It is not entirely clear why Lipitor became the most successful drug in the history of the pharmaceutical industry. Tens of millions of people have taken Lipitor to lower their bad LDL cholesterol. It is estimated that sales of this single drug brought in over $130 billion to Pfizer, its manufacturer. No other drug in history has ever come close to this mind boggling number.
Now that Lipitor has become available in its generic form as atorvastatin, it will no doubt continue to be taken by millions of patients, though the cost will clearly come down. Despite its popularity with physicians and its clear ability to bring cholesterol numbers down, there are some serious side effects to contend with. Many of these complications were not discovered until years after the drug was on the market.
We have been reporting on muscle and memory problems for a very long time. Initially, we were criticized by physicians for bringing these adverse drug events to the attention of patients on the grounds that statins in general and Lipitor in particular were life savers and we shouldn’t in any way discourage their use. But we received so many stories of devastating complications that we could not remain silent. Here are just a few examples of the kinds of messages we have been receiving for more than a decade:


“I believe that I had the following symptoms from taking Lipitor which disappeared once I stopped taking the drug. (I’d been on it for five years so dismissed the symptoms at first). Eventually I was so ill that I told my doctor “I feel like a toxic substance is inside me.”
“While I had complained of fatigue and myalgia [muscle pain], it was blown off. But then, I started feeling a cramp in my right arm which woke me when I slept. It was horribly painful and I thought it was from a lot of computer work.
“Eventually my right hand became so weak that I had to use my left hand to aid my right hand just to put down a cup of coffee. I didn’t have enough strength to do it with one arm.
“Then, slowly, I began to feel some memory problems, something that never troubled me before Lipitor. I’d find myself starting to be afraid to go some places that required my mind to click (because in looking back–I was having trouble focusing.) One night I was at an intersection in my car waiting for the light to turn. I drove through the red light. I missed some cars that went by and suddenly realized that I was so confused that I couldn’t think straight.
“When I got off the drug, I had no more muscle pains, no more weakness in my arms and my mind is sharp as a tack.”
Barbara


“I was on Lipitor for some time and three years ago had a day of transient global amnesia [TGA]. I knew people, but had no idea of time, day or year. My short-term memory was less than a minute (eg. I knew I had eaten a doughnut because I could still taste it).
“I had a CT Scan, echocardiogram and was hospitalized for 24 hours and was told that my diagnosis was TGA and that it probably wouldn’t happen again. Of course the doctors denied that it could be Lipitor.”


Memory loss and muscle problems are now recognized as complications linked to statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs. It took a long time to realize that atorvastatin and other statins could also raise blood sugar. We received a signal about this complication long before the FDA acknowledged it could be a problem:

“I was recently informed after a series of tests over a six-month period that my blood glucose levels were elevated. I have been taking Lipitor for about a year or so and was wondering if this drug could be associated with my rise in blood glucose levels. I don’t want to take medications that improve one medical situation (lower my cholesterol) and make another (blood glucose) worse.”
Betty, January, 2003


Atorvastatin Side Effects & Complications

• 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. Now the FDA has acknowledged that these are real problems. How common are sexual problems with statins? No one really knows. What about arthritis, nerve pain, cataracts or peripheral neuropathy? Again we are clueless. We suspect that such side effects are more common with statins than most health professionals realize. And people who are susceptible to some statin complications may be especially prone to multiple problems.
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 from statins. 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!
Finally, should you be interested in the inside story about some of these problems you will find our book, Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them of interest. You may also appreciate our book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy with a wide range of options to deal with things like high cholesterol, hypertension and arthritis. They can all be found in The People’s Pharmacy Store.
And please comment below on your experience with atorvastatin or other statin-type cholesterol-lowerind drugs.

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  1. Steven
    Il.
    Reply

    I started taking atorvastatin 4 months ago. since then I have been feeling extremely bad,terrible hip and leg pain,cloudy mental state of mind, vision changes and just a general lithological feeling. I suspected that I had injured myself at work somehow(my work is very physical)but never was able to figure out when or how this may have occurred,and attributed all these feelings to the injury that I suspected that I sustained somehow. I never read the possible side affects from this drug. Went to doctor last week for med check and blood work, was asked a multitude of questions by both the nurse and Doc.but did not mention my extreme hip and leg pain becouse I thought it not relivant becouse I somehow injured myself. later that day , I REALIZED that my health team was probing for drug side affects, read them, stopped the meds,called the doc. five days later Im feeling somewhat better everyday!!!! what a miserable summer. Dont forget to read the side effects of your meds befor taking them!!!

