A female doctor talking with an older male patient

When the very first statin-type cholesterol-lowering drug was approved by the FDA in July, 1987 there was great excitement. Lovastatin (Mevacor) was perceived as a magic bullet for lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart attacks. Within a short time Mevacor became the most prescribed anticholesterol drug in the country. Doctors perceived it as highly effective and well tolerated with few serious side effects.
Despite initial enthusiasm there were a few concerns. Doctors were told by the manufacturer that Mevacor might raise liver enzymes and increase the risk for cataracts. The official prescribing information noted that dogs treated with Mevacor developed cataracts and “There was a high prevalence of baseline lenticular opacities in the patient population included in the early clinical trials with lovastatin.” In other words, there was acknowledgment that clouding of the lens suggestive of cataracts occurred during the early human tests of statins.
As a result of these discoveries, liver function tests were supposed to be performed before treatment started and then every month of two thereafter for at least a year. Eye exams were recommended early in treatment and annually thereafter.
The incredible success of Mevacor led to the development of many other statin-type drugs including:
• Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
• Fluvastatin (Lescol)
• Lovastatin extended-release (Altoprev)
• Lovastatin + Niacin (Advicor)
• Pitavastatin (Livalo)
• Pravastatin (Pravachol)
• Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
• Simvastatin (Zocor)
• Simvastatin + Niacin (Simcor)
• Simvastatin + Ezetimibe (Vytorin)

Over the course of 25 years statins have become the most successful drugs in the history of the pharmaceutical industry. Tens of millions of Americans were put on drugs like Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor. Physicians became convinced that these medications were essential for good health and carried very little risk. There were few reports of liver problems, so regular testing dropped by the wayside, as did the fear that the drugs could cause cataracts. We suspect that relatively few patients were warned that they needed to get eye exams regularly and be on guard against cataracts.
We first got wind of the emerging cataract problem in an epidemiological study published in the journal BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) on May 20, 2010. Over 225,000 new statin users from England and Wales were tracked for several years. The investigators noted an increased risk for muscle pain, moderate to serious liver problems and cataracts:

“The time varying analyses showed the risk [of cataracts] was significantly increased within a year of starting statins, persisted during treatment, and returned to normal within the first year after stopping treatment.”

Although we thought this was a pretty dramatic discovery, it didn’t get much media or medical attention. But now a new study has confirmed that cataracts are associated with statin use (Optometry and Vision Science, Aug. 2012). Canadian researchers studied over 6,000 patients who visited an optometry clinic. Diabetic patients who took statins were at significantly greater risk for developing cataracts than those who did not take statins. The investigators point out that the lens of the eye requires cholesterol for proper cell development and lens transparency.
Patients with diabetes are frequently prescribed statins to prevent cardiovascular complications of their disease such as heart attacks and strokes. But here is another boomerang: statins themselves may substantially increase the risk for diabetes.
A new study in The Lancet (Aug. 11, 2012) confirms what many people were already beginning to suspect. Those with prediabetes are at especially high risk for developing full-blown diabetes if they are prescribed statins. The investigators were quick to point out that the cardiovascular benefits of statins outweigh the hazards of diabetes. That may be, but when a drug causes a condition (like diabetes) that can have such devastating health consequences, we have to ask whether the ends justify the means.
Visitors to this website have been reporting problems with statins since long before the researchers turned up proof. Here are just a few comments.

“Within about a month of starting Crestor at 5 mg, I had calf pain on a consistent basis. And in the same time frame, 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.”

“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!”

“I have been prescribed Flonase but never have used it much, which is good, given this possible problem with cataracts. However, I have been using Lipitor for about 10 years now. About 2 years ago I was told that I have a cataract starting in my left eye; however, I am 64 and I imagine that cataracts starting at my age are not uncommon.”

And that pretty much sums up the statin dilemma. People who are diagnosed with cataracts or diabetes in their fifties or sixties are frequently told that they “are just getting older.” With age comes chronic health problems like muscle aches and pain, diabetes and cataracts. What people may not be told is that atorvastatin or simvastatin (or any other statin) might be contributing to those aches and pains, elevated blood sugars or cataracts.
We recognize that many people benefit from statins, especially those who have had a heart attack or a stent placed in a coronary artery. But the benefits of statins for what is called primary prevention are now highly controversial. When a medicine that is supposed to prevent chronic health problems down the road actually contributes to them, we get concerned.
We welcome your comments below. Share your story about statins. We want to hear the pros as well as the cons. Should you wish to learn more about natural ways to control cholesterol and lower heart attack risks, we have a comprehensive chapter on this topic in our book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy.

