bottles of crestor lipitor and simvastatin cholesterol-lowering drugs

When Mevacor (lovastatin) was first marketed in 1987 it quickly became a game changer. That’s because it was perceived as extremely effective for lowering cholesterol with far fewer side effects than existing drugs.

Lopid (gemfibrozil) Never Became a Blockbuster:

Prior to this first statin-type cholesterol-lowering medication there was a certain amount of ambivalence about cholesterol lowering drugs. Lopid (gemfibrozil) was one of the best known and most successful medications prior to Mevacor. It lowered bad LDL cholesterol a modest 11 percent.

Although Lopid appeared to reduce the risk of heart attacks, it came with a list of side effects including gallstones, indigestion, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, dizziness, blurred vision, headache, numbness or nerve tingling, lowered libido and erectile dysfunction.

The Statin Revolution:

Mevacor seemed like a fabulous alternative and it quickly became the hottest cholesterol-lowering drug on the market. Its success spawned lots of other statins including Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
, Fluvastatin (Lescol)
, Pitavastatin (Livalo)
, Pravastatin (Pravachol)
, Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
, Simvastatin (Zocor)
 and Simvastatin + Ezetimibe (Vytorin).

Initially, most doctors believed that statins had few, if any, side effects. Tens of millions of people were prescribed these drugs even if they had hardly any risk factors for heart disease. In some cases doctors encouraged people to take a statin “just in case,” even if their cholesterol levels were relatively “normal.” The assumption was that the drugs were so safe there was no reason not to take them even if the person was in good health.

Side Effect Reports to People’s Pharmacy:

When we started hearing reports from people that they were suffering muscle pain and weakness, memory problems, erectile dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy or blood sugar elevations, we were told by some health professionals that these were old folks just showing signs of normal aging. These physicians insisted that such side effects could not possibly be due to statins.

We didn’t buy it, but it was hard to convince some statin enthusiasts that the drugs might be taking a toll on otherwise healthy people. Over the last two decades we have received so many stories from individuals that we could have written a book. In fact we did! We included these stories in two books, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy and Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them. There are also hundreds of reports on this website.

What About Muscle Pain?

Most physicians now agree that statins can indeed cause muscle pain and weakness in some people. That is in part because many physicians have themselves experienced these symptoms after taking statins. There are also reports in the medical literature documenting these adverse reactions, even though the original clinical trials somehow missed these complaints. An article in the BMJ (October 22, 2013) points out this discrepancy:

“the prevalence of muscle pain in statin users is 50% greater than in non-users. In absolute terms, this increase in muscle pain is 100 times greater than that reported in clinical trials…”

Some health professionals acknowledge that there can be cognitive dysfunction for certain patients. There is even data to suggest that statins can cause fatigue, especially after exercise (Archives of Internal Medicine, Aug. 13/27, 2012).

Do Statin Side Effects Persist?

The unanswered question, though, is do some side effects persist even after the statins have been discontinued? There have been very few studies even examining this issue. One intrepid researcher, Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, has suggested that some individuals are especially susceptible to statin side effects. For them, adverse reactions can be devastating and may linger for a very long time.

We received a poignant comment from a visitor to this website. We felt compelled to share Donna’s story:

“Everyone needs to know that statins can do permanent nerve and muscle damage!

“I stopped taking them more than a year ago and I am still in pain, still can’t walk upstairs without pain and my CK (muscle enzymes) are still elevated; so are my liver enzymes.

“Those meds need to be taken off the market. Some people develop rhabdomyolosis from taking statins and some even die from it. They are harmful and there’s no getting around that.

“I have permanent damage to my muscles and they continue to deteriorate. I am frightened and I have undergone many tests, EMG’s (electromyography); MRI’s; multiple blood tests and a deep muscle biopsy. The results of the biopsy were ‘unspecified inflammatory myopathy.’ Since there was no absolute diagnosis of any disease I am left with no treatment.

“The doctor told me not to lift anything heavy and to drink lots and lots of water. I used to walk 2 miles a day and lift free weights to stay in shape. Now I can no longer do that. I can’t sleep soundly anymore. I wake up throughout the night from anxiety now, which I never had before this. I’m scared and don’t know what to do.

“I go for a blood test every 3 months to monitor the CK levels, which were at 2010 (the highest they’ve been yet) and that was in July of this year. I’m due for another blood test this month for my annual physical and I’m so afraid they will be higher.

“I hurt all over most of the time but I continue to go to work and try not to think about the pain. There should be a law against this sort of thing. My doctor frightened me into taking them. She told me if I didn’t take them I would die of a heart attack or liver disease. Please pray for me. I’m afraid.”

Even after 25 years of statin experience there is a lot we do not know about such drugs. A study now reveals what we have worried about for a long time and that is that statins may increase the risk for cataracts.

Whether these drugs also contribute to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) or permanent muscle problems such as those described by Donna above, we do not know. We do know that for otherwise healthy people, there are alternate ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. You can learn about them in our books and guides.

Anyone who would like to share a story (positive or negative) about statins may do so below.

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  1. Maria

    If you are experiencing side effects from taking Cholesterol Lowering Medication you must contact the following Look them up on the internet and fill out the appropriate information and then there will be an area where you can report the side effects you are experiencing. I did this last week and got 2 responses from them wherein they said they are going to investigate my claims as I have been experiencing sever hoarseness for 3 months now even though I stopped taking the 40mg of Simvastatin…I have been to numerous specialists and have had procedures done but nothing has been found that could cause my voice so drastically. I am scheduled for one more procedure which I will be put under for at the end of October and if that one is negative than I will pursue a lawsuit.