  2. Fredo
    UK
    Reply

    I started statins 20 years ago. Currently on Astorvastatin 10mg and have been for years. Experiencing severe night calf cramps. Lately cramps have started in my hands. Tomorrow I will stop taking Astorvastins to see what difference it might make.

  3. mike
    San jose
    Reply

    Weight gain, less sex, memory loss, muscle weakness and stomach sourness.

  4. Kathrin C.
    Switzerland
    Reply

    I work in a dementia care home here in Switzerland. For six months now we’ve had a new inhabitant whose symptoms don’t resemble those of the others. She is confused but does not seem to have the short term memory impairment so typical of other patients. She takes Atorvastatin and I wonder whether this might explain her confusion. Does anyone have any ideas on this? Thanks! Kathrin

  5. EMI
    Reply

    I’m so glad I found this site. I am in my late 40s and after 6 weeks on Atorvastatin (40mg) I was experiencing side effects like unusual exhaustion, muscle aches, feeling light headed and some memory issues. I just didn’t feel well, and was a little freaked out until I read about other people’s experiences. I stopped taking the statin a few days ago and my energy levels are already better. I hope the other symptoms will go away soon. This drug is over prescribed!

  6. Brenda
    Wisconsin
    Reply

    I have been miserable. I also did n’t see the correlation as I had been on it for a bout a year. Then the last couple of weeks, my arms because extremely weak, even to hold up. all of my bones seemed to hurt. Day and night. Then I couldn’t sleep. My hands hurt like my fingers were being spread apart as far as they could go. I also noticed a severe inability to concentrate. I was highly anxious and being in pain, I couldn’t really sit, stand or lay for long. Convinced I was dying….I went to the Doctor. She said it was probably the drug. She said, “lets wait to be sure you didn’t get a bug”. No thanks. No sign I have been on this drug for almost a year, would my symptoms get better or worse? No one seems to know. I just know that I took my last one on Thursday. I can not feel like this anymore.

  7. Robert
    Strasburg, VA
    Reply

    I have been taking 20 MG of Lipitor since 1997 after I had a minor heart attack. It has been almost 18 years since I started on this drug. It is difficult to know if there are side effects that are discernible. I had asked my cardiologist and general practitioner if I can stop taking it, but they just tell me that it is a preventative drug, and to just think of it as “vitamins.” So, I have followed their advice even though I have had no re-occurance of heart trouble. My cholesterol has been low ever since I started taking Lipitor. Are there any statistics for others who have been taking this drug for this long?? All the comments seem to be for a minimal amount of time. Any comments would be appreciated. I do not have the symptoms noted in the comments, although there are times when I do feel weakness… but I am 78… so that is not surprising. Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

  8. Patricia
    Tennessee
    Reply

    My brother in law is diabetic and is also taking Lipitor. He, too, throws up when he takes Lipitor at bedtime which is the recommended time to take since cholesterol is manufactured at nighttime. This drug may be too much for people on multiple medications.

  9. Patricia
    Tennessee
    Reply

    I have been taking Lipitor off and on for over 5 years and my problem is totally gastric. I cannot go to sleep for heartburn and God forbid if I drink a glass of wine before bedtime. Heartburn became so prevalent that I was taking Zantac 150mg every morning and sometimes at night with Tums in between if I dared eat chocolate or spicy foods. I also found myself throwing up if I took Lipitor at bedtime. I blamed my fatigue on the hot weather and other things but feel once I get off this statin and begin regular exercise with added fish oil, my problems will diminish.

  10. DAVID B
    KENDAL CUMBRIA
    Reply

    I first started simvastatin and ached after taking them for about a year, I ached really badly, so after telling my Dr he put me on Atorvastatin 10 mg I take 1 a day and after taking them for over a year, I ache in my back, shoulders, shoulder blades and legs, have no energy and am always tired. I am 71 years old and have had two pulmonary embolis, one in 1984 and one in 2010 ,of course am on warfarin to keep my blood alright. But am going to talk to the Dr about the aches and pains and ask him if he can prescribe another tablet to help with the cholestorol or what can you suggest, to help.