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  1. Mike
    Burlington On Canada

    I have been taking Lipitor for 15 years. I cannot walk properly. I have been speaking to friends on statins they all complain of unexplained muscle pain and soreness.
    I’d like to heard from others. I am 64 and my quality of life is a mess.

    Some days the pain is so bad I need a walker other days I can walk with a cane. I am good for about 100 feet either way and anti-inflammatories seem to help a bit.
    I have hip pain when I sleep on my right side.
    Doctors are at a loss to explain why I cannot walk without excruciating pain and have muscle weakness. I have had X-Rays, multiple MRIs. blood tests, an EMG and a lumber puncher. I suspect Lipitor is the cause.

  2. Mark
    Boston, MA

    I started having severe nosebleeds 3 days ago for the first time in my life. After doing an Internet search, I discovered its a side effect of statins. My doctor, nor the one in the ER mentioned it. My father had nosebleeds for years and was on a statin. My mother has hair loss and cataracts, possibly from statins. My father suffered and last year died from interstitial lung disease, all the while his doctors kept him on a statin. I am very angry having read all this today and the complete ignorance of doctors. I have also been suffering from elevated A1c, lactic acidosis, peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, and memory problems in the 6 months since taking Lipitor. I’m stopping. For years my resting heart rate has been 100 with no explanation. Now I wonder if it was from taking a statin for a year about 10 years ago. I’m 55.

    • Sharon

      I am an RN, now retired. Most of my career I worked in coronary care units, so when lab tests revealed, at age 50, high cholesterol and lousy ratios (high LDL, low HDL), I readily agreed to start statins. Several months later, I noticed my right hip would ache when I was walking my dog. I mentioned this to my doctor and I was switched to a different statin. Unfortunately, that made the aching worse, so I was switched to yet another statin, with the same result. I finally discontinued the statins on my own and my aching hip gradually disappeared within 2 months.

      Fast forward to my mid 50’s…I began going to a new physician who enthusiastically embraced the newest standards regarding elevated cholesterol. Because I had a prior history of muscle pain with older statins, my doctor recommended Pravastatin (brand name Pravachol). He assured me I would not experience muscle pain because this statin was metabolized differently from the older drugs. Several months later, I complained that my right hip ache had returned and escalated into pain. I was told to stop the drug for several weeks and report changes in my level of pain. As I had experienced before, my hip pain abated.

      My doctor agreed to let me try controlling my cholesterol with a low fat diet and exercise. I had uneven results… my cholesterol level was 200, six months later, it was 268. My doctor tried to persuade me to restart statins, but I resisted the idea.

      I was 57 when my doctor began insisting that I restart the statin therapy. I finally agreed to start on 5mg of Crestor and was assured that the low dose would protect me from having joint pain. Several months later…you guessed it… I developed shin and calf pain, in addition to my aching hip when I was walking. Again I stopped the drug. 9 months later, at my annual physical, I described my new shin splints to my doctor and confessed that I has stopped the drug without first consulting him. He became very angry with me and abruptly left the exam room to cool down! When he returned, he handed me a prescription for Crestor and told me I MUST take it. When I protested, citing my lower leg cramps, he said that was not a type of muscle pain related to Crestor and reiterated his instructions to begin therapy… and not stop.

      Several months passed and my shin splints became unbearable. I developed plantar faciitis in my right foot. I had orthotics made by a podiatrist and wore them faithfully, in addition to daily anti-inflammatories, ice and stretching exercises. Nothing helped, so I opted to have steroid/lidocaine injections in my right heel. Slowly, the plantar faciitis resolved, but the shin splints remained. I began to gain weight, which was very unusual for me. My hip pain returned, but I was afraid to say anything to my doctor. I honestly felt the 30 lb weight gain was the cause. I was constantly fatigued, I became depressed, developed joint pain in my shoulders and elbows and had difficulty walking. I was always short of breath and mentally foggy. I attributed all these symptoms to “getting old”. I actually considered purchasing a walker.

      5 years ago, I developed a nasty case of tochanteric bursitis and limited range of motion in my right hip. After conservative treatment and physical therapy failed to relieve my pain, I had the tendon injected with steroid/lidocaine by an orthopedic surgeon. Six weeks later, the bursitis was still present, so I returned for another injection. Fortunately, my daughter accompanied me to that appointment. She insisted I tell the doctor about my joint and muscle pain and the gradual decline of my health. He immediately checked my chart and said… “Oh no… You’re on a statin! Stop it immediately and see your doctor asap-today if possible…your symptoms are totally due to your statin!” I actually started to cry… I wasn’t crazy or just getting old… I had been right all along…it was the statins!