    My voice seems to be irreparably damaged all from taking that medication and now my doctor finally realizes I may be correct in my theory that it was the 40MG of Simvastatin that caused this…it also caused me to have terrible ear congestion and pulling in my ears…thigh pain…headache….which now have subsided…what I am left with now is sounding like a frog. I urge all of you to contact the address above and report your experience so that will force them to really investigate this n depth and not out it on the back burner…it seems to me that those who maufacurer our mediations bury a lot of the side effects inside those folded up things they pack inside the medication boxes…the writing is so small you cannot even see what they include…you have to be a doctor to understand the language. Please, please contact this website and report your side effects…www.fda.go/medwatch. Good luck

  2. Dave .w

    Been breathing heavy at night and struggling to walk up stairs since taking simvastan 40mg a day and bloated stomach and weight gain despite exercising had avorstatin before was even worse. I’ve sat up tonight breathing troubles . That’s it stopping it before it kills me my age 58

  3. David
    Chehalis, WA

    A disturbing experience, but more and more common. I have, and continue to suffer from Lipitor. I told the doctor who prescribed it to me that I could not understand how they could be allowed to sell such poison. It is clearly poison, and should be so labelled. He won’t talk to me anymore. Meanwhile I can hardly walk, while I was totally normal before. The doctors are owned by Big Pharm and do their bidding. We innocents are their Guineapigs, helping them on their way to billions. In my humble opinion, we should avoid doctors at all costs!

    Dave Boyle

  4. Maria
    New York

    Due to increase in my Cholesterol Levels, my doctor upped my medication from 20 mg Simvastatin to 40mg Simvastatin three months ago. Three days after taking the increased dose, I had severe thigh pain, had pain ear congestion and I lost my voice completely. I reported this to my physical who did not want to believe that this was caused by the newly increased dose and suggested I see a specialist ENT doctor to have my vocal chords checked.

    I have since been seen by the ENT doctor and had procedures done where they put tubes down my nose into my throat. The test was negative. Then, I saw Pulmonary Doctor. Had Lungs and Chest e-xrays. All negative results.

    Yesterday, I saw a Gastroentrinlogist and he said that if the cause was from Acid Reflux, the ENT doctor would have seen and noted scarring on my vocal chords and throat, but that was not the case, like all the doctors I have seen they are all shaking their heads.

    I am now scheduled for an endoscopy next month. In the meantime, Gastro Dr. prescribed two meds I am to take twice daily along with the already five I have been taking. He wants to see if they will ease the situation. I sound like a frog when I speak. He and all other doctors suggested that I stop taking even the 20 mg, which I reverted back to after the incident. All reports will go to primary Doctor who I will see next week for Flu Shot and blood work to check my levels again. Very scary stuff.

  5. Vickie

    I have to add my name to the list when it comes to statins. I have been on every statin there is and have had severe muscle pain.

    That brings me to the last statin I took, Crestor. I started at 10 mg, couldn’t take the pain. Moved it down to 5 mg, again pain, this time I had what I called a frozen shoulder. It took me 3 months of exercise to get my shoulder back.

    Then the doctor suggested I take it at 2.5 mg. Well, I didn’t have the muscle pain, but this last december (2015) I began to get fatigued, had a cough. I didn’t think much of it, except the fatigue.

    Then I began to get pain in my chest, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat. I had no energy, could not do much of anything without a lot of effort. That was when I was referred to a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. 3 by a cardiologist and 2 my the lung doctor

    I find I may have border line asthma but no heart problems that they could find. However, the cardiologist decided to put me on Zetia, what she doesn’t know yet, is I went off the Crestor. I know that is the problem.

    It has been 5 days since I have been off the Crestor, my energy is coming back, my mind is clearer, less muscle pain. I still have shortness of breath but not as bad, chest pain is still present and I still have the arrhythmia. I am now taking COQ10, a multivitamin/multimineral tablet, D3 and Calcium.

    I’m changing my diet to low carb and beginning to exercise by way of a stationary bike. I’m hoping that the arrhythmia will correct itself with the COQ10 and vitamin. All I can say is, no one will ever convince me to take a statin ever again.

  6. Hal

    I have taken Pravastatin 20 about 6-7 years, and another statin for a couple years before. I am 77.

    About six months ago, I began to be aware of difficulty swallowing larger pills. Then a few months back, I developed difficulty eating and a persistent sore throat and hoarseness. An ENT found a lesion on one vocal cord, but his biopsy showed no cause. I mentioned my concern about the statin, but he never heard of this problem.

    Every meal for me is now a struggle to keep from choking. How can I extricate myself from this mess safely when several doctors are telling me there is no connection?

    • Gene

      Dear Hal,
      I am not a medical man but I can tell you from experience that statins can cause all sorts of problems and most will not go away even after you stop taking them. They may get worse.
      I spite of what the doctors try to tell you.
      Look up ALS Bulbar and you will see just about everything statins can cause: Such as, short term memory loss (permanent), back and leg pain and numbness (permanent), loss of balance (permanent), thick saliva and drooling (permanent), choking and difficulty swallowing. These are only a few of the problems statins can cause.
      I have gone over these issues with my doctor and he ignored me and immediately headed for the door. Time to get another doctor.
      Please read Dr. Duane Gravline’s articals and you will see the damage statins can do and to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of others. All with the blessings of our government and Big Pharma.
      Go to:
      Best Regards,

    • Maria

      I have had severe horseness after taking 40 Mg Simvastatin three months ago wherein I initially lost my voice completely, had severe thigh pain and head pain and terrible ear congestion, so then I reverted back to the original 20 Mgs I had been taking for 20 years and now I sound like a damn Frog.

      Have seen specialist after specialist and have been tested as follows…vocal chords, lungs, chest, breathing and now am scheduled for Endoscopy in late October although the Gastro Doctor said that if the horseness was due to Acid Reflux or Gherd the ENT Doctor would’ve seen scarring on my vocal chords and throat but there was none….still and all he will do the procedure just as a precautionary measure and he also prescribed two different meds to see if they will help my voice come back…also nose and throat spray…I am at my wit’s end as I have done extensive research and found that many of the side effects from these Cholesterol Lowering Meds are irreversible…nice!

