The People's Perspective on Medicine

Atorvastatin (Lipitor) Side Effects & Complications

Lipitor (Atorvastatin) may cause muscle pain and weakness in addition to memory problems including temporary amnesia.

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.

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
3.3- 96 ratings

Today's Newsletter Reading List

    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
    Cholesterol Control & Heart Health
    $1.99

    Heart disease is still a top killer, and high cholesterol is an important risk factor. This guide will teach you about the condition, as well as many effective treatment options.

    Cholesterol Control & Heart Health
    Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

    We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

    Showing
    100
    comments (368 total)
    Comments
    Add your comment

    Atorvastatin has almost killed me. My doctor told me that if I “didn’t take a statin that I would die” which is a very alarming statement. I was doubly apprehensive because I almost never respond to medications like other people, with a few exceptions.

    Where do I start? The first thing that happened was I developed horrendous foot pain. I was diagnosed with PF. I begged for an MRI and was subsequently diagnosed with actual tears to the ligaments of my right foot.

    It only took a month before the leg pain set in. I begged for blood testing, most notably A1C and Creatinine, and discovered that I had become Pre-Diabetic and that my Creatinine levels were at Stage II CKD. This horrified me. I live with someone who is an End Stage Renal Patient. This had NEVER been a health problem for me before.

    I asked my doctor(s) about this, and they acted like they had never heard of any of this. As it is 2019, I found that VERY difficult to believe. Rather than risk kidney failure and diabetes, I stopped taking Atorvastatin, and (mercifully) my blood sugars and Creatinine levels went back to normal. But my feet and legs went from bad to worse.

    Now I live with the fear that has been implanted in my brain that I could die from a stroke or heart attack at any minute. However, the possibility this MIGHT happen is still better than the absolutely certainty that I would develop CKD and Diabetes.

    I have Kaiser health insurance. There hasn’t been much good about it for me personally, but at least I could compare blood tests from many years ago to now. So it was pretty easy for me to pinpoint at what point my health took a dive.

    I hope and pray that the pain in my feet and legs will go away. Right now, it is just getting worse, and I am now fearful of ending up in a wheelchair. All because of this stupid drug that I was scared into taking.

    When patients are injured by a drug, they should have more recourse and valid solutions that can be offered to them. And while I understand that not everyone reacts to medicines the same, I really resent the push to “take this or you might die” attitude of my doctors.

    Today I went to see my husband’s cardiac Consultant with him to ask about his meds and my concerns about his irrational behaviour at times, more often than not. I had to tell them I was concerned that at least one of his meds could be responsible for these symptoms: memory problem, irritability, anger, hair loss, temper outbursts,and apathy. Living life treading on egg shells is not how I want to spend the rest of our married life after 42 yrs of a good marriage.

    I needed answers now, as my health was starting to suffer as well. Our local doctors won’t be any help, so this is the reason we needed to see the Cardiac doctor. My husband also suffered really bad shoulder pain for the last 2 yrs, but not any other muscle pain, since he’s been taking 80 mg of Atorvastin. Is that the culprit or was it a “frozen shoulder”? I have my doubts.

    The cardiac consultant has reduced the Atorvastatin dose by half. Just thought I’d say he had a heart attack first, then 18 months later another heart attack which turned into cardiac arrest x4 shocks, then life support. Hospital has given me hope. Let’s hope the lower dose statin will give me my husband back. Even if things improve slightly that’s enough for me to blame the statins.

    You must tell these doctors what’s going on in your life. You must speak up. Tell your doctor. If they ignore you go and see a specialist, as I did. He certainly listened and didn’t ignore me. He has adjusted my husband’s meds to see if things improve in a few months’ time. Popping whatever is given to you doesn’t mean it’s good or right for the patient or their family. This can destroy families. SPEAK OUT.

    I was on atozet 10/10 for 3 months its a combination of atorvastatin and zetia . I started to feel discomfort in my throat and its like choking feeling something is pulling my muscle inside “blocking airways”! For a few seconds with a neck pressure , i thought first its a panic attack but it happened to be everyday anytime of the day add to that i started to develop eye floaters in one eye which never happened to me .. my doctor said its not because of the drug but I have read a lot of bad reviews about it and comments like me , i stopped it and i hope all these discomfort feelings i have will gonaway , the choking feeling is really terrifying ! Has anyone experience that with atorvastatin ??

    I have been taking Atorvistatin 40mg. for about four years, I have having joint pain from my shoulders down to my toes, muscle aches in my arms, neck pain, ankle pain, just a horrible feeling throughout my body, preventing me from performing my daily duties. I even have pain trying to wipe myself after using the bathroom, my arms hurt so bad, I wake up with a headache every morning.

    I have been on the highest dose of lipitor for well over 10 years as, I have the family genetic predisposition toward heart problems. That was when i started to have palpitations. Was refered for heart scan which was fine. Verapimal was given, which worked but not as well as they did. Stopped the statins. Palpitations have eased a bit because I started taking coq10. I now have a new appointment with cardioligist next month to see if they can do something for me. I eat well and stay trim, but I’m staying off the statins till I am assessed at the hospital.