      My doctor was out of town and I was examined by another doctor in the practice. My liver enzymes and CPK were all elevated. I was told never to take statins again. I was lucky I hadn’t sustained permanent damage to my heart muscle! This doctor suggested I try a plant based diet as an alternative to control my cholesterol. 6 months later, I had returned to my normal weight and my muscle/joint pains had mostly disappeared… except in my right hip… I also couldn’t raise my right leg beyond 60 degrees… It felt as though it was catching on something inside the joint. X-rays showed I had no cartilage left in my right hip ‘socket’ and on the head of my femur! X-rays of my left hip showed normal cartilage distribution. In fact, the radiologist commented that I had the left hip of a much younger person! My depression and mental fogginess evaporated.

      I did my homework and found a surgeon who performed an anterior muscle-sparing hip replacement 2 & 1/2 years ago. 6 weeks after surgery, I resumed a healthy active lifestyle. I’ve adopted a pescatarian diet… vegan with the addition of seafood. My recent cholesterol was 182…my LDL is low, my HDL high! To this day, not one medical professional can explain the atypical damage to my right hip. I firmly believe it was a direct result of the statins, however, I can’t prove it since I never had hip x-rays to document the condition of the hip until the irreparable damage had been done.

      I tell anyone who is on a statin and complains of muscle pain my story and urge them to talk to their doctor about alternative treatments to lower their cholesterol levels.

      I find it alarming that the American Heart Association, the AMA and big Pharma appear to be cozy bedfellows. Hopefully, 25 years from now, medical schools will be teaching their students that statins are to be avoided in most cases!

      By the way, after my hip replacement, I switched to a physician in a Wellness Institute who practices alternative medicine. I’ve never felt so good in my entire life!

  3. mary

    I am 70 been on atleast 5 different statins for 25 yrs. I stopped 3 different times because of joint & muscle pain. Wish the government would take control and do the studies needed to protect and inform us without any special interest groups benefiting from results!!! Every problem that I deal with is always due to my age and arthritis. That covers the time from 45 years till present. My heart dr. will not even admit I have been overmedicated probably for years for bp. Told him my home readings n have been low. They were not in his office (white coat) finally took me off water pill and cut my bp in half. Bp stay in ok range, my sleep improve greatly. Bad sleep for lots of years. He didn’t see or acknowledge any connection.

    Looking on Internet found that can be a side effect of bp meds. The change in meds is the only change in my life, logic would make the connection even if you have no med background. ? My life in fact has been very stressful in recent times. I could go on& on with my concerns, but I agree with the one who said in 10 yrs. They will tell everyone oops! We made a mistake about statins, I WILL MOST LIKELY BE DEAD BY THAN, OH WELL

  4. Merryl

    I had an MI in September 2014, and had stents in my right coronary artery. I was put on Plavix, Aspirin, Micardis and Lipitor. The Lipitor was 40mg. Due to the Plavix 75mg and Aspirin 100mg, one weekend I suddenly had acute stomach pain due to bleeding, and with black tarry stools. I went off the Aspirin and drank warm water or milk with slippery elm powder and after two days the pain resolved and stools went back to normal.

    Following the weekend, I had blood tests, ultrasound, colonoscopy and gastroscopy which revealed an ulcerated stomach from the blood thinning and anti-coagulant medications. They also found that between the two blood tests I had had, one before the bleed and one after, that I had lost over a pint of blood and so needed a blood infusion. I also had aching legs at night from the Lipitor, so was swapped to Crestor, however these made my muscles ache throughout my whole body.

    I have now been taken off the statins to see if they are the cause of the pain. After several days I have no leg pain or muscle pain! Because I went off the Aspirin due to the bleed, my cardiologist has said he was going to take me off the Plavix but because I went off the Aspirin I will probably now be on that for life! I did ring his office after my stomach bleed and left a message with his receptionist to let him know I had gone off the Aspirin and about what had happened and she said that he would ring me back. He never rang me!

    My cholesterol level has now gone up to 5.8, it has never been this high in my life. Do statins have a rebound effect after going off them? My HDL cholesterol was good and my triglycerides were good also, just my overall cholesterol was higher than he wants it to be at 5.8. He then told me to take Pravachol 40mg, I asked if I could go on a lower dose to start with as all the medications so far seem to affect me, so he said to try 20mg. I really want to go off the Plavix and to try and keep my cholesterol low through just diet. Has anyone else been able to go off Plavix and if so how did they withdraw from that? Were they on Aspirin at the same time to cover the withdrawal effects of the Plavix? Is anyone else trying anything else instead of statins for lowering their cholesterol ? There seem to be so many side effects from the statins there has to be another way.