    • Maria

      I contact the Federal Drug Administration a week ago and go 2 responses…I had to forward my report regarding my voice being horse all the time now even though I stopped taking the 40mg of Simvastatin…I have had procedure after procedure and nothing so far has been found to explain why my voice is so apparently damaged. So, The FDA said that they will investigate but need more people to come forward with their issues…therefore, if you email them they will also respond…and please mention the hoarseness in your voice as well as all the other side effects you’ve experienced…here is there website address…www.fda,gov/medwatch…You can look them up on the internet and email them through a form that is there. Good Luck. If, all my tests come back negative I am going to hire a lawyer to pursue this further.

  7. andrea

    I took my first dose of lipitor and within days I was weak, muscle pain and dizzy, I was rushed to the ER, a week later I was put on Lopid and the same exact symptoms happened and again back to the ER and again they attributed it to the medication. It has now been 2 months and I am ill with muscle pain in the neck and shoulders, chest pressure, weakness and pain radiation down my arms and tingling in my hands. I was a healthy 44 year old female with no problems besides my high cholesterol, I have been in the ER now 6 times for these symptoms and they can’t find anything and this only started after I took the medications. I advise anyone that has to take statins is to not They have changed my life for the last two months and feel as if Im dying. Read and think before you take these medications.

  8. Frances

    After suffering a mild heart attack in 2007, I had stents placed in one good sized blockage and a couple others in minor blockages and was put on Simvastatin. By the end of the 1st year I began to feel numbness and tingling sensations in my feet. I moved across country in 2012 and had to seek a new heart doctor. In 2012 I was feeling great and could do all types of physical labor with no problem. Actually, my husband and I (both in our 70’s and both on Statins) were quite capable of doing many strenuous and physical chores with absolutely no problems.

    Somewhere around April of 2013 our heart doctor decided to change our statin from Simvastatin to Atorvastatin. Me on 40 mg and husband on 80 mg. The first thing I notice by the summer of 2013 was that my husband’s energy level and mobility had changed drastically. He complained frequently of pain in his hips and legs and just a general tired feeling. He was not the active man I had known now. He sat at his computer often and quit doing outside chores that he always loved doing. Walking to the mailbox at the end of the driveway was now painful for him to do too.

    Within a few months I also began to feel pain, muscular cramps and pain in my shoulders, neck, hands and ankles. My feet began to swell and there was a great deal of pain around my ankles, and the numbness and tingling in my feet had gotten much worse. A Neurologist tested me and told me I have Polyneuropathy… cause unknown. Leg cramps became a nightly thing. In July 2014 I was progressively worse and after complaining to my Cardiologist I was told I was just getting old.

    On July 14th, I was walking across my patio to go into the house when I fell breaking my hand and fingers in 3 places. I merely fell because of muscle weakness and pain I was now experiencing in my legs. Mind you, we both had been complaining to our doctor about our physical problems getting worse, but nothing was addressed or done for us for our increasing pain and discomfort. In the spring of 2015 my hands and arms were so bad that I could no longer open jars, pick up my coffee cup, wring our the wash cloth or even adequately dress myself. I had to resort to buying a walker just to be able to move about the house. No amount of complaining to my heart doctor or general doctor did any good.

    Sometime during late summer of 2015 I searched the side effect of Atorvastatin on the internet. I was shocked to read that what we both were experiencing fit the profile exactly of the severe side effect of Atorvastatin! We discussed the possibility among ourselves and also gathered all of the information that we could from other users of Atorvastatin. On September 1, 2015 we STOPPED taking this statin drug, and began using 200 – 400 mg of CoQ10 like we had read about. Immediately after discontinuing the use of this drug, we both began to feel better. I have to admit that my husband has bounced back quicker and is doing much better than I am at this time (9 months since stopping Atorvastatin). He can still feel a general discomfort, but his back and hips are like new!

    I am on Prednisone to control the inflammation and pain. I started on 20 mg daily and have decreased it monthly to find a comfort zone. I am now down to 6 mg daily, but because I still feel muscular pain and cramping I probably should still be on around 10 mg. Needless to say, we both discharged our Cardiologist and General Medical Doctor and are seeking new ones as I write. Neither one of them cares to admit that the statins caused our problems. After stopping the statins I’ve been told by both doctors that my problem is Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Mind you I have no pain in my joints at all (Arthritis), and the definition of Polymyalgia Rheumatica is “widespread aching, stiffness, cramping of the muscles of the hands, arms, hips, wrists, ankles, etc. etc.” The exact same symptoms of sever Statin side effects!!!!

    As I said earlier, after discontinuing the use of this drug we IMMEDIATELY began to feel better!! My feet are beginning to get more feeling back in them now and it seems the “Polyneuropathy” might be getting just a little better. I know I have a long way to go for complete recovery, and I also know after reading other stories that I may never be totally free of pain and cramping in my muscles. What I do know is that I have my life back from where it was taken with Atorvastatin and so does my husband. My walker in in the closet and has been for 8 months now! We take trips and are doing yard work again, and although not entirely out of the woods, we are among the living once again!!!

  9. Paul

    I have been taking Lipitor for a bit over 10 years. I never had the side effects in the first 6 or 7 years but muscle weakness started and got worse very slowly after that. Neuropathy started in the feet, swelling of the ankles, total numbness on the bottom of feet, eye focus, loss of grip, general weakness of all body muscle, loss of balance etc. I’ve always been athletic, not over weight, but the last year I really started to notice the symptoms. Mainly not wanting to exercise like I used to, the final straw was when I flunked my CDL physical due to loss of balance, not being able to stand on heels and toes etc. I was just about ready for a wheel chair or walker so it was getting serious in my mind.