    I have been on a statin drug for 12 years. The last 2 of those years I was put on Lipitor. One day after my daily walk of 3 miles I noticed my knee and hip area hurt when I walked. I continued to walk each day pushing through the pain until one day I could not muster up the energy to walk. This went on for two months, and I never associated this pain or loss of energy with Lipitor.

    I began feeling depressed and still had pain, and nothing helped ease the pain. I tried stretching and yoga and over-the-counter pain medicine. I noticed when I rose from a chair or sofa I could not walk when I tried to take a step. I was in pain and too weak. So, I just shuffled my feet until I got going a few feet because of the pain in my legs. My husband mentioned to his barber that I was really in bad shape, and I didn’t know why I had gone down hill so fast. His barber asked if I was on any meds and if I was taking a statin drug. He said that they can cause muscle pain and weakness.

    When I heard this I researched side effects of statin drugs, and I had most of them. That night when I went to bed I got the worst muscle spasm in my back that it took my breath away, and in the morning I could not even get out of bed to walk. I stopped taking Lipitor that very day and called my doctor. I am staying off the drug for one month until my side effects are starting to subside a little more, and then I am going to my doctor to try to find another medication to help me instead of a statin drug. I never want to go through that pain and agony ever agian.

    I have been taking 10 mg of atorvastatin for about 5 years. A few months after I started it, I noticed my right hand was stiff, painful, and had small knots in the palm. I asked the Dr if the med could be causing it. I was blown off, as he thought it was probably arthritis. It is getting worse and is now on my left hand, although very mild. Also experiencing in my feet, with aches and pains all over my body occasionally. I think it could be the medicine. What should I do next? No one in my family has these kinds of symptoms.

    I have been on 80 mg for over 20 years and will be talking to my new doctor in making a switch , yes it works but my memory is gone.

    I have been on Atorvastatin about 4 months. I had muscle pain, but taking COQ10 seems to have taken care of this. I started losing hair at a fast rate. I was told that is a side effect, however I do not see it listed above, however I was told it had only been reported by a small number. A person working at my pharmacy said she is also taking Atorvastatin and is having hair loss as well. I have also noticed (and other people too) memory loss). I have stopped taking this and started taking the generic Crestor. I hope this is better.

    After being on Atorvastatin for about 3 yrs I started to have fatigue. It was bad. I had trouble waking in the morning and staying awake if I sat down to rest. I would fall asleep if I sat still even a few minutes.

    I started having headaches which is unusual for me. At first I did not think about it being from my medication. Later I started to have cramps in my toes and legs. That is when I started to wonder what was different. I stated to ask what could cause these things. I had talked to the MD and was told calcium would help the cramps, that the fatigue was due to aging, and the headache was most likely from being fatigued.

    When I moved I changed PCP and was taken off Atorvastatin when discussing these things that bothered me. All these things disappeared after being off this medicine.

    I’ve been taking statins since they came out…mostly lipitor/atorvastatin. Therefore, I’m a long term user; I never even thought about side effects. When trying to figure out if any drugs were aggravating my heartburn, I stopped atorvastatin for a month. 70% of my hip pain promptly went away.

    Before I quit, my hips were tender for the first 5-10 minutes of a hike…then tender on uphills. Now I don’t notice hip pain that much on hikes. I went back on atorvastatin every other day and my hips are still much better.

    In the past I was on Crestor. Then my leg muscles began to hurt, and my knees became so stiff that it hurt to bend them. As a person who rides a bicycle over 9000 miles annually I knew this was wrong. I started moving around like I was 112 years old. The day after I stopped taking that drug my legs improved. My new doctor put me on Lipitor. I told him the issue I had with the other statin. Within a week the same muscle and joint aches but WORSE. I noticed this on a Thursday, and by the end of the day I could barely walk down a flight of stairs. It has taken a week for my legs and knees to recover. I’ll run the risk of a heart attack versus ever doing a statin again and needing a wheelchair.

    I took Atorvastatin for about six weeks, and about two weeks into it I noticed a pain in my right shoulder and tingling down my arm. I also started to feel sort of wiped out for about 6 hours after taking the 20mg dose in the AM. I usually have so much energy that I can’t get to sleep at night. My shoulder pain started to bother me more so I went to an ortho doc and learned I had an injured rotator cuff. I’d never injured my shoulder or done any sport or activity that could injure it. I also recalled feeling crummy during the PM from about noon to 6pm, so I spoke to the pharmacist, and he said he has several patients who develop rotator cuff injuries and have to stop the drug due to that and other side effects. I spoke to my doctor who Rx’d it to me, and she agreed I could stop. Within a couple of days, I’m feeling normal again, getting better sleep, abundant energy has returned. I’m 64, and my cholesterol is 200 and sometimes higher, and they want it lower to reduce risk for cardio events, although I’ve had none yet and have low BP and am height/weight proportionate. Whatever the risk is, I feel much better after being off Atorvastatin for one week. I may seek another statin, but will do low dose and start exercising more.

