt in my mind that was the case.

I have been on simvastatin 20 mg a day for about 8 years. I had no noticeable problems with it until January this year when I started having numbness and tingling in my feet. After this continued for a few months I finally saw my internal med doc who stopped the simvastatin and within one month the numbness and tingling have totally disappeared. Of course now I need to have my cholesterol checked and see if I need to make more dietary changes to control it.

I'm a 36 year-old man and I took simvastatin for a few months, until I had some blood/urine tests done when I purchased life insurance. My policy was denied due to elevated ALT (liver enzyme). My primary care doctor tried to convince me that it was due to everything except simvastatin; however, the only thing that changed between my normal liver function test (which was ordered because he prescribed the simvastatin) and my "abnormal" test was the statin.

My doctor also tried to minimize the importance of the test, saying it was "only slightly elevated." The good news is that my cholesterol did respond well to the medication. I stopped taking it; however, and will have tests done when the drug is out of my system in a couple months to check the liver enzymes and cholesterol again.

I am a 65 year old female. 5'5" and weigh 210 pounds. I lead an inactive lifestyle with little to no exercise. Twelve years ago my kidney GFR rate was normal at 65 But my cholesterol was high I was put on 5 mg of Lipitor and took it religiously for twelve years. The good news is that my cholesterol levels declined and were at a normal range of 150. But I noticed throughout the twelve years, my GFR rate was consistently declining.

When it reached 48 that put me in third stage kidney failure. I went to a nephrologist ( kidney doctor) who told me my kidneys were old and it s normal to have a decline in kidney function at my age. I told the doctor I was on Lipitor for 12 years. Could this drug affect my kidneys?

He assured me no the drug would not affect my kidneys and the benefits of being on Lipitor outweigh the risks! (whose risks I thought to myself!). I have been on the drug probably longer than the study of Lipitor on humans!

He told me do not go off the Lipitor. It is a dangerous thing to do.

I went home and that night Feb 13, 2012 I pushed the bottle of Lipitor to the back of my medicine cabinet. Against my doctors advice I knew I had to take matters into my own hands.

On April 13, 2012 I had another blood test taken to see if my kidneys were improving being off the Lipitor. I am happy to share with you my doctor called me this evening to tell me my GFR rate is now 63! In four weeks my kidney function improved. The high pitched ringing in my ears stopped and the numbness in my left leg all disappeared .

Unfortunately my cholesterol is 245 and very high. But I will find a way to deal with that without the use of Lipitor

Don't give up on your health and always believe in yourself.

When I was 63, Simvas 5 was prescribed for elevated LDL. I do take Olmezest 20 (Olemsorton and Medoxamil) to contain my oscillating BP - for 2 years as prescribed by my physician along with Aspirin. In the first year has had thickening of mucous and sinusitis I suffered. I then stopped Aspirin. After an year and half I started developing low glucose: going hypoglycemic often.

For a couple of months now I started taking olive oil, reduced fat in milk. My cholesterol level and ratio has come down to normal levels, that did not heed that well with Simvas. At this time (1 year after discovering the hypoglycema) the GTT was 92 empty stomach, 213, 1 hr post-brandial, 203, 2 hrs post-brandial. I never had this earlier. My muscle and joint pains flare up now and then. Did the drug pushed me towards diabetic edge?

I plan to withdraw Simvas-5, but to contain the Cholesterol with food oil change to Olive oil and fat free milk. Anybody has any suggestion?

My father is 92 years old, and was put on Zocor last November after seeing the doctor for a racing heart, something he had never experienced before or since. The doctor checked his cholesterol, found it was elevated a bit, and prescribed the Zocor. The only other drug he takes is half a blood pressure tablet per day--don't know which one. He has been experiencing diarrhea for several months, and now his feet are swelling.

He is very active, and in excellent health for his age. I am questioning the wisdom of giving him Zocor, considering the myriad of possible side effects, and would like to advise him to stop taking it. He will mention these symptoms to the doctor, but I'm NOT confident that he will attribute them to the Zocor.

hello I stopped eating sugar, flour (bread, pasta, baked goods), rice. All my readings dropped to very good. It's a little hard but it works for me.

I am a 46 yr old male. I was prescribed statins (Zocor) 20mg. for high cholesterol. Actually, the values were not so high LDL 117, HDL 39, Total 182. I am a type 1 diabetic for 30+ years, well controlled.