    My wife suggested I get off the statin for awhile so I did. But NOT without a radical change of diet of course which I now had the incentive to do. I started noticing my balance coming back in 3 days, that was very encouraging so I went back into a moderate exercise program. It’s been 8 weeks and I’m climbing up the mountain trails and walking an average of 2 to 4 miles every other day. I’d walk and hike every day but muscle soreness tells me I should back off a bit to avoid damage. I’ve lost a few pounds and growing muscle back will probably add some weight so it’s a trade off but I feel much better.

    I had my blood levels checked the other day and cholesterol LDL/ HDL levels were normal. But you have to keep in mind that I’m starving myself most of the time, but one day a week I get back to the good ole comfort food. lol I should add that I’m 73 years old but can easily pass for 50-55 most people tell me. I did go back and pass my CDL physical 4 weeks after I flunked it and that’s all hard fact on paper if anyone wants to dispute statin damage. I’ll keep this blog updated on my progress if there is an interest.. Balance, increased stride in walking etc. seems to be improving every day Thanks for reading.. –Paul

  10. Ben
    Washington, DC

    I’ve been taking 40mg pravastatin for four years. I was taking 100mg of CoQ10 with the statin on a daily basis.. I increased the CoQ10 dosage to 300mg daily. My nocturnal foot and leg cramps have ceased. I had pain in my left foot and started feeling pain in my right foot and now the pain in the right foot is gone and the pain in the left foot has substantially subsided. I’m planning to cut back the CoQ10 to 200mg daily and see what happens.

  11. Sonny

    I took Lipitor = Atorvastatin for a year and stopped when I had muscle pain and elbow joint pain. A month later, I had red dry rash on my chest not itchy and later on my body. Weeks after, I could lift nor carry heavy objects. I used to do lots of push-ups a day but could not do one due to muscles damage. My doctor sent me to ER after 4 blood tests. I was admitted and the CK level was 28000. I was treated and rehabbed for almost 2 months. I can’t go to work because I can’t lift my legs into the car. The meds are too strong. I am 60 years old and productive for decades. I am finding legal help to sue Pifzer, the drug maker in my state. I also reported it to FDA.

    • Paul

      I had a triple heart bypass in 2004. Been on rosuvastatin ever since along with 81 mg asprin. A year after I started statins I could no longer cut my grass or any type of gardening. Asked several docs. over the years if statins could be responsible. They all sad , of course not. So I continued the statins.

      Now I’m 70 yrs. old and the pain is excruciating. My new doc. immediately took me off statins , saying they could certainly be the cause. All my pain is limited to chest , ribs and on my left side under the upper arm. Can’t do anything now. Very very upset wit pharmaceuticals, doctors and the F.D.A. I feel the F.D.A. and pharmaceuticals are in this together. I don’t believe any of them anymore. I’ve been off statins for 3 months now with no improvement.

  12. Bonnie

    I am a 56 year old female. My dr. started me on Lipitor about 2 years ago I was a bit over weight at that time, but water skied all last summer and danced walked every day cut hair did upholstery and worked my Mary Kay business, since then I am now diabetic ,liver enzymes up, fatty liver I am not a drinker I have been diognosed with neuopathy . I am now 80 lbs over weight and have just been stricken ed with severe muscle fatigue pain weakness it has touched every muscle in my body even tongue and lips, cheeks, legs ,arms are the worst..Swollen tight sting hurt fatigue un-describable.. My dr. took me off of Lipitor as soon as he seen my inner forearms bulging and tight.. the effects are worse a week later they progressed over just a week.. I have done research and have started Coq10 200mg per day we will see if the effects of Lipitor will reverse any at all.. if not this has completly changed my active life.. to dormant because of the weakness in my muscles. I can only be up about 10 minutes at a time my lower back start to fatigue and stings as do my arms every step is like climbing a mountain I have to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. I can’t get laid down quick enough to get relief … We can only hope and pray that these side effects will go away..

    • Kate

      Dear Bonnie, my heart goes out to you. I assume you have been tested for everything under the sun, just to write off the possibility of your symptoms being caused by something else. However, I have been tested, and the conclusion is that I have a predisposition to serious muscular side effects from taking statins.

      Most people who react do so right away, so perhaps the damage for them is temporary, but I took statins so long that when the symptoms arose, no one associated them with the statins. Yet, what I have since discovered is that if you do robust exercise AND take statins, AND have a predisposition to the side effects, then, the exercise actually exacerbates the side effects. Groan. Who would have thought?

      I went from being in reasonably good physical condition, cross-trained about 15 hours a week and then I just couldn’t. My muscles just didn’t work. I would leave exercise classes half-way through in tears of pain, I would realize I couldn’t use my bicycle foot brakes going down hills. I ended up not tolerating any exercise at all, really. I still swim but I suffer a lot for days afterwards. I just can’t walk more than a very few minutes. The pain is great, and my muscles are ineffective. I have gone through periods trying hard to push myself past “it all” only to lie awake in great pain at night with nasty spasms etc. It is all very discouraging.

      BUT I will say this: my pain experience is less now than it was when I first stopped taking the statins over 3.5 years ago. It gradually decreased until I reached a plateau after about 2 years. It just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I had to start using a wheel chair if I wanted to go anywhere or do anything. So I hear your pain. Perhaps because you only used statins for 8 months you might recover.

  13. Naomi

    I took Atorvastatin (probably for 6-8 months) and stopped it cold BEFORE reading these comments. I had COPD by then but completed a stress test (why did I take that at age 83 and asymptomatic?) after which the cardiologist commented “I never thought you could ever do so well” (with COPD).

    I’ve developed terrible muscle aches, memory problems that are scary, tremors that make my writing very hard for ME to read, I am drinking and eating pretty much what I did all my life but am slowly losing weight. I am certain that Atorvastatin caused these problems or made them worse.