    I am a 95 year old female,I have always been active 3 weeks ago I spent 3 days in Hospital the Dr there put me on 20 Gm Lipitor my own Dr halved this dose.But i still ended up with neck shoulder and arm muscle pain also leg cramps.

    On taking my morning medication I could not lift the glass of water.I stopped this med after only being on it for 5 weeks,see my Dr this week so will see what he has to say,but I will not go on any more Statins would rather do it naturely by diet.

    I am a 71 year old Female,had an aneurysm repaired 2 years ago was put on 40 mg atorvastatin,although my Cholesterol is only 175,which I thought was normal.
    After being on this medication 3 months I could not lift my arm one night the next night the pain settled in my shoulder,I have very minor arthritis in my fingers, but since starting the statin my legs hurt so much I had trouble sleeping at night, also pain across my shoulders prevented me from doing my daily walk, short of breath when I am up moving around, feel like I’m around 100 years old.I decided to go off my Statin,very big improvement in my well being, looking forward to living again.
    My husband is 77,he has been on atorvastatin about 3 years and going downhill every day, same problems as everyone else.Two weeks ago I took him off statin, he is feeling a little difference in his legs, but I believe with him exercising on his stationary bike to build his muscles back up will take a while to get back to the energetic person he was.Oh by the way, my husband’s cholesterol hasn’t gone down in 3 years, it’s just stable, it’s 200
    Statin takes CQ10 out of the muscle, your muscle needs this nutrient to refresh and stay strong, otherwise you end up in a wheel chair like my husband’s aunt, she could not walk any more because of Statin, her Dr’s told her that there was no reason she couldn’t walk. Amen
    Good luck to you all

    I have been on simavastin for 24 Years. Always had pain but recently got Lichen Planus in the mouth.
    I am getting a steroid injection tommorow and doctor has suggested I try coming off the cholesterol tablets for a while to see if my pain gets any better.
    I definitely am coming off them now as I have read on the internet that these tablets can cause lichen planus and this is horrible pain and blisters in the mouth. Anyone else got Lichen Planus because of cholesterol tablets?

    I have been on this Lipitor medicine for 3 yrs. 1 year ago I started having sever pain in legs,shoulders, back, neck, with headaches. my doctor took me off of them today 3-14-18. so I guess I will see how that works. hope all my pain will go away. I even had to use crutches to walk cause I could stand up on my legs. so I hope all of you guys get better soon. Susan

    I am now 70 and have been on Lipitor for chf for about 17 years. Now in the last year my legs hurt and go numb and I can barely walk. I am still working, i have a heart deal in my chest as I have been just passing out. Docs see my heart stops during night, but no cause. I take my Lipitor at night. I am stopping it today…… thank you. My cholesterol levels are next to zip. I am now hypoglysemic as well. I am done.

    I have been on Pravachol and Lipitor. I work out and have noticed lately that I can’t do what I’m used to doing. I’m exhausted mentally and physically. I thought I had the flu because I am having muscle aches in my shoulders, neck and thighs. I feel foggy and out of sorts. I stopped taking the medication last week and am hoping to feel like my old self sometime soon.

    I am 60 and have been on the lipitor for 5 years. Since then my cholesterol is perfect. However I’m getting night sweats; my whole body jumps(spasms) at night; I have pain and numbness in hands and arms; increased back pain from a few bad disk; and the sex is practically Gone. I stopped about 3 days ago, and all symptoms vanished actually on the second night. So hmmm, what do you think?

    Hi
    I have been on statins for at least 20 years. First lovastain and for several years simvastatin and now atorvastatin. I was prescribed this for partially occluded carotids. So far the occlusion has stayed about the same with no increase.
    I was getting too many leg cramps with the simvastatin. However, I am having recall issues with names and sleeplessness with the atorvastatin. I have been taking that for at least two years. I have taken breaks from it and been able fall and stay asleep better. I was taking a prescription sleeping pill and am not taking that any more. Shouldn’t need another prescription to counter a prescription. Lack of sleep and statins and zolpidem contribute to alzheimers. Do your own research. Also, have the itching and skin issues that others mentioned.

    Hi,
    I’m 55. My bad cholesterol was at 200 on the nose. My doctor put me on Lipitor. At first I noticed no real side effects.
    After about five years of taking Lipitor, I decided to start working out again with weights and cardio (after a two year hiatus). The first thing I noticed was that it hurt terribly to lift weights now. I thought it was the onset of arthritis so I just chalked it up to getting older. I found myself unable to get out of bed without moaning and groaning. I felt like I was 86, not 56. My shoulders seemed to always ache. I also couldn’t obtain any gains in how much weight I could lift.

    I also was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I was put on yet another medication to treat this illness. What a coincidence, eh?

    I researched Lipitor online and found your site and other sites that explained it causes muscle weakness and pain, and elevated blood sugars. Well, to make a long story short, I have stopped taking Lipitor and feel GREAT. I can lift just like before and I have no pain getting up or moving at all.
    I think one should consider the quality of life you have while taking a medication that should prolong your life. I personally believe it’s about profit, using fear of dying as a means to make people who have no history of heart problems or stroke pay out for needless pills.

