Man with painful hip, muscle pain from statins

The doctors’ debate over statins has become heated lately. You can read what we have written about that here and here. If you prefer, you can listen to our interviews with leading cardiologists here. But patients with heart disease are faced with a dilemma. If they take a statin, they may reduce their risk of a deadly heart attack. Unfortunately, some people develop intolerable pain and weakness while taking such medicines. How can they overcome muscle pain from statins?

Choosing Between Medication and Exercise:

Q. I am caught in a dilemma. I have type 1 diabetes and heart disease.

After I got two stents in my coronary arteries, my doctor insisted that I must take a statin. High-dose atorvastatin was intolerable. Even a low dose (10 mg) made my muscles ache so much that I could not exercise as I like.

Is there anything I can do to counteract this muscle pain? I don’t want to become a couch potato.

How to Overcome Muscle Pain from Statins:

A. People who stop taking a statin cholesterol-lowering drug most often do so because of muscle pain and weakness (Stroes et al, European Heart Journal, May 1, 2015). In response, some doctors lower the dose of statin, as yours did, while others switch the patient to a different medication. In certain cases, another statin doesn’t trigger the same muscle problems as the first one did.

What About Curcumin?

In addition, you might consider taking curcumin, an important component of the yellow spice turmeric. Preliminary research suggests that this natural product may be able to reduce muscle soreness without interfering with the lipid-lowering benefits of statins (Sahebkar et al, Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, Feb. 2017).

Ask your doctor if this is an appropriate strategy for you to try to alleviate your muscle pain from statins. You can learn much more about both curcumin and turmeric in our book, Spice Up Your Health. You may also be interested in learning more about lowering cholesterol and reducing your cardiovascular risk from our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health.

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  1. Banjoboy
    Reply

    My Gastroenterologist recommended turmeric as generally beneficial, referring to several studies of the herb and it’s properties. I began taking it regularly, as did two friends, that felt it was helpful with their arthritis. I began to experience small amounts of blood in my urine. A urologist could not find a cause for the blood after thorough examinations.

    At some point, reading information sheets on my wife’s warfarin (blood thinner) prescription, there was a caution not to take turmeric if taking warfarin. I do not take warfarin, but assuming that turmeric might have a similar action, I discontinued it and the blood in the urine stopped. Does that make sense to you? I’d like to try turmeric again, but in a smaller dose because the potential benefits sound too good to pass up. Any thoughts on that? Thank you, Banjoboy

  2. S
    Reply

    Exercised 3 times a week, swimmer, very active. Took statins for about two years. Body became so painful I had to stop all exercises, became depressed. Someone told me turmeric would help with pain. Turmeric did not touch pain. Became confused, weak until I fell one night. Felt I was going to die unless I got help from Doctor.

    Sure enough, I was on verge of becoming septic and was dehydrated. Sent straight to hospital for antibiotics. Stopped statins and slowly my pain is leaving. Believe this whole degrading experience was due to statins. Am slowly working back up to exercising. Anyone else experience this?

  3. Jeri
    Spokane, WA
    Reply

    Reminder: people using warfarin (Coumadin) need to avoid turmeric or curcumin.

  4. David E
    Dallas, TX
    Reply

    It is known that statins deplete coenzyme Q10 from human muscles. If you take a strong enough dose of a statin long enough it can kill you. If a human runs a large enough deficit of co Q10 the heart will fail. Smaller deficits cause muscle aches and extreme muscle fatigue. Japanese doctors and medical researchers have known this for decades. This information doesn’t seem to make it consistently into the US medical community!

  5. Bob C
    Boone, NC 28607
    Reply

    At 10 mgs, I still had some muscle aches. When I cut the dose to 5 mgs, all pain stopped. My cholesterol has been low; however, the triglycerides are still a little high so have increased fish oil to 2 @ 1,200mgs/day. Bob C, Blowing Rock, NC.

  6. william
    washington
    Reply

    My dentist told me about Co Q-10 before it was mainstream. I started taking it. I asked my doctor if he had heard of it. He said he prescribes it for his patients taking statins to ease muscle pain. Please tell your readers about Co Q-10.

  7. Sherry
    Florida
    Reply

    If the heart is a muscle, how can this be good?

  8. Bob
    South Carolina
    Reply

    My brother told my about a natural approach to lowering cholesterol without using statin drugs. CholestOff Plus contains plant sterols and stanols to lower bad cholestrol. I started using it several years ago against my physician’s advice. I did agree with my primary care physician that statin drugs do indeed work to lower cholesterol. I just did not like the muscle and joint pain incurred with its use.

    Bottom line: My cholesterol levels are within the normal range without using statin drugs. As a side note, my wife followed suit and is currently obtaining cholesterol levels in the normal range. I am curious as to why your listeners have not mentioned this alternative to statin drugs. I should add that I end up paying a little more for the CholestOff Plus than for my statin prescription co-pay.

    As such, this approach might be more expensive than someone buying statins… it will depend on one’s prescription plan. That being said, my wife and I stock up when Costco puts it on sale.

    • Linda
      Atlanta
      Reply

      How many CholestOff pills do you take and what time of day?

      My Dr has prescribed red yeast rice and niacin for three months but that has been known to cause muscle pain. I’m over coming a sports injury and only want to add one thing at a time. Maybe I should try CholestOff instead.

  9. Dela
    Chicago
    Reply

    For several years my husband has been taking 300 Mg CoQ10 daily (takes the CoQ 10 in the morning and the statin in the evening) to eliminate muscle pain associated with statins and says it “works like a charm”.