    AFTER READING the comments, I fear they will not improve.
    Research before you begin one of those drugs (statins). Maybe dietary/lifestyle changes will help you.

  14. Harmony1

    I always get notified when there is a contribution. I keep hoping someone is going to say they found a way to rehabilitate the muscle damage caused by the statins. I used them for years and had extremely painful bouts of “electric muscle attacks” but these came and went, so I never really understood that they were connected to the statins usage. But when I started systematic, robust exercise, THAT was when the debilitating muscle damage really set in. I went from biking everywhere, no matter how high the hill, I danced, lifted weights, did yoga, and for my “day off” swam one hour non-stop. I was 61 at the time. I have been off the statins for 3+ years and I am in a wheelchair. I can just barely walk. I swim twice a week, but can only manage about 20 minutes… more than that and I am totally unable to even get myself to the bathroom… I have so little tolerance of movement/exercise. I have tried to work out a routine where I do 4 minutes on a stationary bike and build up gradually. That has worked, to a certain extent… but if I get the flu etc. and am bed ridden for a week or two… I am back to scratch and have to start all over again. It is so discouraging. I contacted the research program in San Diego and was told that maybe, maybe I would regain muscle usage after 3 years. That didn’t happen. I’m afraid most people who read this have already been damaged, we need to reach the ones who haven’t started. I tell everyone I talk to in hopes of saving just one person from this suffering.

    • Gene
      Palm Bay, FL USA

      Dear Harmony1,
      I wish I had some encouraging words for you, but from what I have experience and what others write about, I don’t think there is a lot of hope. Some hope yes but unless and until the Big Pharma owns up to the damage they have done, nothing will be done.
      I found out about statins by reading People Pharmacy and I credit Joe and Terry for saving my life. I have been off statins for four years and some of the problems do not go away. I have very little short term memory and I still have back pain although not as bad as it was. I think the Transient Global Amnesia was the worse and almost caused me to have a car accident.
      Anyway, my Prayers are with you and lets trust that soon Big Pharma and the medical community gets the truth soon.
      Best Regards

      • Gene

        Hello Everyone,
        Just heard on NBC News night before last that the Government (AMA?) has admitted that statins can cause severe muscle pain and muscle damage. (Duh). I did not hear all of the report but it is a start in the right direction. It may be years before any thing else is admitted. Odd, (why am I not surprised) there was no follow up on the news or news papers. It was probably hushed up by Big Pharma. Remember that the addictive nature of cigarettes was hushed up for a year or more by the tobacco companies because they advertised on the very networks that wanted to do the damning report. That puts the statin report in perspective doesn’t it?

  15. Carmen C. Montufar

    I stopped taking symvastatin more than a year ago (I did not take it for a long time) after I started to have knee pain and the sugar went up to a pre-diabetic range , the sugar went to normal levels after I stopped taking it, the joint pain/stiffness is still there (less than before but I wonder if this will last forever, the pain started in the right knee, now I just have it bad in my fingers joints (this pain did not start at the same time as the knees), the pain is not disabling; i’m 72 , with no one in the family with a history of arthritis or diabetes, (my mom past away at 105, in good health) I’ve always been an active person, walking , going to the gym, yoga and at home and still am, but I am wonder if it will change if the pain increases.

  16. Pattie
    Wilson's Mills, NC

    I first took Lipitor and had what felt like pins sticking in my legs and stopped taking it. After that I took different statins all ending with leg muscle pain. The last was atorvastatin and it was the worst ever. After taking it for about 2 weeks I could hardly walk. The dr. then told me I was one that couldn’t take the statins. My cholesterol was just a little elevated and not that high but with family history, he had me take it. After 6 months I’m still having trouble walking without great discomfort. I have weakness in my legs also and some days it feels like my legs will hardly hold me up and I have trouble walking straight. I’m a little overweight but not obese. I would like to exercise but it is too uncomfortable.

  17. Matt

    First I want to tell everyone on this forum that I believe all of you.I had a heart attack in 2007 and after a stent was placed I was put on 40 mg.Crestor.About 3 weeks afterwards I was having a low grade ache in my hips,pelvis and low back.I saw my physician who never acknowledged that it could be the statin but instead sent me on a long costly journey of nuclear medicine studies,MRI’S,cat scans,physical therapy,back specialist,nerve blocks,neurologist consults and more.Eventually the pain rachetted up to intolerable levels and I was in and out of emergency rooms being IV dripped dilaudid for relief.Because I had a HA(heart attack)I was told I had to take statins.I took myself off just to see if I improved and I did.I agreed to lower doses of statins and the pain returned like clockwork about 3 weeks into treatment.
    Here.s what I have taken and the result:
    40 mg.Crestor—ER visit
    20 mg Lipitor–ER visit
    10 mg vitorin–ER visit
    2mg.Livalo every 3rd day–extreme pain but will cope without ER visit.
    On the bright side I now take a new cholesteral drug that is injected once every 2 weeks called prauluent that has reduced my LDL to 39 with no side effects.There are no long term studies on the drug so the doctors would like me to still take 1mg.Livalo every 3rd day but I can’tcope with any amount of statin.My prayers to all of you.I understand your pain and suffering.

  18. Tina
    West Virginia

    I only took Lipitor for two weeks and I had severe muscle pain and knee pain and swelling in my knees. I stopped taking it and that is the only medicine I started taking so I know without a doubt that is what has caused my pain. I still can’t walk up and down stairs very well and can’t run at all. It is very painful! This meds should be illegal!!

    • Helen

      Matt, my LDL was 185 & I was approved for the $1,400.00 a mo, 2 shots, of Praulent, you are taking. My insurance will pay all but about $35. I refused since it is so new and I heard only one person had died from it! My doctor says all 4 or 5 of their patients love it because their cholesterol is now below normal.