    I want to stop taking Atorvastatin calcium what would happen if I did

    Nothing will happen if you get off of it.My Heart Dr put me on statin,my cholesterol is 175,I was on it for 3 moths and one night could not lift my arm,I thought it was arthritis, but upon reading up on this medication I was shocked of what this medicine does to a person.

    I have been taking Lipitor for 2 months. I find I have continual diarrhea, erectile disfunction, and skin rashes coming on my ares and having problems sleeping at night. I am 82 all these problems I did not have before I went on this medication.

    I started Lipitor Sept 1, 2017 and had bad stomach cramp. On Sept. 2 got hoarse throat and felt foggy. On Sept 4 got leg and foot cramps, felt mentally challenged, started coughing, felt feverish but had normal temp. Did not take 4th dose. Still do not feel ok. Still foggy, stomach crampy, called Dr. to say stopping med. Sent complaint to FDA. How long will this last?

    The real question is why are you on a statin, the side effects in my case are extremely unpleasant. age 72 I still do not know why I was put on a statin . I had a TIA 8 months ago. But what is the statin doing for me ? My wife is a dietician and my diet is excellent. My weight OK, I am also on a blood thinner which I can understand.

    I have stopped the atorvastatin — side effects gradually diminishing but still debillitating To say I am fed up, does not cover my feelings!

    I was on atorvastatin for 8 years, at first it was 10 mg no problems, then they increased it to 40 mg. and was ok for a while. Then I started to be tired all the time, could fall asleep any time any where. Thought it was over work and age, then he cramping started. So bad that it would wake me up in the middle of the night.

    Nothing was done, was told it was the aspartame in my drink. So I stopped that, it did not get better. Slowly in legs and arms got weaker to the point I could not walk. My mind started to get fuzzy and I couldn’t remember words. My doctor took me off the atorvastatin so far no change but it’s only been a few days. No matter what if I clear up I will never go back on anything like that again.

    I live alone and can not have these side effects. Please there has to be something that can be done about these kinds of drugs. I’m only 66 and walk and feel like 103.

    Started atorvastatin 40 mg November 14, 2016. November 29th I started having problems. First, diarrhea, then clay-colored stools, sweats/chills, fever, muscle pain, memory fog, and eventually my glucose levels elevated to pre diabetic (been hypoglycemic all my life). My doctor dismissed my concerns that it was this med. After 3 ultrasounds, hida scan, 2 CT scans, celiac, pancreatitis, gluten and other tests, i was told it was all in my mind.

    On my own I quit taking Atorvastatin, and 2 days later digestive problems stopped. 7 days later every other problem started clearing up. Waiting to have blood test to check glucose, but I am feeling 100% better off this med than on!! Best advice i can give – research yourself, and remember, no one knows your body better than you. Also, find a doctor who listens to you.

    Hi there,

    I am glad that someone else has the same side effects as myself, and that I am not crazy. I have had 3 heart attacks and I’m only 47, I have never smoked or drink. The hospital put me on Atrovastatin and I feel miserable. I have all the same effects as yourself. Just now I have all the feverish side effects as I’m typing this.

    I have cut out other medication as I thought it may have been them. Tonight I am cutting out this as I want to feel good for Christmas. You have given me some hope and my doctors have dismissed me aswell saying nothing is wrong. You know within yourself that something is wrong.

    I am now looking forward to Christmas and going without Atrovastatin.
    Merry Christmas and hope you continue to feel better.

    Catherine

    I am a 68 year old female and have been on Atorvastatin 10mg for a number of years. I have suffered from muscle weakness, memory fog, leg numbness, restless leg syndrome, dizziness, plantar fasciitis, am extremely tired, sleep apnea, on BiPAP, GI issues from swallowing to diarrhea; all the classic symptoms of fibro and cfs. Finally, after complaining forever to various doctors and having every test imaginable, about 3 years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and cfs. I also had Grave’s disease. Was good to have a diagnosis even though it is sort of a non-diagnosis.

    However, during the past 6 months things have been progressively going down hill. All the symptoms have been growing worse and worse until I could barely get up from a chair, had to use handrails to pull myself up the stairs one agonizing step with one leg at a time. At Christmas I couldn’t even put my arms behind my back, had bouts of dizziness, headaches, could’t think or remember well, RLS nightly, awake most of the night. The list goes on and on. The doctor told me it was because of all the additional holiday activities. Yea, right.

    My legs and arms were tingling. I have had EMG nerve tests. I had allergy tests, I had my TSH, T3, T 4 checked, you name it I had it and all came back normal. In Feb. I had a cold. One day I started itching like crazy, and my blood pressure was going up and up. Naturally, it was the weekend. Went to ER, and they said it was probably a side effect of the virus. Put me on prednisone and benedryl. Seemed to help until I stopped.