I started (reluctantly) for 11 days. By the 3rd I was having cramps and restless leg syndrome. My neck was so stiff I could not move. My memory started to fade that I would forget simple things in the middle of a conversation. By the 8th day my right eye started to get very blurry and was having headaches in the right side of my head. Dizzy and felt like my head was a balloon. No energy and had several panic attacks.

Frustrating to say the least. By the 11th day I ended up in the ER for what I thought was a stroke. My right side was not working right.

They determined it was the statins. I stopped ASAP! Now, days later, I'm having cramps, nerve pains all over my body, tired, headaches, dizzy and bloated. Lots of gas as well. I have never felt like this in my life!

I need to know if this will be a permanent thing. Will it disrupt my heart and liver? I understand drug companies paid out 500 million in 2011 to doctors and hospitals who prescribe this nonsense. Enough!

This is just a short comment to say that I have been on Simvastatin for about 6 months now and when I recently had my bloods checked it was discovered that my blood sugar (glucose) level was raised. It was showing that I was a borderline case. Since no one in my family ever suffered from this I was very surprised and taken back.

I have been given a month to see if my sugar level drops any in that time I immediately thought of that particular tablet may be the cause so I looked up the internet to see if there were any reviews on it or any news of it on the internet and that is how I came on this website.

I am very glad I did as i will be having a discussion with my doctor on this point. I had been on crestor originally and had no complaints on it but one day I was visiting the Doctor he said I am going to change you on to Simvastatin now and I said I have no complaints about crestor. He said it was giving bad reports. I definitely don't want to become a diabetic.

My former doctors at the VA in Iowa put me on 20 mg, then 40 mg, and then 80 mg of simvastatin. The lowest my cholesterol ever got while taking the darn stuff was 197. I suffered from weird memory lapses, plus increased levels of anger and hostility.

My "carpal tunnel" kept getting worse even though I was doing less and less, so I kept taking more aspirin, which is probably why I didn't realize until nearly a year AFTER I stopped taking the simvastatin that I had probably been suffering from a significant amount of statin-induced muscle pain (I finally noticed how much LESS aspirin I was now taking and that the "carpal tunnel" symptoms had gotten significantly better).

While on the simvastatin, my fasting blood sugar also increased from 94 up to 109 (and is now back down since I no longer take the stuff). I also suffered from statin-induced depression (probably aggravated from having recently also been taking atenolol -- until I stopped taking that due to weird side effects in my hands).

I have since found references to the possibility of undiagnosed thyroid issues possibly interfering with statin use, but can't get the VA to do a COMPLETE thyroid panel (the screening test is "normal").

I lost 15-20 pounds that first year after I stopped taking the statins, so my blood pressure has come down significantly on its own. I don't worry about the cholesterol any longer because I would rather have my brain functioning normally than have lower cholesterol levels.

For those who are interested, when the statins interfere with the production of cholesterol, they also interfere with the production of serotonin, Vitamin D, testerone, Co-Q10, cortisol, and the dolichols, among other compounds. No wonder there are so many side effects to the statins. While on simvastatin, my own Vitamin D levels dropped to only 17.

I no longer trust the VA to be objective with their prescriptions since they get a lot of funding to do research on simvastatin and also have a past history of having done less than ethical research on veterans. Many of the doctors at the VA are not even familiar with the side effects listed for simvastatin on the Mayo Clinic's website, and will insist that something is not a side effect when it really is a known side effect.

Additional comments that I forgot to include with the earlier one. When muscles break down due to a bad reaction to a statin, the byproducts can cause kidney damage.

Also, be especially careful of a blood pressure medication called lisinopril, which can cause acute pancreatitis and be fatal. I nearly lost a friend of mine to this lisinopril-related problem last year. Once she got off the lisinopril, she started feeling much better, got her appetite back, and regained some of the 20+ pounds that she lost when she nearly died from the acute pancreatitis. She had previously stopped taking it due to bad side effects, but her doctor had pushed her back onto it and had doubled her dosage.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Pancreatitis is a very rare adverse reaction. We do want to point out that the vast majority of people do tolerate lisinopril well without any complications. Those that experience a cough, however, need a different drug to control their hypertension. And angioedema of the mouth or throat (or abdominal cavity) can be life threatening.

I live in the northwest of England, I am stating this because it may have some bearing on the treatment I am receiving.

