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.