    At the follow-up visit with my doctor, my b/p dosage was doubled. Last month my heart started pounding like crazy, b/p again going up, the itching never went away, had tingling in my jaw and tightness in chest and arms. Naturally, it was the weekend again. Figured I better not take chances so off to ER, again. They did cardiac enzymes, ekg, chest x-ray and usual tests for heart. All came back fine. I was getting extremely upset with this entire mess so figured I would do my own research. Lo and behold, ALL the symptoms I have had for so many years are also the side effects of statin drugs. Do you think one doc would even consider that possibility? Of course not!

    Well, I comitted the unthinkable and went off atorvastatin!! I knew I had to do a follow up after ER anyway, so why not? Almost immediately the aches and pains decreased. When I saw the PA she gave me the lecture about how dangerous it was, and I would increase my chances of a cardiac incident by 12% over the next 10 years. I told her I was going to try being off it and watch my cholesterol for a while and asked her to do a baseline cholesterol sInce it was June and my last one was last November. Nope can’t do one of those til Aug. because ins. won’t cover two in a year. Oh, for Pete sake! Fine, I’ll take my chances.

    Turns out my GI guy wants to try me on a different med, and so he is ordering one. Heehee. Anyway, I am feeling soooo much better after only three weeks. It is amazing. My b/p is better, no more restless legs, my mind is feeling sharper again, my muscles don’t ache anywhere as much as they did. I can put my arms behind my back with ease; I can get up from a chair and not moan; I can go up and down stairs with ease, no more handrails; I can pick up and carry things again, no more tingling. I am not 100% yet, but so much better it is unreal. I still ache a little and feel there is room for improvement, but it has only been a few weeks. I am almost positive the statins played a HUGE part in how awful I felt.

    I am scared to death my cholesterol will go up, and I may have to go back on them, but for now I am loving the wonderful feeling. I am going to work harder at my diet and exercise more, now that I can move again. I can’t help but wonder how many others are diagnosed with diseases they don’t have due to statins. What a racket the pharmaceuticals have going. There are many good medications out there but many are dangerous and way over-prescribed.

    I wish someone would do an official study on the connection between fibromylgia, cfs and statins. It truly is scary. My husband is on them and having the same issues. He also is having kidney function problems. I keep telling him he better get off. He asked doc at last visit, but all she did was switch him to another statin drug. I am very concerned and going to be pushing harder for him to get off before they kill him. Sorry so long but wanted to give details and wonder how many others have same experience with statins and doctors pushing them and ignoring symptoms or attributing them to anything but statins. Good luck to all on here.

    Sandy,I am curious what your cholesterol count was when
    you started STATINS…..I know someone with symptoms exactly like you….she has taken statins close to 30years..
    I finally ask her what Her cholesterol ct was…after feeling worse and having Transient Global Amnesia…she said her cholesterol was 100.. For who knows how long…
    I was speechless. ! . Knowing she wouldn’t stop taking the med…..she was afraid of having a stroke…and the latest medical event she’s gone through has been having a stroke…
    Your body makes cholesterol .. it needs cholesterol to heal
    and doesn’t need to be too LOW..your brain is a large percentage made of cholesterol….know wonder the memory
    Problems and your heart is a muscle…..a lot more research
    for you…bless your heart….

    I have been taking atorvastatin now for several years, and I have complained t my doctor about being tired all the time, and my back, shoulders and neck always ache. I am tempted to just not take these anymore, and see how I feel when I am off them. I am 69 years old, and don’t like being so tired, and wore out all the time. I also break out in a sweat all over my body, it just seems to drip off my face and down my neck, and wonder if the pills might be part of that too? My blood tests have been really great with my cholestrol for the last several years now. If blood work is within normal ranges now, why should I continue taking this drug that causes so many other side effects?

    I started taking atorvastatin 10 mg after angioplasty some 20 years ago. Had no side effects. It kept cholesterol well under control but I still got angina and had to undergo bypass surgery for 4 blocks. After that doctor raised dose to 20 mg daily. Had no side effects for 2 more years. Of late I am experiencing muscle weakness and joint pain in lower back and both knees. Also some cramps and stiffness. Finding it difficult to stand and walk. Can it be due to atorvastatin? I am 79 now.

    I have been on Atorvastatin a couple of months. I am experiencing aching in my left shoulder and down my arm and to my hand even. It keeps me up at night. I am having trouble putting clothes over my head because lifting my lift arm is difficult. It has lowered my numbers, but I don’t want to continue. I am afraid it will affect more of my body eventually and even cause permanent damage. I am hoping another station could work and have lesser negative affects.

    2017, my doctor started me on 20mg of Atovastain, after 2 months I started with muscle weakness in my right arm , struggling to get dressed, I decided to come off them , I had a word with the pharmacy , who said I should have word with my doctor which I did, I have been off them for 2 months but still have the ache and weakness in my right arm and it can be very sore at times, I also have the foggy memory. I need help.