      I’ve been on Zetia about 3 yrs and having problems walking, brain fog, back, feet, legs, everything hurts. Just took myself off last night, after reading reviews on internet. I’m 79 and gained weight, have bovine valve, 1 bypass reblocked itself, and pacemaker! Extreme fatigue keeps me tired. I started swimming 3 times a wk. Some days, I feel worse & others better.

      I can’t climb steps; use a cane to get in my pool. My LDL is now 150. I don’t cut out red meat and should. I take gobs of Andrew Lessman vitamins (HSN). 2 of his Omega-3 caps lowered my Triglycerides from 349 to 149 in maybe 4 wks. I take 2 of his CO-Q10, 200 mg daily & many of his other supplements (Leg & Vein), which help my heavy feeling. I don’t trust other Pharmaceuticals to have right amts of Omega 3 or Q10 in them. His Cholestra-Care, (plant sterol caps), approved by FDA to lower cholesterol by 20 % , did so for me. My husband & I were, daily,taking 4 prescription Lovaza fish oil caps, tasting of fish oil,and not lowering our Triglycerides.

      I was very active until I started the Zetia. Crestor lowered my cholesterol 40 pts in 2 wks, but I could barely walk. I’ve tried different amts several times, but cannot take.

      My husband can barely walk and cancelled a trip home to SC today because, after 30 days on Crestor, his shoulders, back, legs , & feet hurt. He stopped the 20 mg last night.

      I hope the Praulent works well in the future for you and others. The trials were too short, in my opinion, before they released it.

  19. Mohamed

    I am a 69 years old man. 6 years ago, my family doctor prescribed 20 mg Lipitor and 81 mg of Aspirin/day as a prophylactic from heart attacks. I Kept on these drugs for 4 years without any problem. Almost 2 years ago, I visited a cardiologist for a re-exam. He checked my blood for lipid profile and prescribed 40 mg Lipitor/day. After one year on this higher dose of Lipitor, I started having unexplained morning fatigue felt all over my body. This feeling used to last 3-4 hours every morning. In addition, I noticed very thick saliva accumulating in my mouth and throat as I get up in the morning. The doctor recommended going back to Lipitor 20 mg/day. The side effects lessened but did not disappear completely. I had my blood tested recently. Whatever the results would be, I will request the doctor to discontinue Lipitor. I do not have a clue whether 1) the side effects are connotative of muscle affection 2) whether or not they are reversible 3) are the side effects dose-related. However, I do prefer to opt to other safer way to prevent heart attacks rather than keeping on Statin.

  20. Violette Rose-Jones

    I took statins of various types for two years after a diagnosis of type two diabetes. my cholesterol was only high by virtue of the fact diabetics are expected to maintain a lower number. without diabetes, I would have been considered within the normal range.

    within a couple of weeks my hands became sore. I have a family history of lupus/general autoimmune so I got tested for that. by the time the tests came back, I had full blown classic statin side effects but they just kept getting worse. I was taken off the drugs and the side effects have remained and continued to worsen. three years later, I am crippled. I have intractable pain.

  21. disabled RN

    here is my experience. I was prescribed statins and never tolerated them. All that was done were muscle enzymes which were rare elevated. They changed statins. I took them for years.

    Eventually I developed peripheral neuropathy, tendon rupture and eventually a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Saw probably 9 specialist locally who never told me to stop the statins.

    When I got fed up I went to a Center of Excellence in Peripheral Neuropathy. The first thing this guy asked me was “are you still taking the statins?” I said yes and he replied “you can never, ever, take them again”.

    I had also been given other neurotoxic antibiotics over the last few years so it is a crapshoot what really was the culprit.

    I am here to tell anyone that will listen, for a segment of the population these drugs are bad news. I cannot prove what really injured me but taking statins certainly was contributory in my opinion. We need to get the word out because the medical profession is ignorant regarding the risks. Sorry to be such a downer, but I have been irreparably harmed.

    • RW

      Disabled RN,

      For your MS diagnosis, I hope you have heard of Low Dose Naltrexone ( It is an FDA approved drug at 50 mg/day, but was found to halt progression of MS in about 85% of MS people at a low dose of 1.5-4.5mg/day. It is non-toxic (unlike the CRAB drugs or other MS drugs), has no side effects except initial sleep difficulty for some, which can be rectified by taking it in the morning), and is inexpensive because it is out of patent. There is a Yahoo LDN Group with over 12,000 members, about half of whom take it for MS. The address is listed on the LDN site shown above. Please join and ask any questions you may have. The group is helpful and friendly, much experienced with LDN and will be happy to give you their experience with LDN and answer your questions. The one caveat I can think of, however, is if the MS is caused by DNA damage due to statin drugs and accompanying mitochondrial mutations, the LDN MAY not be as effective, but it is cheap and worth a try. I, too, have had statin DNA damage and feel the same as you about the danger of statins. Best wishes.

  22. Sally

    My doctor started me on Lopid about ten days ago for high cholesterol (about 290) and high triglycerides. I’m 66 yrs. old with few other health problems and have normal to low blood pressure. The very first dose gave me severe stomach pains, achy muscles, a bad headache and heart “flutters”.

    Called the doctor and she said to cut the dosage by half for a week or so until my body “adjusts”. OK…. not too bad effects for a few days, until my panic/anxiety went through the roof — what I call rolling panic attacks which I’ve NOT had for years and years.

    When the docs tried me, some years back, on Lipitor and Pravacol I had similar side effects and refused to continue on them. Looks like I won’t be taking Lopid either BUT I’m significantly improving my diet, have lost about 12 lbs. over the last 8 weeks, and am definitely upping my exercise. Maybe the statins work well for some folks, but my body has a very strong opinion of these drugs and it’s a bad one.