  11. Amy
    Evansville, IN
    Reply

    Very high triglycerides prompted my doc to prescribe lipitor. He started me at 80 mg daily. Within 48 hours I experienced terrible side effects – extreme muscle weakness and a general flu-like feeling. My arms and legs felt so heavy I couldn’t walk more than 20 steps. Laying in bed I couldn’t lift my arms to turn off the lamp. It was honestly frightening.
    He told me to stop taking it for a few days and then try 1/4th of the dose. Same affects. I went further and tried 1/8th of the 80mg tablet. The side effects were less debilitating. Still bad enough that I would have to plan on restricting activity.
    Describing the feeling as a toxic reaction is accurate. I’m afraid to take lipitor but also afraid not to.
    Could there be some interaction with other meds, foods, or even perhaps an interaction with the chemical balance in some people?

  12. Matt
    Minnesota
    Reply

    40 year old male with history of perfect lipids even last year my tests were excellent. I had to start taking seroquel due to psychotic episode and severe manic. In the following 10 months my LDL has skyrocketed to 350, my HDL is unmeasurable and trigclycerides are dangerously high. All other tests are normal. Started taking Lipitor 40mg 3 days ago and feel absolutely terrible. I can’t stay awake, my vision is blurred, I’m urinating constantly, shivering, all muscles tighten up for a second or so, completely out of it, cannot work and suffering non stop headaches. This ‘medication’ feels like poison. This is the most terrible experience I’ve ever had on a medication and it’s supposed to be helping me. I felt bad before I took this toxic substance but now I’m confined to the coach and totally useless. 40 years old.. No history of heart or cholesterol problems. This is a controversy and needs to be exposed.

  13. Bud
    England
    Reply

    After taking another statin for 3yrs with no side effects or change in cholesterol ( bearing in mind I’m 3yrs older and I’d put weight on , self inflicted ) doctor put me on Lipitor to reduce cholesterol quicker., I started diet and exercise at same time , within 1 month totally Sick with everything from ongoing headache, joint , back, neck pain , cramps, can hardly walk, balance issues and just feel dead on my feet., stopped and went to doctor , he requested I try again but symptoms were getting worse on a daily basis so I’m convinced it’s the Lipitor that’s doing this and those who say not , good for them ., everyone is different and shouldn’t criticise the people who are suffering ., I’ve read in a medical journal and also the leaflet with the Lipitor that these are recognised symptoms and can lead to other problems so please talk to doctor and get alternative if your not happy

  14. Jamie
    Reply

    I am so glad I found this thread. I am a 46 year old female who had a heart stent placed 3 months ago (85+% blocked). My blood cholesterol has never been above 156, my blood pressure has always been on the low side of ‘normal,’ and while I could stand to lose 15 pounds – I was a size 4/6. The cardiologist said that I needed to start taking Lipitor because of the heart stent (for at least a year).

    The first 4 weeks I was on 40 mg, and I began to experience problems with my jaw joint (dislocating) and extreme joint pain in my hands and feet. I asked both the cardiologist and my GP about it. The GP just brushed it aside and said the pain was probably due to some recent painting projects I had completed. (I insisted it was not.) So I researched the side effects for the medications I was prescribed as a result of the heart stent. On several sites I found joint pain listed as ‘rare and incidence uncertain.’ So I asked my cardiologist if it might be causing the joint pains. He said ‘anything is possible but unlikely’ and mentioned the muscle pain as more common. But I insisted I thought it might be the culprit, so he agreed I could cut the dose in half.

    It made a major difference in just a few days. My jaws stopped popping out of place, and I could hold a glass with water in it again. Unfortunately, though, it only reduced the joint pain in my hands and feet – not eliminate it – but at least I can function.

    What’s really weird though (that I haven’t seen anyone mention yet) is that the pain is more significant in my left hand and foot (more painful than my right hand and foot). My left pinky hurts the worst and even hurts now if it is even lightly bumped on anything.

    So here is the big question that I am now most worried about – has anyone had issues with their spine as a result of this medication? Degenerative disc disease runs in my family; my mother, brother and sister have all had spinal surgeries as a result of it. I have been fortunate so far – no issues… but am now wondering if this drug could initiate/instigate the degenerative disorder? I would rather have a heart attack than a spinal surgery…

    I have also had cognitive issues; I feel like I am in a ‘haze,’ forgetful, as well as depressed (never had a problem before). I was exhausted all of the time (for the last 3 months I did nothing…not even go to work). I am now taking Wellbutrin (generic) to address these problems, and it has helped (can act as a stimulant in many people, which it does to some degree for me) and I have noticed I am thinking a little more clearly. After reading the wealth of information shared by others on the statin drugs – I at least feel like I am not crazy (everyone dismisses the joint pain I complain about) and there could be just one drug causing these problems… and potentially more…. Thank you.