  10. Robin
    US
    Reply

    Well, if you knew the truth about statins you’d get off them immediately. And also because this spice isn’t undoing the multitude of harmful effects of these toxic drugs.

    First, statins are a scientifically verified cause of diabetes, or they exacerbate the condition (read a scholarly article on how statins and a cholesterol-lowering popular diet pill promote diabetes if you search for “Do Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects Boost Diabetes?” by Rolf Hefti, a published author of the Orthomolecular Medicine News organization).

    Second, the most reliable evidence has long tied statin use with memory problems, muscle disorders, liver damage, cataracts, nerve damage, arterial calcification, pancreatitis, erectile dysfunction, brain dysfunction, diabetes, and with an increased risk of cancer and higher mortality. There are practically no, or only marginal, benefits from these toxic drugs (read Dr. Uffe Ravnskov’s work).

    Third, it is important for the public to recognize that most of the “scientific” research in favor of cholesterol-lowering statins is flawed and fraudulent (read Dr. Uffe Ravnskov’s work).

    Fourth, older people with HIGH cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol levels (see above mentioned article for numerous scientific study references confirming this).

    And finally, the real truth is that statins have almost no real benefit in the very vast majority of users. They do more harm than good (read Uffe Ravnskov’s “The Cholesterol Myths” and Malcolm Kendrick’s “The Great Cholesterol Con”).

  11. Rick
    Reply

    Statins the most over prescribed medication along with proton pump inhibitors cause a hell of a lot more injuries than are suggested.The muscle pain is caused by in essence a damage to kidney function. Statins cause hypo or hyperglycemia thus the diabetes.

    But to top it off this metabolic toxin causes mutations or damage to mt DNA , these little powerhouses inside every cell in our bodies are co factors in every cellular process in our bodies from apoptosis to the production of enzymes that are need to retain homeostasis.

    One thing about poly pharmacy there advertising budgets can convince the majority of the people to buy their product and the kick back on pharmacy Doctors receive have even got many of them convinced!

  12. Mary
    Reply

    As I understand it,. doctors in Canada are REQUIRED to also give CoQ10 to those taking a statin drug.
    Merck knows it as well. They have a patent in it that they never used.

  13. Dolores
    Chicago
    Reply

    I stopped my statin drug(simvistatin) for a period of several months a year or so ago. My cholesterol numbers suffered, so I began taking the simvistatin again but only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My numbers returned to a satisfactory level, and I have continued this regimen with good results so far.

  14. Jim
    Florida
    Reply

    The only way to get rid of pain related to statin-poison is to stop taking statin-poison. That way, you might avoid getting something far worse, like diabetes, parkinson’s disease or even ALS. Try it. You’ll like it. And it won’t make any difference in your overall health.

  15. Mary
    CA
    Reply

    My husband has been active all of his life, weightlifting, tai chi, etc. etc. He has been on statins for years and he has muscle weakness which is very bad. No pain or numbness only weakness and doctors have never given a reason. I think it is the statin drug but afraid to make the decision on my own to tell him to stop it. Big dilemma those statins.

  16. Ellen
    Baltimore, MD
    Reply

    When I started taking a statin many years ago, I experienced muscle aches in my thighs when walking. My doctor told me to take CO Q10 and I have not had the muscle aches since then.

  17. Anne
    Bakersfield, Ca.
    Reply

    In my opinion, I would get off statins completely. My husband is English, and most English people have high blood pressure. It’s in their DNA. He had been told my a doctor that he HAD to be on statins to lower it. He went on them and had all the negative reactions that people have read about. He then went to a regular General Practitioner who had been a doctor for a few decades.

    That doctor is the one who told him to get off the statins because most English people naturally had high blood pressure. My husband went off them, and has been doing fabulously, and now takes zero pills for anything. We both have the attitude that, if left alone, usually your body will take care of itself. Obviously that doesn’t work with certain diseases, but so far it has worked for us.

  18. Nancy
    Missouri
    Reply

    My husband takes Co Q-10 with his statin and has had none of the muscle pain.

  19. Shelley
    Reply

    I think I would rather die than live with the side effects of statins.

  20. June
    Ohio
    Reply

    Hi, I bought the cur cumin supplements thinking this was an easy way to get turmeric. Then I read this article about absorbtion. Cur cumin requires black pepper and you need to take a small amount 3x a day with a little pepper? I don’t know if the article is right or not? I’m putting a 1/4 tsp with a little pepper on my meal 3x a day, and quite often I forget? But I don’t taste it in my smoothie, haha?

  21. Paula F
    Alabama
    Reply

    My internal medicine Dr. said there is a formula based on the HDL’s, LDL, Triglycerides. I may be missing one of the others ones that go with these. Has anyone heard of this formula as a deciding method of deciding whether to take a statin?
    Thanks.

  22. Judy B
    Winston Salem, NC
    Reply

    Statins:

    I had also tried different kinds of statins, but still had pain. My doctor told me to take 200 mg of COQ10 (find at the vitamin counter). When I did, the pain stopped. It is mandatory to take 200 mg, no more, no less, or it won’t have any effect on the pain.

    I hope this will help others as it did me.

  23. Joe
    Cincinnati
    Reply

    I used to take Fish Oil which reduced, but didn’t eliminate the pain. Then I started CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) 300mg capsules on the advice of my physician and this completely took the pain away. This stuff is expensive, but I use the Costco brand and it less than half the price of other sources and works.

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