    As a side note, my 80+ year old neighbor has been on a statin for years and has progressively developed neuropathy in his lower legs and feet as well as achy leg muscles — the doctors have thoroughly checked him out and can find no cause for it. FINALLY, one of the docs told him to stop taking the statins, but also advised that improvement for him might be very, very slow. Another friend of mine, in his late-fifties and very fit (runs marathons), strongly claims that his statin is messing with his memory. I’m beginning to believe that statins can be a big time problem, at least for some people.

    Oh, and I’ve read that research has been done that suggests that elevated cholesterol is often found in folks who died at 90+ years old, so perhaps it’s not the ultimate boogey man. I’ve also read that statins may have some value to men who already have heart disease, but seem to do little for women in general. Just sayin’.

  23. Dannica

    I was also prescribed a statin (pravastatin) by my doctor. I was 35 at the time with cholesterol levels well above 275. My blood pressure was always spot on perfect, blood sugar normal, liver good and no other health issues. After taking it for 3 months I started having serious muscle cramps that would persist nonstop for 3-7 days at a time. I informed my Dr and he basically told me drink more water and exercise. A month or 2 went by and I developed very annoying muscle spasms that were extremely hard to hide. (Fingers, neck, and random large muscles) I again informed my Dr and he said its my body telling me I needed to work out more. I started getting horrible migraines on top of these other issues and I decided to see a neurologist. After several blood tests and an MRI of my brain (to rule out MS or tumor) she instructed me to immediately stop the statin.

    It’s been 2 years since I stopped the statin and I still have the non stop muscle spasms which tire me out physically and keep me from a good nights sleep. I have noticed that my muscles get tight if I stay in 1 position for more than 10-15 minutes, and I fatigue very quickly. This has made a serious impact on what used to be an active life of sports and overall health.

    I will NEVER EVER again take a prescribed med unless it is absolutely a matter of life or death.
    The doctors and pharmaceutical companies have no regards for the quality of people’s lives. It’s all about money and getting richer at any cost.
    To all of you that have similar stories, I’m right there with you and know what you are going thru.

  24. Maggie

    I don’t understand. Doctors are aware of this now yet still prescribe these strong drugs. I’m also on Lipitor. The Doctor placed me on a very high dose right off. I requested it to be cut in half however,it seems to be too late. The drug was also discontinued for a while however,there was not improvement. At this point,I had already been taking it for years. I suspect this drug has ruined my quality of life. Every day is a constant battle to keep moving. I’m pretty young yet however,my leggs are weaker during walking than most 85 yr. old’s I know!
    I don’t understand why Doctors continue to prescribe this drug. I begged for 2 years to be placed on a alternative medication. I finally just left that practice since they were very reckless with the manner of which my diabetic medicine and dosage were prescribed. My diabetes is now under fantastic control with a new Dr.

  25. chuck

    I heard from a friend who told me that she was taking Statins medication at very strong dose because she had high cholesterol level. Unfortunatly, that statin medication was so harmful to her that it killed her muscles and kidney. The effect was so severe that she could hardly walk. Now after I experienced her problem, I also had a problem with the Atorvastatin too. It weakened and caused so much pain on my right arm. Be aware of this poison pills, it is a no joke. Do not be victimized yourself.

  26. chuck

    I had been taking Atorvastatin at 80 mg as prescribed for years. Started last year, I had muscle pain on my right arm. My right arm. I believed, was really strong. Now whenever I moved or try to compress, I feel pain. My wife did some research and found that Statin might have been the cause of the pain. Few weeks ago, I visited my cardiologist and explained to him my symptom, he said it was likely caused by this statin medication. He reduced it from 80mg to 40 mg and added another medication (Zetia 10 mg) to work in syc with that reduced 40 Atorvastin. I am still very concerned whether I should listen to him or just stop that poison altogether. By the way, he told me to stop temporarily for 2 weeks of this Statin, and call him back on Jan 4th to let him know whether the stoppage will do unharm. It has been over a week now my muscle pain still there. He also told me to take Co Q10 too. I have been taking CoQ10 for over a week, still feeling no improvement. Anyone wants to suggest anything to undo the effect of this poison pill? Please share.thank you.

    • Harmony1

      Chuck, I just had to reply to you. I took 5 – 10 mg of statins for about 6 – 7 years with no identifiable side effects. Then, one weird thing started happening… EXTREMELY debilitating cramping, spasms, electric pains that would shoot up and down both legs suddenly, unannounced and left me screaming and crying for hours. I lived with this, it happened about 10 – 12 times a year. My doctor couldn’t figure out what it was. It was most likely a warning signal that got ignored. THEN I started robust exercise, about 3 hrs a day (at the age of 58) and that increased these episodes considerably. Then after about 18 months of this exercise bout, I started losing muscle control, couldn’t even use my foot breaks going downhill on my bike. Nada. I left exercise groups in tears from the pain. Finally a cardio doctor made the link and I went off the statins completely. That was 3 years ago. I still can almost not walk, I use an electric wheelchair outside the house. It is pathetic. I have tried/am trying to build up muscle again, but it is just an extremely frustratingly slow process. I can only increase exercise by small, small increments and it is so easy to overdo it and then suffer for days after… not least of all electric cramping etc. at night. I got my 88 y.o. parents to drop the statins completely too (in dialog with their doctor). I took COQ10 while on the statins, the last 5 years… and have continued taking it. An alternative to statins? A healthy lifestyle. So simple and yet so difficult. But at least you might be able to walk in your senior years… something it looks like I won’t be able to do. Just devastating. Think about it.

    • Jerry

      I took a very low dose of atorvastatin 5mg daily for 3 years. I developed neuropathy in my feet, cataracts that prevent me from 20/20 with glasses, back pain, increased urination that I thought was due to blood pressure medicine which I still take and a general feeling of deadness in my legs. I stopped taking it and neuropathy is almost gone (still a tingling feeling along the bone that runs from the ankle to the big toe), sometimes sleep through the night wo urinating, back pain gone which also helps with sleep, my legs feel alive and connected and I feel quicker mentally too. Cataracts seem here to stay. My cholesterol was 220 but I believe my high blood pressure must have pushed me past some scientifically established risk level. I’m so happy I stopped taking the statin. These symptoms creeped up on me and since I was 51 when I started taking them I figured it was just natural aging. I don’t think that is true at all anymore.