  15. John
    Los Angeles metro area
    Reply

    Just before I started Lipitor, my A1C was 5.4 (I am high risk for diabetes due to age 68 and family history). Two months on with Lipitor 10mg, checked my lipids and my A1C moved up to the pre diabetic level of 5.7. It is true what the recent Finnish study said about taking Lipitor, you have up to a 50% risk of diabetes. Now I am doing 2.5mg(5mg every other day) to see if the A1C will go back to 5.4 I really don’t need to take Lipitor due to other factors.

  16. Robert
    Arizona
    Reply

    I have been taking ATORVASTATIN 20MG for 18 months since I received two stents in the lower left heart artery. I have muscle pain and cramps, constipation, memory loss, and weakness in many muscle groups. I was warned by a primary physician about the complications of ATORVASTATIN 20MG but my cardiologist disagrees with her assessment. I am going to stop taking the drug and see if the symptoms disappear. My last lipid panel showed my numbers to be well within limits. I will be awaiting the results with anticipation. I do not want to continue with the medication with these side effects.

  17. Ruth
    Maine
    Reply

    I had been on Lipitor for about ten years experiencing leg and foot cramps and was taken off the med. finally. Many years after that (15?) I experienced two small strokes during very trying circumstances. The neurologist put me on Atorvastatin because of the strokes and my primary care doctor is reluctant to discontinue the use of it. I am experiencing the same issues that I had previously and now my back is bothering me as well. I’m wondering what to do next.

  18. Victoria
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Reply

    I am 59 years old, in generally good health except for stage I breast cancer in 2009. I was fortunate and am now a six year completely cancer free survivor. On atorvastatin (10 mg every day) for 8 months, have developed the following progressive symptoms. I am now, with doctor agreement, limiting dosage to 10 mg every other day. If this does not help with the side effects, I will go to 5 mg either every day or every other day, or discontinue use altogether.

    -General digestive disturbance: acid reflux, cramping, diarrhea, excess gas.
    -Insomnia
    -Depression-moderate
    -Nightmares when I am sleeping
    -Joint issues related to osteoarthritis
    -General feeling of being unwell 24/7
    -Headache
    -Moderate to severe fatigue which does not go away with rest
    -Mild memory issues and some confusion-this is a very BAD thing, as I am a high school teacher, and have to be very organized, “on it” and keep MANY balls in the air at the same time all day long.

    Prescription drugs are powerful and ALWAYS have side effects. It just depends upon one’s sensitivity. I am very sensitive to medication. Some are not. I believe we are often prescribed medication in dosages potentially harmful to our other (usually liver) bodily systems too freely in this country. I am horrified by the bombardment of prescription drug TV advertisements- side effects are listed in cheerful voice- overs and some of these mentioned are truly terrifying.

    My advice (and I am not a doctor, just a patient with a LOT of treatment experiences under my belt for various things): is to always research as much as you can about a drug that you are prescribed, ask your doctor about the cost/benefit analysis in terms of side effects. Be proactive-it’s YOUR body, YOUR health and ultimately, YOUR quality of life. Pay attention and listen to your body and respect it. Then go talk to the doc again.

    The statin industry is huge, and I was told that “every single person over the age of 40 in the US takes a statin.” While this may be true, that doesn’t mean we should. It seems to me that doctors usually prescribe very powerful meds as if they were Advil. They are not.

  19. Victoria
    Denver, Co
    Reply

    I have taken atorvastatin for three or four years without much change in my cholesterol values. Two weeks ago I started to have severe muscle spasms in my legs. Last night they woke me 7 times. While researching all of my medications I ran across this article. I have been having muscle spasms in my neck for three months along with headaches. My arthritis has flared up over the last six months. I have some memory changes recently along with nerve pain in my foot, digestive issues, and insomnia (not related to my muscle spasms). I will be stopping my atorvastatin today and watch these symptoms for change. In the last 6 weeks I have also had 8 squamous cell carcinomas appear. I will be researching that possibility also.