  5. Stephen
    United States

    Wow, what a rough ride it’s been. I’m 51 years old and had my annual physical about 2 months ago. I’ve always been active, gregarious, and joyful, a kid at heart and in body until…. My doctor and I discussed it was time to start a statin regimen. I was about two and a half weeks in to my prescription when insomnia accompanied by anxiety and extreme sadness seemingly came out of nowhere. I’m not prone to crying or outburst of emotion but crap, I was a mess; I thought I was having a nervous breakdown or had a brain tumor. I’d sit in my truck and cry for no reason or have to leave my office.

    My doctor thought I may be having anxiety issues and he prescribed me Chlorazepam. I filled the prescription and then got cold feet worrying about going down the path of Benzodiazepines with my addictive personality. Anyways, I requested a familiar drug from when I was to coping with my wifes cancer; specifically, Mirtazepine which has an off label use for insomnia. Things got worse, much worse. At night I would take both meds and throw up for no reason, I had jitters, tingling, a weird pain in my Achilles tendon, constipation, tired, headaches, leg cramps, and a general feeling of being pissed off, yeah, I must have a brain tumor. Things got so bad I just stopped taking the statin because, well frankly, I didn’t give a crap if I lived or died.

    I was really feeling terrible and worrying about my cholesterol wasn’t a priority anymore, Just surviving without my children seeing me such a mess was priority number one. Anyways, after a few days of not taking the statin I started to rebound and was able to focus again. I did some research on the side effects of Mirtazapine and then Prevastatin and wow, I had no idea of the side effects of statins other than joint pain. Long story short, It’s been two weeks since stopping the statin and I’m sleeping with no anxiety and getting through the day without ultra sadness. The depression is lingering but I have hope it will go away.

    I feel so bad for people that never connect the dots and continue with their statin in the face of such side effects. How many marriages have been compromised, how many people have done the unthinkable? Why isn’t this recognized as a massive problem in the medical community? I’m worried about my cholesterol and will take aggressive steps in my diet and exercise and try the supplements Niacin, and Omega 3’s.

    I’m considering statins again but with eyes wide open and with help from a physician or psychiatrist that understands the serum, serotonin, and brain cholesterol equation. I just hope I haven’t provoked a latent depression that sticks around much longer. Be well and if any of this sounds familiar you can beat it.

    • nana

      I can relate totally!! I went of the statins about 6 weeks ago. My leg cramps and burning sensations that I had in my back, thighs and calves are GONE. I am still having sadness bouts and I wonder if they will ever go away. As a result of feeling better, I now can get up and move around and get some exercise. I am sleeping better also. And the brain ‘fog’ I was having is GONE. I would rather live on Romaine Lettuce than take another statin!

  6. James

    I started simvastatin (Zocor) a few months ago (10mg) and about a month ago bumped up to 20 mg, which is still a lower dose.

    I’ve been having intermittent tachycardia and now it’s chronic. Talking excitedly sends my heart rate over 115-130 and start to hyperventilate.

    Have had Holter monitor test showing tachycardia and going in for more testing. I wonder if statin could be culprit? I had some mild arrhythmia a few years ago in response to a different drug, and when I stopped it, it went away.

    I’m 36, overweight and generally sedentary with very high cholesterol and triglycerides which I’m sure doesn’t help, just wondering if it’s “general poor health” or specifically triggered/exacerbated by the statin.

    • joshj

      Did you find out anything or get any treatment, I’ve been having the same symptoms.

  7. David

    Further to my posting of last month re pulmonary fibrosis (I’m a little surprised I received no comments from anyone), I today saw a solicitor about a possible medical negligence claim and he is going to research the disease and its relationship to Simvastatin. I had been on 80mg Simvastatin for over 5 years and not once was called in for a medication review. Even after my GP received a formal diagnosis from the specialist (about 6 months ago) and a recommendation that an urgent review of medication be undertaken, nothing was done. It was only when a friend of mine rang the GP’s surgery on my behalf about 3 weeks ago that any action was taken.

    The result of the doctor’s indifference and inactivity was that I carried on taking the massive dose of Simvastatin for some six months after the diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis – and it now seems clear that every day of that six months my lungs were being further irreparably damaged. If that’s not medical negligence then I don’t know what is.

    Pulmonary fibrosis is a horrible progressive disease for which there is no treatment and no cure. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is between two and five years … I’ve already had over six months of that time.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    David (UK)

  8. sonia
    west sussex

    My doctor has prescribed atorvastin (Lipitor) as she considers at the age of 68 I’m at high risk for stroke/heart attack although I haven’t been told I have a heart condition. I do take blood pressure tablets but I am relatively fit for my age. I’m reluctant to take this drug as the doctor also told me last week I’m border line for diabetes 2 at 6.1 which rather surprized me as my diet is very good.