I have type 2 diabetes. A couple of months ago I was found to have high cholesterol, so my doctor put me on 40mgs of Simvastin. After taking them for a few weeks I started getting pains in my arms so I stopped taking the medication. It is now 2 months down the line and the pain in my left arm has continued and worsened.

My doctor sent me for an Xray to rule out any bone problems- the Xray came back clear, however he has yet to send me for a scan of the soft tissue of my arm. Why is this?

He has referred me for physiotherapy, stating that they will decide if I need a soft tissue scan- the physio will not be until November at the earliest. Why can't he send me for a scan, is it an expensive procedure, is he trying to score brownie points with those who determine NHS funding???
Meanwhile the condition of my arm is deteriorating.

My doctor had me on 20mg Simvastatin once a day. I am a type 1 diabetic. Anyway, I was tired all the time, had achey, painful muscles and nearly constant headaches. I decided to stop taking the med, and I noticed almost immediately (like, within a day or so), my body aches and pains had stopped. I have crazy amounts of energy, my headaches stopped and the best news of all....my up and down blood sugars have been almost completely level. No more extreme highs and lows. I am all the way down to about 3 units of Novolog per DAY. And yes, i am a type ONE! So many things have improved about the way I feel and my level of glucose control is positively astonishing.

I am 53 and not overweight - had bad headaches at the beginning of the year and had very high blood pressure - been put on 25mg of Losartan for rest of my life - on checking my cholesterol it was very high 9 - doctor put me on 40mg Simvastatin. Been back and forth to hospital for the usual blood tests for your Lipids and been told I have fatty liver disease after ultrasound scan - I drink very little alcohol, eat my 5 a day and don't eat meat!!!!

Since being on these statins I get sharp headaches in the right side of my head and pains in my hands - struggle to lift things and open jars. Someone told me that Simvastatin is a cheap alternative and is known for bad side effects - anybody recommend a better stain that will go with Losartan and not have side effects - it's making my life hell !!!!!!!

Well my dearly beloved is like the other lady's above who will take anything his Dr gives him and not complain! Sure he's a great patient that way but I'm the one who has to live with all his side effects like flatulence (OH MY) and his leg pain where he can't even walk an hour for exercise. WHY would a doctor prescribe this medicine which can cause diabetes to a diabetic and then BLAME him for not being able to control his sugar!? Due to the increase in our old insurance, he had to switch to this DR with Kaiser who changed all his meds to "generics" and after a year, plus starting the statin last Dec, he now is off on disability as his blood sugar and pressure were "uncontrolled", plus dizziness, irritability and confusion, and he's lost his job plus now our premium is even higher on COBRA!

I've asked this Dr repeatedly to take him off the medication but he keeps scaring us by imitating how he would be if he had a stroke or heart attack and how hard it would be on me -Tho he says his heart is fine?? Talk about added stress!

I have had type 2 diabetes for 12 months now I am on sinvastatins and metformin, just recently I am suffering from joint stiffness in my hands, I also have pain in my feet and knees, at the moment I can't seem to get motivated to do any exercise what so ever, I feel very lethargic and always tired can anyone help me and tell me whats happening? Thanks. Karl..

I am a 45 yr old who was prescribed 20mg pravastatin. My first blood test results. My blood sugar was high but my cholesterol was high. Also feeling tired all the time. I have changed my lifestyle. No cholesterol foods and excersize. It's a decision you can make to live healthy without drugs.

My total cholesterol was 200 and my doc put me on 10 mg of simvastatin. Within a few days I noticed that I was having large emotional swings and getting very sleepy at work to the point I was hiding to nap in the afternoon. So I started checking my blood glucose 1 hour after my snacks and meals. Prior to statin, they were 100 - 160 if I didn't overeat or have sweets (this was over the last 6 months).

In the last 4 days they have been no lower than 160 and the highest levels I've ever had at 260. My sugars were never over 210 before. This is one hour after a half turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread! The last couple days I've gone on only meat and vegetables and where normally my sugars would stay below 140, they are now still above 200 and my kidneys hurt. I have been taking metformin for years and my A1C have always been in the mid 5s.

Has anyone else had this reaction?

Statins give me palpitations after several weeks and serve as a diuretic to me. When I stop the statins these symptoms go away. Does anyone else get these while on Statins? I have tried almost all the statins.

Also, are over the counter Sterols/stanols any good at reducing cholesterol?