      • Vinnie
        Chaska, mn

        Alpha lipoic acid 500mg twice a day relieves peripheral neuropathy in feet. I was cured from it after two years. But while taking Lipitor, it had zero effect on the relief.

        • Gene

          Hi Vinnie and everyone,
          I started taking Alpha Lipoic Acid a month ago because of your posts. (It’s not expensive either). I really think it might be working as my feet and lower legs are less numb and sometimes my feet start to tingle. That is a good thing don’t you know because before I had very little feeling in them and could just barely move my toes and my feet and calf of my leg were cold to the touch. I was desperate for something that would help as I tried to talk to my doctor and was just plain ignored. I think I will find another doctor but where? They all subscribe to the theory that statins are harmless Sayeth Big Pharma. Anyway, I can now move my toes and hopefully my condition will get better. If I could only get my memory back it would be wonderful.
          Any way, thanks Vinnie and I am going to continue with ALA. I’ll post again for an update.

  27. GINA

    I would like to read something on the new statin drug Pravastin. I am using it and it do not have the side effects of the other three.

    I would also like to know where I can get an up to date copy of your peoples pharmacy? I keep using it all the time. It is much more useful than what I find on the internet.

    thank you

    • Terry Graedon

      Pravastatin is not new, but it may have fewer side effects than some of the other statins.

      Sorry to say, we do not have an up-to-date edition of The People’s Pharmacy book.

      • Leslie
        Austin, TX

        My doctor put me on Pravastatin 2 years ago. Despite continuing to follow my low carb diet, I gained 10 pounds in the first month. I told my doctor and he doubled the dose. After a month I gained another 5 pounds. I mentioned this to my doctor and he said it was just my age. I stopped taking them then and there, but 2 years later, still following a low carb diet and exercising, I can’t drop the weight. I kept a food diary and even tried the same exact foods and amounts, nothing has worked.

    • bobby

      I was prescribed that station almost four yrs ago ..I had heart attach at age 44 and had two stents placed in my heart.. I have high cholesterol mostly from hereditary issues I worked out most of my life could squat 400 pounds I took simviststatin for almost three yrs and all this crazy pain started overcoming me I couldn’t go up the steps without being winded and muscles burning like fire..I’ve been very intune with my body and the things that were happening were scary.. everything from fatigue to erictile dysfunction.headaches blurry vision all of it..I stopped taking them a yr ago and the symptoms subsided alittle they are still there..I believe that for some people this drug is detrimental to our health.. I am struggling thru my workouts to maintain good health but the muscle pain is still there I believe evry one of you and what you feel iside your body is real statins affect some people more severely than others…oh and my mother had the same problems

  28. cpmt

    I would really like to know what to take that has not side effects? What about MEVACOR? Is it still for sale? Does it works? My doctor wants me to take Lipitor… after reading so many bad and serious side effects I am afraid to take it. He said I needed for my kidneys because I am diabetic. Does any one has any suggestions that I can take or do to protect my kidneys without taking something so dangerous? (statins) I don’t want to happen like it happened with the medications to prevent bone fractures and then they did exactly that… destroying the bones but the time they found out, thousand of people had serious problems. PLEASE HELP

    • Terry Graedon

      Mevacor is the brand name for lovastatin. It is still available, and your doctor might be willing for you to use it instead of Lipitor (atorvastatin). We know you like to do your own research. This article may be helpful, and you could share it with your doctor:

  29. Eleanor

    My husband developed motor neuron disease after taking Lipitor for 5 years… doctors need to take note. There are too many side affects when measured against a small benefit… WE NEED CHOLESTEROL FOR HEALTHY NERVE ENDINGS… IT KILLED HIS NERVE ENDINGS…

  30. Sharon

    I was given a statin (Prevastatin) even though I reminded my doctor of my non-alcoholic fatty liver issues. When it did not lower my cholesterol enough by the next annual physical, my doctor doubled the dose. I again reminded him of my non-alcoholic fatty liver issues–his response was, “Are you challenging my medical expertise? They are as harmless as an aspirin! Every doctor I know is taking them as a preventative!”

    He did not suggest that I come back for monitoring, so when my next annual came around, my numbers were alarmingly high–blood pressure at stroke levels, liver enzymes at serious levels, blood sugar levels brought me into pre-diabetes. As a cancer survivor, I feared my leiomyosarcoma was back and that I was dying. My (former) doctor was angry at ME, asking “What did you DO?”

    Of course, I changed doctors and my new doc calmed me down and indicated she knew what was wrong, told me never to take a statin, asked me to record blood sugar and pressure daily, and she monitored me monthly. Those numbers I could assess came down, down, down every day as did the numbers she assessed with more stringent labs. I believe she saved my life. I would never take a statin ever again and caution anyone reading this to carefully monitor blood pressure and sugar if prescribed statins.

    • Lynn

      Sharon, who was your doctor in FL who was so smart to tell you never to take a statin? We need more doctors like that.

      • Joel

        I was prescribed Crestor 10mg 4 months ago. No muscle or joint pains at all. No nightmares or insomnia….. I thought – Wow ! Fantastic! I must the few lucky ones.
        How WRONG was I.
        Lately, I noticed I am losing hair, memory and cognitive skills going down the tubes. Don’t even bring up the mood swings and irritability.
        And the worst is my blood pressure has shot up to 145/95. I have never ever even hit 125/80 in my life (I am 45).
        I have not even checked my liver enzymes and kidney yet.
        Stay AWAY from statins !

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