  9. David

    (March 2015) I was on Simvastatin 80Mg for nearly 5 years until a few days ago. In September 2014 I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. It’s getting progressively worse and it looks like my life will be curtailed by some ten or fifteen years. Now that I have learned over the past week or so that statins can cause pulmonary fibrosis – a terminal disease for which there is no treatment or cure – I have of course stopped taking the drug, but it’s too late. I am doubtful if I could bring a successful claim against the health authority because PF can have other causes. It’s a dreadful situation to be in.

  10. Beryl R
    Suffolk uk

    I’ve been on statins for 15 years and 15 years of hell. I’m suffering lower back pain feet pain dry eyes blepharitis cataract diabetes hair loss dry scalp and hair dry skin disturbed sleep UTI. So where are the benefits of these drugs? Only to the multi billion pound drug Co s. I also have leukemia now.

  11. Scott W.
    Loganville, Georgia

    I was recently diagnosed with a large blood clot in the 3rd chamber of my heart. I had several strokes as a result and was shocked as I exercised daily was a regular swimmer with no history of blood pressure or cholesterol problems. I was prescribed two blood pressure, cholesterol limiting, and a blood thinner. The clot was gone quickly, but the drugs with side effects remain. These doctors run amok with drugs and I think they cause more harm than good. No wonder they are being sued and deservedly so. They are not professionals and lack basic judgement.

  12. jamil a.
    bronx ny

    I had a cholesterol problem, so my doctor had me start simvastatin 40mg for 6 month then again same. When I stop taking the medicine I started having some vision problems. I went to my primary doc, and he send me to an eye doctor. They detect my both eyes cataracts. Now 19 jan 2015 my first right eye will be operated on, then next one will have the operation 4 weeks later. It is a big problem with this medicine. I am very worried about this situation.

  13. Nancy

    I took Simvastatin for 7 months and had many side effects where I went to the doctor and they did not suggest I stop them. Granted, the doctor prescribed it when I was already taking a medication that states they should never be mixed. After a pharmacist told me I should not combine them I quit the other and continued the statin. I then had severe shoulder and hip pain, had gained 28 pounds in less then 3 months, pins and needles in my feet and hands and my fingers were locking. When I developed the trigger thumb I researched myself online and it brought me straight to a Zocor warning. How did the doctors miss my symptoms as side effects to the statin and also miss the drug interaction for months?? I thought I would get better after stopping Simvastatin but have now been diagnosed with carpal tunnel, plantar fasciatis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I can no longer drive to work due to the pain. I am screwed because of this drug and no doctor will say it was from the statin. I was fine before taking it. How can they get away with this? If doctors reported this then maybe it would save some people from what I am going through. They think the drug is safe but that is because of all the denial. I am mad as HE** this did not need to happen to me.

  14. G Hutch

    My eyesight has deteriorated, seeing double since going onto atorvastatin.
    Lots of flu-like symptoms, sore muscles and joints, so much so l wake frequently and have to walk and exercise the muscles and joints to get relief or l cant sleep. I also often feel very nauseas.
    I was put on them over a year ago and have never had any tests to see if they are causing any harm despite telling my doctor.

  15. G Hutch

    My eyesight has deteriated, seeing double since going onto atorvastatin.
    Lots of flu like symptoms, sore muscles and joints, so much so l wake frequently and have to walk and exercise the muscles and joints to get relief or I can’t sleep.
    I also often feel very nauseous.
    I was put on them over a year ago and have never had any tests to see if they are causing any harm despite telling my doctor.

  16. Simone P.

    So, in April 2012 I had a stent put in my Right Coronary Artery and was put on Lipitor. High Cholesterol runs in my family even though I have a very healthy diet. Initially I was put on Lipitor, then Zocor, then Crestor… I was able to tolerate Crestor because the other meds gave me severe leg cramps.
    After 6 months on Crestor I started having the same problems I had with the other statins but my cardiologist insisted I be on this statin because I had a minor cardiac event in April 2012. After a 2 years on Crestor I started having bilateral foot tingling, numbness and temperature changes in both feet from hot to cold and cold to hot and tingling on the Right side of my back. I immediately stopped taking Crestor. I was referred to a neurologist and they ran every lab under the sun and even did an MRI and everything came back normal so I am convinced the problem stemmed from statin use.
    I will never take another statin the rest of my life and have been referred for Acupuncture. Had I known these side effects, I would have never taken Crestor. You can’t live in fear about possible health issues; it is also about the quality of life and it is often difficult to make wise health decisions if you are not given accurate information about possible side effects.