    I have had a period of sleeplessness getting only 2-3 hours of sleep. I feel excited and it seems
    to be insomnia. It seems to have started after a month or so of taking atorvastatin calcium tablets 20 mg. I cannot think of anything worse than sleeplessness and so have stopped for now taking the pills. My sleep patterns have improved. I can not positively blame atorvastatin for this insomnia but I sleep better now not taking the pills. My LDL cholesterol was lowered but I have also at the same time changed my diet. I no longer eat hamburger, only fish and chicken, so I will see if cholesterol can be lowered by a healthier diet without atorvastatin.

    Had a mini stroke in January 2017. Was put on 80mg tablet of atorvastatin in hospital. Took it for four weeks then the muscles started to deteriorate rapidly. Doctor reduced the tablets to 40 mg and said should be ok with that. A further three weeks later couldn’t walk and every muscle in my body ached. Just got to the stage where I didn’t take them at all and in three days felt 30 per cent better. After a further three weeks without them still in muscular agony. Anyone know what I can take to help me right this problem?

    I had very high cholesterol, 280. Prescribed Atorvastatin 20 mg, Began to have erratic blood pressure within a week of taking it going as high as 190 over 100, sending me rushing to the ER. Doctor put me on BP meds and upped my Atorvastatin to 40MG. Within a week the erratic BP continued and I developed a cough with Phlegm most noticeable at night before sleep and when I awoke. I then developed acute dizziness, severe soreness in chest and lungs, significant pain in my surgically repaired tendon in my hand, numbness that ran up my arm to my head on one side of my body. My labs came back with my total cholesterol reduced to 125. But I became prediabetic, liver function abnormal, and creative protein rising from 1 to 6. I stopped taking it and most issues completely resolved within 48 hours. May need to take a shot once a month for Cholesterol. No other treatment has limited side effects besides the shot. but expensive 20K a year.

    Wayne, 280 cholesterol doesn’t sound too high,
    But 125 sounds too low…..

    I recently saw my cardiologist on Monday. I mentioned that I had been having severe reactions concerning a massive build-up of gas, all starting when I ate an orange, so severe that I thought my chest was going to explode. I suggested she take me off Atorvastatin for a while to see if that was the problem. She freaked out when I suggested that. Instead she asked if I had heartburn. I said I did and ate Tums like candy. Then she prescribed me another drug to supposedly counteract the gas and heartburn, heartburn which she attributed to my diet.

    I went to get my prescription filled, and since I was getting a new med, the pharmacist wanted to instruct me as to how to use it. Before he did that, he reviewed my other meds, and mentioned not to eat oranges or lemons with Atorvastatin. So that it seemed was the problem with the severe gas build-up.

    My prescription had run out 4 days earlier and I had noticed some vast improvements in gas and heartburn, which I mentioned to my doctor. this also was dismissed out of hand. I did take an Atorvastatin pill that evening. The next day, Tuesday, I had gas build up problems and in the evening I ate a nectarine, and the severe reaction was almost immediate.

    I ceased taking Atorvastatin. Today is Saturday. Since Wednesday I have had no gas build up of any sort, I have had no heartburn, my constipation is improving and the low grade headaches I was experiencing have vanished.

    This seems to be a perfect example of the cure being worse than the disease.

    Statins may be life saving in rare instances, however, the side effects particularly long-term are devastating from head to toe. I believe that my husbands’ cardiac situation has worsened, actually is now life-threatening as a result of their long-term use. I am a former communications director of a major bio-pharmaceutical firm and hate to tell you, but most doctors are in bed with the drug makers. It is will be a couple of weeks until we see the cardiologist – one of them (he has a team, literally) and I am raising holy hell with the whole statin use abuse. His cholesterol has not even been checked for quite some time. His HDL and LDL levels were not even that bad. Be careful and remember, you are your only advocate! Don’t ever let a doctor intimidate you!

    I have been on Lipitor for maybe 20 years now, and I too have a lot of gas, problems with muscle pain, neuropathy in legs and feet; also left hand is numb. What can you take instead of Lipitor? Someone told me today to take garlic or a supplement of it. I am leery about just going off of it. I’m starting to get more “senior moments”. I know if I tell my PCP about it she will say I’m full of it. What can I do?

    I was prescribed Atorvastatin to lower my total cholesterol level which was 263. after 2 months, of taking 10mg (a low dose) every other day, the level went down to 196, but I developed severe twitching and dryness for the eyes. My doctor then lowered the dosage to 10mg every 2 days, but the side effects did not go away. I was taken off the drug, and after about 2 months, both side effects slowly disappeared. I am really afraid to go back to statins.

    I am a 46 year old female who was prescribed Atorvastation (Lipitor) about a year ago. I started having side effects right away, memory, concentration, muscle soreness and cramps, etc. My dr lowered my dose to 10mg every other day. Once these side effects seemed to taper a bit, I was able to start taking the full 20mg nightly but sometimes skipped because I felt so bad. Several months ago I started having pain in my upper right abdomen.

    I went to my dr who said if it persisted to come back. I went back again and nothing was done. I ended up in the ER twice being told that I had cysts on my right ovary that may be putting pressure on my organs.