My doc put me on a 10mg of Simvastin to see how I would do. I'm genetically predisposed to very high cholesterol and I'm pre diabetic but I've kept my blood sugar completely under control with diet and exercise. Since being on Simvastin, my blood sugar has risen dramatically and my shoulders and arms feel weak. I can't change the sheets on a bed without having to stop to rest my arms! I'm 45 and a full time student and this semester I've struggled with school more than ever and I think it's the Simvastin. We tried Niacin and it had no effect on my cholesterol numbers. I can't keep taking the Simvastin...

I have been on Zocor 80mg since 2009 since they found a blockage in a vein on my heart to lower my cholesterol. It has lowered it to well within the level (129), but like others my HDL is very low--29. My A1C has been getting higher and higher. I have been having to monitor my blood sugars daily. They are getting higher every month. I am going for labs this week to find out my levels on everything again.

My blood sugars used to run from 80-105 but lately they have been around 145 when I check in the morning when I get up before having anything to eat or drink. I get the tingling in my hands and fingers and the tired legs and back. I do have arthritis but this is totally different. I have also starting getting migraines and have developed cataracts and damage to the back of my eyes from the increase in blood sugars. I work on computers all day for my job and it is getting to the point that I have to have Tri-Focals and get my eyes check about every 8 months because my eyes are getting worse. HELP. For a miracle drug, this really sucks. I'm only 53 and feel about 70.

I was on Simvastatin for 3 years and stopped taking it on my own I have never had a heart attack but have had high cholesterol I was just diagnosed with Diabetes last week

I've been taking 10 mg Simvastatin at bedtime(started on Zocor until generic) for about 15 years. Across that time, my morning fasting blood sugar runs in the 105 to 115 range ...... very close to "pre-diabetic". I can control it by being VERY careful about what I eat for evening meal, and after 8 pm, focusing on low carb intake. On times when I have a high protein, low carb evening meal, the following morning fasting blood sugar typically runs 95 to 105, so there is a clear relationship to carb intake as well.

Strangely, with breakfast eaten about 6:30 am, and no snacking, etc., until lunch time (11:30 to 12:30, pre-lunch blood sugar runs 85 to 95 (pretty normal). Given this daytime "pre-meal" serum glucose, my doctor is not overly concerned, and I have continued with the simvastatin regimen.

I am a 70 year old male in good to excellent shape - a former marathoner (a dozen or so), I am still doing some distance running, (although gave up marathoning in my 50's) and probably log 25 to 30 miles in a typical week of easy jogging or fast walking. With the Simvastatin, my Total Cholesterol runs around 160 to 165, Triglycerides 65 or so, HDL 60 to 70, and calculated LDL 75 to 85.

Prior to Simvastatin (Zocor), my total cholesterol was in the 225 to 245 range, even with the vigorous exercise and good weight control (6 feet tall, and weight 150, on average). So, I'm convinced that the statin is of significant value to me, but sure would like to see that morning resting blood sugar lower - if anything, it has trended up over past several years unless I am really careful with both simple and complex carb intake in the evening.

I had been taking Simvastatin since 2009, along with Ramipril for high blood pressure, although my pressure is not high; Carevedlol, a beta blocker for my heart and in 2011 I suffered a stroke. I was 47yrs and a female, when I had my stroke the drs discovered I had diabetes type 2. Yes I admit I was overweight didn't control my diet you gonna die of something one day. Since my stroke, I have lost over 55 lbs, only now I take Lipitor, Ramipril, Warfarin and insulin. If I was taking heart medication/cholesterol meds before my stroke, why did I have one? Could it have been from the drugs I was already taking? What gives?

My name is Diana and I was on Zocor, I suffered Severe Body Pain from 2009 till March 2012 when I decided to get my self off my Cholesterol Pain, I would tell my Doctor about the Pain and he would send me to see another Doctor, one for a Brain Scan and another for Pain Management, I actually had to get a Cane to Walk with.

I thought it was my Arthritis acting up but I was wrong. it was the Cholesterol Pill Killing Me, the Pain I suffer I wouldn't want anyone to go through that! Comment if you need to talk or want to know more of my Pain. I read something about Lou Gehrigs Disease I am so worried about this, will I be getting this Problem? Can you answer this question, sincerely, Diana L.

Peoples Pharmacy response: Lou Gehrig's disease is rare. We can't make any predictions about an individual, but it is unlikely that you will be diagnosed with ALS. We are so sorry to hear about your serious difficulties with simvastatin.

