Statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs are an important part of every cardiologist’s tool box. They lower cholesterol, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease. People who already have heart disease get the greatest benefit from statins. Unfortunately, some people find that they develop muscle pain as a side effect. What can be done to relieve statin-induced muscle pain?
Dealing with Statin Side Effects:
Q. I am in my early 60s and have heart disease. My first heart attack was 10 years ago and I have two stents.
My doctor says I must stay on a statin despite unbearable muscle pain. I have tried Coenzyme Q10 but that doesn’t seem to solve the problem. Is there anything else I can take that will help ease this pain?
Managing Statin-Induced Muscle Pain:
A. Possibly. Muscle pain associated with statins can be hard to manage, especially in a situation like yours where stopping the statin is not an option.
An international group of researchers has suggested that a curcumin supplement could help ease statin-induced muscle pain (Sahebkar et al, Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, Feb. 2017). This component of turmeric, the yellow spice in curry, has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to prevent muscle soreness and atrophy. A review of basic research suggests it might even help HDL cholesterol work harder (Ganjali et al, Pharmacological Research, May 2017).
Cautions on Curcumin:
You would not be able to use curcumin, however, if you are taking an anticoagulant such as warfarin to keep your stents clear. Both turmeric and curcumin appear to increase the risk of bleeding when combined with such drugs.
You can learn more about the many uses of turmeric for arthritis, cancer prevention, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle cramps, nerve pain and lowering blood sugar in our book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life. A new edition with an index is now available at 20% off for a limited time at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. Those who prefer to use Media Mail rather than Priority Mail shipping may send a check for the price of the book plus $3 for shipping to:
Graedon Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 52027
Durham, NC 27717-2027
NC residents please include 7.5% sales tax.
You may also be interested in our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health, with a discussion of medications and nondrug strategies to lower cholesterol and protect the heart.