    • Scott
      Ct
      Reply

      I have experienced horrible foot and ankle pain. Seriously nasty acid reflux and find that the foot pain gets worse when stopping the drug (Lipitor). It’s all about the $$$ for the Doc’s and big pharma.

      • David
        Ga
        Reply

        Scott- I have the same issues. Have you stopped completely? Are you taking any different statins?

    • Suzanne
      Rochester NY
      Reply

      I took Lipitor for 21 days and discontinued per my MD due to the side effects: leg aches, like the flu, pain in arms, breast bone pain, shakiness, joint pain, dizzyness, overall bad feeling 24/7, stomach upset, nausea, like I was unable to function. At first I thought I was having a heart attack – then I had a full panic attack freaking out about the symptoms.
      I’ve been off it for 10 days and still working through these side effects. I have high cholesterol but no other risks for heart disease – I don’t eat red meat, exercise every day (on the Lipitor I couldn’t even manage a walk up the stairs or around the block), don’t drink, perfect blood pressure, etc. My first blood test showed a decrease in my cholesterol – substantial – but you’re right – you have to weigh the costs. It’s not worth an entire quality of life change – why would I want to take something that forces me to stop physical activity entirely.
      I’m going to go the more fruits and veges (even though I eat pounds of them already), add more flax seed, and take CoQ10 and a banana.
      Not sure if my doc will appreciate the decision, but ultimately, you’re right – it’s my decision.

  20. BH
    Los angeles
    Reply

    Finally convinced that my ongoing health issues are related to Lipitor.
    In my experience GP’s keep you on drugs due to lack of knowledge or some sinister motive.
    Patients must take control of their health issues, shop around till you find a doc you are comfortable with, too many of them see u as a money machine needed to pay off their loans for fancy toys and vacations.

  21. Terri
    United States
    Reply

    I have been on Atorvastatin for around 6 months. I am only 53 and have absolutely no energy, no goals, no drive and all I want to do is sleep. I can sleep for 18 hours and still not want to get out of bed. I am on an antidepressant for over 10 years and I know it works. I am mentally happy and want to do things… my body just wants to sleep. I have noticed a slight increase of memory loss on just simple things… peoples names and the like. I do have a doctor’s appointment this Saturday and hope my levels are down low enough that I can stop taking this drug. I hate this feeling. It’s such a useless feeling. Work and sleep is the story of my life. Wish me luck on Saturday!

    • Jamie
      Reply

      Wow, I have felt the same way for the last 3 months (since starting the statin). They put me on Zoloft – and it made it worse (for me). I yawned every 15 seconds every minute of the day I was awake (and like you, that wasn’t always a lot). Switched me to Generic Welbutrinwelbutrin and that has helped. Still tired but 3 cups of coffee help. Good luck!

  22. Carla
    United States
    Reply

    Had been on lipitor from April 2015 until May 11 2015. At which point my body felt it had been used as a punching bag. Couldn’t get comfortable and my stomach felt like it was being wrung out like a wash rag. Then my urine turned tea colored. Went to the doctor the next day. Doctor confirmed I had a urinary infection and said I was one of the people that couldn’t take a statin. She said she could prescribe a different medicine. I just want to get this lipitor out of my system with not lasting effects. I will try to use a better diet and more exercise before I try anything else. This is a horrible medicine with hostel side effects that should really be reevaluated before making people go thru this type of treatment. There has to be other ways to treat high triglycerides that don’t cause people this kind of discomfort. If you are taking this medicine with no effects, good for you. But for those who are having unusual medical problems I suggest a different route for your health issue. At least my doctor took me off this medicine.

  23. Meredith M.
    United States
    Reply

    Yes, these episodes started approx 2 months ago after I started taking 3 different meds: all started 3 months ago… I went in with depression, fatigue, queasiness, dizziness, earache, frequent and long lasting headaches behind right eye, face flushing, excessive crying and general malaise.. I was guessing Menopause, accompanied by a toothache maybe. as I am 51 and my rhythms were wonky.

    I figured I would leave with some Estrogen Tabs maybe an antibiotic and call it a day.

    Doc didn’t think it was Menopause. I was put on Sertraline (Zoloft) 50mg… soon after the Zoloft they saw in my blood test results, I had perfectly normal blood work back except a very high cholesterol count (400) so, at my first follow-up, they put me on Atorvastatin (Lipitor) 80mg also during this visit I was complaining that the Zoloft seemed to make the queasiness worse and as before… Pepto and other Antacids didn’t make a dent, but Travel Sickness pills seemed to take the edge off… and asked if my initial problem had to do with something wrong in my inner ear… Doc said probably not after peering into them… so Doc gave me a script for Omeprazole (Prilosec) 40mg for the dizziness and queasiness too.