    Finally, the night before last, I started looking at the side effects from atorvastatin (the only med I am on) and see that the pain in the upper right abdomen could be a dangerous side effect. I also had some other symptoms that I didn’t associate with the med, swollen abdomen, very dark urine, decrease urination. I stopped taking immediately and after just two days feel better mentally, like a brain fog has lifted. I am still having some pain in my abdomen but even that is much better.

    I had almost every side effect of this poison that one can have and I was wondering why I was feeling worse all the time but understand it now. I lately couldn’t walk across the room and remember why, could not remember almost anything for even a few minutes, aches /pain, stiff joints, muscle pain/ weakness, what feels like a urinary infection, fogginess/confusion, lack of patience/irritable, high blood pressure, insomnia, trouble when I stand, sit, walk for any length of time, diabetes, underactive thyroid and a lot more problems. I accidentally forgot to take Lipitor one night and felt really good the next morning, thinking it was an anomaly I resumed the next day & all symptoms came back.

    On it for 3 yrs and told Dr. 2 yrs ago how I was feeling-he blew it off as though I was neurotic. I also had to start taking Norco this year for increased pain which caused severe constipation. The psychological damage from this drug is quite severe. I even lost confidence in my ability to do anything or make decisions. This is completely out of character for me as I am a busy, feisty, cheerful 64 yr. old lady. I had to increase my depression drug as well. Last week I started taking a pill one day-then not the next for a few days and stopped the Norco altogether. My body & mind literally took a sigh of relief when I stopped Lipitor, my pain level has dropped to about 1/4 now. I can walk across the room without wincing, it appears I am getting my memory back, all my senses are sharper again, my depression less, other symptoms are receding or just stopped.

    I don’t feel cranky or paranoid as I did before. There are some things worse than death-I know because I have been living in a private hell for quite a while. I am looking for a new dr. who is hopefully a human being and not a greedy robot like so many. Wish me luck-I’ll need it.

    After atorvastatin being upped to 80 mg due to peripheral arterial disease, I’ve had 2 water infections anyone else had this?

    I have been on ATORVASTATIN 40 mg for about 5 years off and on. I say off and on because I have taken my self off different medications from time to time when I have problems like disorientation, bleeding, or cramping.

    In this 5 year time ,I have had a severe torn rotator cup and muscle repair and was Hospitalized for 8 days for a bad infection that nearly cost me my foot. I have sarcoidosis and was placed on ATORVASTATIN after having a tmi my vision went grey for about 1/2 hour .

    I have complained about calf mussel cramps in the night mostly. My mind function suffers small bouts of confusion from time to time . I feel much better when I am off the medication and have gone months at a time without it. Of course I worry about the silent killer of a stroke. Last year before my annual blood test I stopped taking it about a month prior to the test . The doctor (who had no knowledge of this ) did not have any real concern of the numbers but did say that they were a little high .

    I have ask about diet and have been told that with the medication I should not have to alter my diet . I went off the medication for about a month , While eating sweets one day I felt a little dizzy . this scared me into taking them again . with in 3 days my lower back started to feel like I was going to throw my back out (which happens every so often).

    not thinking that the ATORVASIATIN had anything to do with it , I kept taking it as prescribed , went to doctor and was prescribed the usual hydrocodone and Valium 20 pills each. then while taking all three the leg cramps started again . so I start the check list Drinking enough water ? 1/2 gallon to gallon a day , good rest . stretching , no new activity to cause mussel stress .

    I used to take 800 mg ibuprofen a day when I was dealing with my own health. now that I am under doctor care I have stopped that I have stopped smoking and drink very little if at all. I am going to stop taking this medication. I am quite sure that it is the cause of my calf mussel and is contributing to my back problems. And yes I have discussed with my nurse practitioner (doctor) and she said she didn’t think that it was the ATORVASIATIN and then jokingly said it’s better then a stroke.

    You may be able to tolerate a different statin better. Ask your nurse practitioner if you could try something else. A switch can be helpful for some people.

    I am male, 53 years old, no heart conditions, non smoker, 6′ 0″ 220 lbs, no history of heart trouble or high blood pressure but have HIGH colesterol. I have been on Atorvastatin 20mg for 16 month.

    2 months ago I started having problems with my exercises. I do a lot of cardio, cross-training and weights, not for mass building but just for general health. Most of my problems are muscle-related: overall body cramping and muscle aching. I feel as though I have torn a few muscles in my shoulder and right arm when I have not increased my level of workout.

    I have been off of these meds for 4 weeks now, and recently have been feeling sick, weak, and have deeper body aches, almost flu-like symptoms but no fever. I do drink alcohol moderately, but for two weeks now have not drunk any. Today I feel a little better.

    For the last 3-4 months I have struggled to have a “good” workout. I have really had to push myself mentally to get though it. I am now starting to understand why (side effects of the statin). I am hoping there is no permanent damage to my muscles.

    I have been told that high cholesterol can be a cause of my ED, but the same medical practitioner neglected to tell me that the statin med I take is also a cause of ED. I’m an angry man.