  17. RS

    I have taken statins of various types for over 25 years. All produced muscle pain and stupidity! About 6 months ago I stopped. I have many years experience in emergency medicine and did my own research into this class of drugs. First, the reduction in cardiac events with statins when compared to aspirin are almost identical. While aspirin is known to produce bleeding disorders these complications are NOT common. Second, the majority of people that suffer a fatal cardiac arrest have NORMAL or BELOW NORMAL cholesterol levels.
    There have been no studies that have linked sudden cardiac death to anything but a weak association with cholesterol levels.(hence the now recommended lower importance in “numbers.”) Third, recent studies are coming together in agreement that it is PARTICLE SIZE and INFLAMMATION that are most positively connect to sudden death and first time non-lethal MIs. Statins are believed to “stabilize” the fatty deposits and the “lowering” of cholesterol is not the factor responsible for a reduction in cardiovascular events. Most MDs are not identifying the complications of statins but rather associate the patient’s complaints with other issues.
    In my case my physician said she would have thought my pain in my hips, knees and legs was do to arteritis or aging. After discussion she commented that practically every patient on statins complains about the side effects. Now that she has personally experienced the statin side effects, after being prescribed Crestor, her awareness to the problem has greatly increased. The cognitive impairment is the least identified but may yet prove to be the drug’s undoing. I predict that within 10 years statins will be completely removed from common practice and replaced with some form of anti-inflammatory agent. It’s a case of the treatment causing more distress than the illness. Use this class of drug with caution and discus other options with your health care provider.

    • Stephen

      You are correct, in my opinion this stuff isn’t worth it.

  18. j Williams

    My story begins with the drug Lipitor (40mg daily).
    Recently, an MRI scan confirmed dementia. I’m 60 years old with a brain…I’m told…the age of a 70 to 80 year old woman.

  19. anony mouse

    Said it before, and it bears repeating: my 93 year-old mom has been on Crestor for more years than I can count. She started with severe muscle pain, then had problems with her balance, then couldn’t walk without a walker, can now barely get around even with the walker, developed cataracts, and now is diabetic. I wouldn’t touch statins with a 20 foot pole, no matter how high my cholesterol is.

  20. J A S

    Started Lipotor was taking it for two or three months, when I noticed cramps in the calfs of my legs numbness in my feet and it seemed like my right hip was froze up and did not want to work at times, then I got to where I could hardly walk the pains were so bad in the bottoms of my feet, my doctor told me I’d die if I stopped taking the medicine. I stopped taking the Lipitor about a year ago and I’ve never felt better. I have had cataract surgery on both eyes and lens implants, I do not regret that I stopped taking it.

  21. GaryG

    I’m confident that a statin drug caused me to experience multiple spontaneous tendon tears.
    I’m 73 years old. Quite a few years ago my PCP prescribed a statin to control cholesterol. The cholesterol level decreased to within the normal range, but in 2008 I was diagnosed with three coronary artery blockages and had bypass surgery. I continued taking the statin.
    Two months ago I experienced acute pain in both shoulders without any related trauma. The right shoulder was very bad. An MRI revealed that the bicep tendon had a full width tear and two other tendons had partial tears. Since I’m fairly physically fit (other than the heart of course), the orthopedist ok’d rotator cuff surgery and I’m now undergoing PT. I’m progressing at a better than average rate, but it will be months before I have full use of the shoulder. I read that for some, recovery can take up to a year! All this because of a very widely prescribed and relatively benign drug. The phrase: “cure is worse than the cause” has new meaning for me.

  22. robert bob l.

    You should not take your risk taking medicine what you should do is take care of you self by changing your life style. What always they said is “prevention is better than cure”.

  23. Ben G

    I have been taking 20 mg daily of Ran-Simvastatin for 5 years now and have had no side effects. I have an annual checkup and will be talking to doctor about side effects. The positive side is I have had no cardiac problems to this point (turning 60 in a few months). Cardiac issues are hereditary with parents and siblings. I am enjoying life and not worrying about the next chronic pain that may appear. When it happens I deal with it.

  24. James E.

    I have been on statins, but quit in march 2011. the pain never stopped. My whole body is racked with pain. I guess I could say it is all the statin drug, but I also believe that the flouroquinolone antiobiotic is a big part of the problem.
    The real problem is that the F.D.A. and the drug companies are pouring drugs out every day with little or no testing. This problem is destroying thousands of people. Either they die or they are patients the rest of their lives with some very painful diseases inflicted by the drug companies. They are destroying and mutating the cells in our bodies.
    I was a stupid sheep like everyone else and believed a doctor would do no harm, but I assure you they will and do. I have reported to the V.A. in Memphis about what these drugs have done to me. They tell me they have been approved by the F.D.A.. I want to bust out laughing every time I hear this.
    The drug companies knew these drugs were killers when they first developed them, but they did not care if they destroyed thousands. More work for doctors and drug companies to develop drugs for all the problems they have created. I am 65 years old and 3 years ago, I started looking for the reason I was sick and hurt so bad. 30 something doctors later and I have not been told anything.
    Be your own judge about how bad you feel and try to remember how you use to feel. Go back to the natural way of living. Our food has been destroyed and our bodies have been destroyed by greedy and corrupt people. I will be waiting on the other side for them along with thousands of others whose lives have been made miserable. Make your own decisions, but make sure before you put a pill in your body, do you own research. good luck to all of you.