Suddenly I have diabetes. I have been taking simvistatin for many, many years. I had leg cramps at night that were diabolical. Three weeks ago my physician suggested I do without the simvistatin. Leg cramps disappeared. No diabetes in my family, no previous warning, then high blood sugar for three months. Now I have diabetes.


I was a healthy 44 year old man, but elevated cholesterol (6.4), started statins and within weeks suffered peripheral neuropathy (pins and needles in hands and feet and numbness at night time). Doctors told me for months to see a physio and it couldn't be the statins. Finally seen a neurologist and confirmed nerve damage (my neuro told me he would rather be hit by a bus than take statins!). 1 year later still trying to reverse the symptoms. These drugs are bad news for some people and doctors don't seem to be able to recognise the warning signs as I should have been taken off them in 2-3 weeks not months.

My husband has been on Statins for 8-10 years due to family history of high cholesterol. Since beginning the statins he has gained about 40 lbs. I thought maybe it was just normal aging and his love of food.

He has no energy, almost no libido. He is usually in a bad mood. He used to run, hike, bike, ski etc. I recently read the blogs about the "rapid aging" side effect of statins. It makes sense to me. He is only 54.

I have begged him to go off the statins and see if he feels better. The weight gain and lethargy seem counter-productive. Taking the pill everyday seems to give him permission to make terrible food choices. He craves sugar. I wonder about his blood glucose level but he won't get tested. I just want my active hubby back.

I started taking Simvastin 80 mg in 2009 and in 2011 I had a stroke and diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I was also on a beta blocker and high blood pressure med. Did the Simvastin cause my stroke and cause me to get diabetes? In the past year I was switched to Liptor of 40 mgs, and now down to 20 mgs. I suffer with leg cramps. I have excellent diabetes care according to my doctor. My last two HbA1c was 5.8.

My doctor knows I am not a pharma fan so he suggested Amla (Indian Gooseberry).

Here are some links that might be of interest:

http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2012/03/05/simvastatin-side-effects-diabetes/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3326920/

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/amla-versus-diabetes/

Take this in to your physician and ask, this may be a natural alternative that does not carry the type nasty side effects and damage to you and does have a study on it.

had genetic heart valve problem. had valve replaced. doctor put me on simvasatin 40mg. in two and a half years my glucose level went from 100 to 150. have had two cardio caths in six years and they are clear. I had no heart attacks. my doctor refused to take me off satin. after last blood test my levels other than glucose have been extremely low. cholesterol 123 and hdl 21. I have had some of other side effects an have demanded to stop satin for 6 months till next blood test with reluctance from doctor. I feel that I was put on this because I was in cardiac icu and this is protocol. I have been also told by a cardiac nutritionist to get off due to my cholesterol/hdl ratio being high and the satin could cause unwanted problems.

I am a 65 yr old female diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 3 years ago. Two weeks ago my Dr. prescribed Simvastatin 20 mg. once a day. The next day my blood sugar was elevated while taking my normal meds. Two days later it was over 200. I watched my diet more closely and increased my metformin. My blood sugar continued to remain elevated. I have nueropathy, but for the last few nights the pain has kept me awake. I started to look at what changes I might have made in my diet lately. Nothing. Then I remembered the new medication. Simvastatin. I looked online and this is the first article I read. It is scarey to think that something that should help can also be so detrimental.


I am totally convinced Lipitor is the cause of me being borderline diabetic, as no one in my family ever had it. I have been on Lipitor for 10-15 years, and diagnosed as borderline for at least 10. However, I am on NO medication and control it by diet and exercise. My weight is normal, 129, so that is not the cause. For that matter, even tho my husband's mother was diabetic, he was on Zocor, and was no doubt diagnosed diabetic because of that.

It's a shame that I, as well as others, have been diagnosed because of a miserable statin. What is this prescription helping? Something should be done!

When I was put on Zocor, I noticed a lot of leg cramps. Close to a year later, I was told I was diabetic. Do you think taking this medication could have triggered type 2 diabetes?

I am on 220 units of insulin a day was told I was eating to much and I was fat 17 stone. Put back on liptor and metformin and my glucose levels have now doubled!

Leave a comment

Share your comments or questions with the People's Pharmacy online community. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from other visitors to this web site should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical attention. Concerns about medications should be discussed with a health professional. Do not stop any medication without first checking with your physician.

Check this box to be notified by email when follow-up comments are posted.