    Since beginning all these, in the last 3 months… I have had the sudden onset of these “heavy arms” and positively frightening fatigue (upper body only), migraine, light flashes, fever-like sweats during minimal effort, chest, eye and neck pain and the queasiness is still hanging around… seems the Prilosec isn’t even helping anymore. And I think food has started to taste metallic (at times) and seems to have lost most of it’s flavor… or I don’t take pleasure in eating anymore… food is always “blah!”, when it used to be “yeah!”

    Due to the mention of dizziness and chest pains, had a stress test that went without a hitch. ECHO was showing a perfectly healthy heart. So now what… I have had insomnia since the age of 7, so I was sent to do a sleep study. Found I have moderate to severe Sleep Apnea… was recommended I get a CPAP right away… have yet to get one as the paperwork has found a snag. I was told by the sleep folks that I may need none of the meds and that the CPAP may make a new woman of me.

    During my wait for the machine, I told them about the “heavy arms” (Didn’t have this symptom prior, that I recall) and she asked if I had injured my neck… not to my knowledge. So, here we are. Perhaps it IS a side effect of the Lipitor… I didn’t have this problem before and wonder, now, why I went to the Doc’s, as I feel worse now than I did before.

    BTW the Zoloft made me stop crying so much, stop caring about much, made me a bit scatterbrained with loss of concentration and I feel more tired than before. I am not sure what symptoms are coming from where and caused by what anymore… It’s hard to pinpoint any of them because they all came on the scene around the same time. But maybe if you are experiencing this stuff and just started Lipitor maybe we have a link.

    I am hyper-sensitive to many things, break out in rashes easily and have many allergies… perhaps this is an allergic reaction to Lipitor. Lord knows, if anyone can be allergic to it, I’m your Huckleberry.

  24. Debra D.
    New York
    Reply

    I had been on atorvastatin 20 mg for approximately 2 1/2 years when I began to experience stomach pain and chronic diarrhea. My family physician sent me for an initial round of tests, all of which came back negative. He then sent me to a G.I. specialist, and I the underwent a CT scan, MRI enterograpy, ultrasound, endoscopy and colonoscopy, all of which were negative. I was placed on a gluten-free diet, lactose-free diet, FODMAP diet. I continue to experience worsening diarrhea with a subsequent loss of almost 40 pounds. Finally, my girlfriend came across an article stating that a relatively rare side effect of atorvastatin was diarrhea. I mentioned this to my family physician and we decided to discontinue the atorvastatin for a few weeks while I awaited the results of yet more blood and stool tests. At this point I had been experiencing chronic diarrhea for almost one year. I am now almost 6 weeks post atorvastatin and my diarrhea is gone. Additionally I have not experienced any stomach pain and my glucose numbers are now normal. I also am experiencing greatly increased energy levels. I simply cannot believe how much better I feel. While on a atorvastatin, I also experienced intermittent hives which I attributed it to seasonal allergies, although I had never experienced hives before. I literally have not felt this well in a few years. I never suspected the atorvastatin because I had been on it for a while, but I am absolutely convinced that it caused my stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue, hives, and general sense of malaise. I felt the need to comment on this in hopes it might help someone else. Apparently not all side effects from atorvastatin our immediate, and you should consider this if you are experiencing these kinds of problems.

  25. amanda
    Oklahoma
    Reply

    This medicine is from the devil himself. I can’t stay awake, weak, tired, chills, achy all over, a million pins and needles in my feet. Not to forget the pounding racing heart and worst of all, my feet are on fire! I don’t wanna wear shoes or do anything if it has to do with standing or walking. I have never had anything like this. After reading about burning feet and Lipitor, I am done with it. I am taking my self off tomorrow. I have been on it a little over a month
    These symptoms started immediately. I never read up on any side effects, but from now on I absolutely will. This has been the worst experience ever! I can only pray I return to normal! Thank God I was smart enough to figure this out! This should be taken off the market immediately!