  25. cathy m

    anti statin were you diagnosed type 2 diabetic while you were taking statins??…I was, and I never had any diabetic symptoms….but I stopped taking statins over 2 years ago…and every blood test I’ve had since then…my blood sugar has been nowhere near diabetic…I’m sure it was the statins that caused the rise in blood sugar levels…

  26. Suemorgan

    Genetically high cholesterol (300), 53 year old female, no health problems, normal weight, exercise, eat extremely well and always have. Doctors prescribed 40 mg lipitor, felt fine but CPK test showed muscle damage so was told to immediately discontinue. Year or two later another doctor insisted I go on 80mg of Simvastatin.
    Within two weeks developed serious peripheral neuropathy and within 3 weeks stopped sleeping and started having electrical seizures in my head and up my spine. After a couple of weeks of literally no sleep, I was feeling very crazy and very sick. Couldn’t stop crying and while normally a very gregarious extrovert, could not stand to be around people or stimulation of any kind. Which made work very difficult.
    To make a long story short, a return visit to the doctor resulted in an appointment with a neurologist to consider MS or some other neuro disease. I suggested I quit the statin to try and isolate what was wrong and the doctor agreed. After extensive testing for all kinds of things, I was told my symptoms were from menopause and prescribed an antidepressant. Grrrrrr.
    It is now 6 years later, I still have intermittent peripheral neuropathy but fortunately the rest of the symptoms subsided pretty quickly after discontinuing the drug.
    It made me angry that the medical profession and the drug caused the problem, but I was told I was just menopausal. I was way too sick to be just menopausal.

  27. condoline

    In 2010 I made the mistake of stopping Simvastatin cold turkey after one year on it because I came upon the warning to physicians in Europe from the Pharmacological Working Group of the European Medicines Agency to the effect that if interstitial lung disease develops they should stop statins immediately.
    About three weeks after I quit the statin, I had statin rebound like no tomorrow! Not only did the peripheral neuropathy which developed during my year on Pravachol back in 1994-1995 and which had been very mild and unchanged for over a decade suddenly flare up and become a real problem, but I had ten nights of severe leg cramps, I developed a patch of bright red eczema on both legs, my pulmonary fibrosis which I now have x-ray proof developed when I was on Pravachol and which had been unchanged (no breathing problems) in my decade-plus being away from statins took my lungs down so far that I am now on supplemental oxygen 24/7, but – and here’s what would interest you – the day when all this first hit, May 18, 2010, was the day I suddenly experienced tachycardia and ten days of nightmarish arrhythmias, all for the first time in my 77 years.
    I had never had tachycardia before in my life. I was terrified. What followed was an ambulance ride to the hospital. I had two more attacks of tachy that same week – then one a few months later – then one December 25, 2010, and that was the end of the tachy.
    In between the tachy, every day for about ten days I had “attacks” of the weirdest heart rhythms imaginable over and over every day. These spaced themselves out and likewise disappeared. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before either.
    My local doctors had me on a heart monitor for a month and Mayo Clinic had me on 24-hour monitoring for a week. Plenty of record of my arrhythmias.
    The arrhythmias are long gone. Either they left because I went on mega doses of CoQ10 or whether they would have left anyhow. I only know that ubiquinone improves the cardiac endothelium.
    At first the Mayo cardiologist who put in my two cardiac stents insisted, over the phone when I made my first of several panic calls to him, that statins and arrhythmias have no connection to each other. He has since changed his mind. Now he also says I am statin intolerant. This diagnosis came a bit late, methinks,

  28. Derek S

    I’m 65 and had a mild heart attack 4 months ago. After having a stent fitted I was put on 7.5mg Ramipril, 5mg Amlodipine and 80mg Lipitor. My rehab was progressing really well, I have always been very fit, lots of gym and a 5 mile run every Sunday morning since I was 25.
    After a few months I had a couple of incidences of rapid heartbeat whilst out exercising, 160-180 bpm going on for up to 15 mins even after standing still, (normally when walking as fast as I can it’s about 115, I wear a HR monitor to track my progress). Now after 4 months I am getting these tachycardia events almost every time I go for a walk, even a gentle walk, and it’s basically destroyed my ability to exercise. I’m convinced this is because of medication as I’ve just had a stress echocardiogram and my heart is pronounce as being in excellent condition, even though during the procedure it suddenly went up to 197bpm, proving I haven’t been making it up!
    The big question is which med is causing the problem?
    I was on a calcium channel blocker for years before my heart attack so it’s unlikely to be Amlodipine, that leaves Ramipril or Lipitor, has anyone had any similar experiences, I’m at my wits end, my consultant doesn’t believe it’s the statin?

    • joshrandall

      I’ve had exactly the same, I got it off one statin, now my heart beats fast all the time! I had a stress test and echo, my heart rate got up to 200 on the stress test, which is way to fast for me, when I stepped on the treadmill, before I even started exercising my heart rate was 110, for no reason I’m 24 healthy they put this down to anxiety absolutely not, they couldn’t tell me why, but like you say it makes exercise incredibly hard I’m also getting abnormal rhythms! They can’t tell me whats wrong! so frustrating, I know it is from the statin never had this problem in my life

      • Christina

        Josh, how long were you on them? I took 10mg of Zocor 3 nights in a row, and woke up the 4th morning feeling like I was going to die, ALL my intestines hurt, muscle pain, nausea & constant flu like feeling. I tried to take a few more, but every other day after 2 more weeks I couldn’t take it any longer. Now a week later? I’m useless! Can’t exercise, because I have constant skipped heart beats (pvc’s) and feel like I’ll pass out, NON STOP feeling of flu, hot & cold, wondering when will it stop?

  29. Helen M

    I am so sorry to hear of your travails with statins. Your mention of peripheral neuropathy makes me wonder if you have ever had your blood glucose checked, or your A1c. Statins raise blood sugars, another side effect suppressed for years and one, as a diabetic, I learned, when I self quit, that I had problems from. About a week after stopping lipitor, I found myself with “mysterious” low readings. In the end I decreased my insulin by about a third. Yet never connected it with the statin until I read, several years later, of this side effect.
    Big pharma is at fault for always putting profits before people. However doctors share blame too; they allow themselves to be educated (hah) by the drug companies – or influenced by pharma’s bribes.
    If government were not so corrupt it would have the power to protect the public from these excesses of greed. Certainly the appropriate agencies are in place.

  30. condoline

    Like many statin victims, I am a senior citizen who was in excellent health until the medical profession decided to “save” me from something or other (heart attack? stroke? good health?) by prescribing statins. So I took statins in 1994 and quit after about a year, again in 1997 and quit, and then in 2009 when a doctor at the renowned Mayo Clinic persuaded me to take Simvastatin. I took it for one year. I am now on oxygen 24/7.
    I told one doctor after another that Pravachol in the mid-1990’s caused my peripheral neuropathy (self diagnosis confirmed by a neurological clinic in 2004), but neither I nor the two doctors who (possibly) were willing to believe that I knew what I was talking about had the least idea that my lungs were also harmed by statins (or Zetia, believe it or not). Until the few years, I knew even less about statins and cholesterol than any of the physicians I went to (not easy, but I managed), else with my suspecting Pravachol to be the cause for my neuropathy plus my knowing what I know now about statins, cholesterol, the electron chain and much, much else of relevance, I would never have agreed to Zetia in 2005 or simvastatin in 2009, and I certainly would not have quit the latter so abruptly.
    Now I know better, but it’s too late. Upon getting my old medical records from the 1990’s, I found that 10 months on Pravachol were “bookmarked” by x-ray “lungs clear, heart normal” at the beginning and “minimal pulmonary fibrosis all four lobes… area of opaqueness possibly cancer or old fibrosis…” and on and on, a long report of the damage I had incurred. And there were no confounding variables: no other drugs taken, no exposure to external toxins of any sort.
    Correlation/causation error? Not in my case, obviously – but would it have mattered? Statin authority Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California at San Diego finds no credible evidence that statins confer a mortality benefit on seniors or women of any age, even as secondary prevention. From the mountain of data at her disposal, she concludes that the possibility of risk exceeds any possibility of benefit from statins for seniors like me. I wish I had known that a long time ago!
    Statins mess with the mevalonate pathway. Every cell in the body is affected. Since statins are not all that effective, ought not a person be given the benefit of the doubt with regard to AE’s when his health, perhaps even his very life, may be at stake?
    I am only one victim of an industry that has put an obscene amount of time and money into determined attempts to fortify its hugely money-making but problematic cholesterol hypothesis while the identification and study of far less lucrative but much safer preventions and treatments for CAD generally have lacked funding and the worst statin AE’s have been for the most part hushed up. For example, a neurobiologist e-mailed me that statins have long been known to be “absolutely horrible for the brain” (Alzheimer-like effects on neurons) although that AE went missing from the lists of what the industry euphemistically calls “side effects” until fairly recently. At least with most statins now off patent, the hype has simmered down, but the damage marches on. “Above all, do no harm”? How ineffably quaint!

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