    • Debbie
      United States
      Reply

      I have been on this medication for one month. My feet are on fire, numbness and tingling everywhere, right arm pain, headache, memory loss and sleepiness. Atorvastatin 10 mg. was prescribed as a preventative – what a joke. To what – suicide? I am taking myself off of this immediately. I just happened on this web site, and so glad I did. Thanks everyone for your experiences on here. I was thinking it was just old age – 64. Thank you!!!!

      • The People's Pharmacy
        Reply

        Debbie, please be sure to let your doctor know that you have made this decision and why. Good luck to you.

    • Rich M
      New Jersey
      Reply

      I had Triglycerurides readings of 789, Cholorestrol of 250, minor heart attack, and stroke. I was put on Lipitor thank God! Now Trigs are 165 Chol. 153 LDL 84 HDL 39 from 33. I’ve been on it for over two years and have experienced none of these wierd side effects that everyone is complaing about. My God if your hair was falling out you would blame it on the Lipitor. Anyone new on the drug will read all these nonsence complaints and would imagine the same and blame any aches and pains on the Lipitor even a tooth ache.. I say to all there who have a serious high lipid profile good luck to you on your vitamins and fish oil I’ll feed my heart Lipitor life is short.

  26. Carol
    MI
    Reply

    I’ve been on 5 mg Atorvastatin for 4 – 5 years — just half a pill. Not feeling too well lately, I just browsed the web and read what people are experiencing. An extremely dry mouth during the night brought on this search — and sure enough, it is one of the side effects. Also, a dull, continuous headache (I’m not attempting a direct connection. Just musing.) confusion, feeling “not here”, difficult to focus, feel tired reading unless its a gripping story, memory loss, extremely dry mouth in the night, unusual back pain, weakness, fatigue, no goals, motivation, passion, feel ‘stupid’, don’t want to engage socially for fear I’ll not “get” the conversation, or have nothing to contribute. WOW! I want to get off this stuff, but have just read side effects of Lipitor withdrawal, and they are scarey. I’m hoping my half-dose, eliminated slowly over a few weeks, will minimize the withdrawal symptoms. I’ll be talking with my Dr.

  27. Richard
    Chicago
    Reply

    Since a blizzard in January (coninciding with the time I started taking atorvastatin) I have had extreme weakness in my arms. There were days I could not lift anything heavier than a coffee pot – and I have thought that it was from overdoing it with my snow blower – I did the entire block twice and another side street sidewalk – and I assumed that I had torn ligaments doing this.

    Then I woke up and said, “wait a minute, the pain also started around the time I started taking Atorvastatin.” And wondered if there was a possible corrilation to the drug. Then I read this article. It makes sense – the author is describing my physical symptoms, although I have not noticed any memory loss. I am going to stop taking the drug and see if the symptoms fall off…. I wasn’t crazy about starting the drug in the first place.

    Will report back in a few weeks and let folks know what happened. I am going to look at diet and exercise – and see if that is a better way to lower colestorol.

    These are my thoughts

    • Chris
      Nottinghamshire
      Reply

      Started taking atorvastatin 80mg after a heart attack last October. By november my shoulders and neck were in agony. The cardiac nurse suggested I miss them out for two weeks to see if it was the effects from them. My pain went away after a few days. Went to see my GP and he said take them again and see how I get on. Now i cannot sleep on my sides. i cannot get a jacket on or off I am in constant pain and have limited movement in both upper arms as well. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks. I cant live like this indefinitely.

  28. Scott
    Reply

  29. Ken
    Indiana
    Reply

    I have been taking 40mg atorvastatin for 16 months. ED has become a real problem. I have heart problems, and cholesterol LDL was 108 and cardiologist wants to increase to 80mg. I feel sex life will be over. Thoughts?

    • David
      Florida
      Reply

      Get off the drug. Go the health food store and talk to a knowledgeable person about some of the natural supplements to help reduce cholesterol. Also, include soy, tofu, in your diet. It will raise HDL and lower LDL as well as the total. As you age, the drug affects you differently, and could cause you real problems. I speak from experience. Quit taking it.

  30. carmella
    pa
    Reply

    My mom has always said that Lipitor gave her leg pains. She took herself off of both Crestor and Lipitor at different times… she recently, after a congestive heart failure episode, was put back on Atorvastatin. She was rushed to the hospital 2x with severe allergic reaction with hives covering her entire body and breathing difficulties! Hence…the ER nurse discarded the medication. No other drug has been prescribed as of yet. More dr. appointments. To follow. What is in this stuff? She is also allergic to shellfish.

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