    I also would like to say I am told that I have an enlarged prostate . This has been aggravated by medications and has made urination and even sex difficult at times . A different doctor put me on TAMSULOSIN HCL 0.4 MG . WHAT A DIFFERENCE . Both problems vanished in 2 days . The problem is when I stop the TAMSULOSIN the urine problem returns with in 2 days

    I also would like to say I am told that I have an enlarged prostate . This has been aggravated by medications and has made urination and even sex difficult at times . A different doctor put me on TAMSULOSIN HCL 0.4 MG . WHAT A DIFFERENCE . Both problems vanished in 2 days . The problem is when I stop the TAMSULOSIN the urine problem returns with in 2 days

    I have been on lipitor for at least 10 yrs, now I am noticing, leg cramps and fatigue, dr took me off lipitor for a month, it’s been 4 months now, I am trying to lower my cholesterol by diet and exercise, but cannot walk far anymore or exercise because of the pain, in my legs and back, does anybody have this problem, and a solution?

    I have had shoulder & elbow pain for several years and a couple knuckles in my hands were inflamed & getter bigger. I was concerned that my outdoor gardening was coming to an end. Two weeks ago I stopped taking Atorvastatin. By the 4th day, my knuckles were not inflamed. Now they are a little swollen, but they look as good as I could have hoped. My shoulders & elbows are so much better. NO pain at all in elbows. One shoulder is a little touchy, SO much better than I could hope for. Will go for cholesterol check soon. jw

    I’ve been on statins for last 3 yrs after a stent & a double bypass. Since I have fibro, I’m accustomed to having muscle aches, fatigue, memory loss & fibro fog. I’ve assumed that is what I am dealing with though it feels increased. The worst symptom is that I feel short tempered, easily angered, & less patient in general. These symptoms interfere with the social service work I do! This pattern started when I started taking statins.

    I’m 42, slightly overweight and have a cholesterol of 220. My dad died from a massive heart attack and my mom had a mild one. Both in their late 50s. My dads brothers, 4 of them, died of massive heart attacks in their early 60s as well. So the doctor put me on this drug (the one that starts with a p), and within one day, I noticed massive muscle pain.

    I have Fibro and am already in pain each day from it, but this was worse. It was crippling me, as the week went on, it got even worse, to the point where I couldn’t even work. I didn’t want to do anything. I own my own business and have grown it to a mulitmillion dollar business in just over a year. But it requires me to work a lot, and it’s not something I can pay someone else to do.

    So finally I called my doctor and said.. I can NOT be on this. Actually left a message with his nurse because he couldn’t take my call. The nurse called me back and told me that they would find something else and I told him I wanted to talk to them about different options. Something that won’t cause pain. Then I didn’t hear back but got a phone call from the pharmacy the next day, that I had a new perscriotion. I went and picked it up and low and behold it’s still a statin. It’s this one ( atorvastatin), and I’m like??? It’s the same dang thing? Side effects are the same?

    I’m so annoyed my doctor couldn’t even spend 5 mins or even the nurse, talking to me about different options. I had just spent $300 on a visit with them for them to tell me I have it. I’m beyond annoyed right now and want to stop it all together. I would rather go hungry everyday than be in this much pain. I can’t been function. I have 5 kids at home, I run a business, my husband works for me, I can live life like this.

    I am on 10 mg Lipitor for 7 months. Always had 200 reading on my cholesterol. Dr said I had to take it. I’m 58 with family history of heart attacks.

    The last month, I began to feel like an old person! My shoulders ache, my hands seem so weak, painful fingers. My legs are always in pain, it keeps me up at night. When I get up after sitting, my body seems to not want to work. I said to my husband that I think I need a cane! He keeps telling me to rest. I’m exhausted, all the time. I feel so old! I’m so glad I stumbled on to this website! I will get in touch with my MD and stop the Lipitor.

    This drug has made me feel like an old er person of advanced years. I have gotten weak, my muscles ache my knees hurt, memory loss, pancreas pain, and increase of Flem in my throat making me throw up. I’ve been on this for approximately a year. My family kept telling me about my forgetfulness and I didn’t believe them until I started adding up all the symptoms. It even hurts to sit for any length of time. I stopped taking it and will see the dr. In a few days.

    My GP advised me to stop Lipitor for 30 days and resume again with 20mg daily. I was taking 40mg. I had been on it for about 3.5 yrs. after a heart attack and stent. I was experiencing severe muscle pain during the night. I was finding myself getting angry and frustrated at the most minor things. After 3-4 days off of statins, I am sleeping better, much less muscle aches and pains. Emotionally I am feeling better!
    I might even stay off of statins for good after the 30 days! But will discuss this with my doctor first. He says that in his practice, many people cannot tolerate statins very well. So he understands the situation.

    I had my first dose of Atorvastatin last night. It said to take at bedtime, so I did. I was awake all night. Today, besides being tired, I have a bad headache, leg and arm pains and stomach issues. This it the first long term prescription med I’ve ever been on, but think I’m deciding to be done with it. Everything I’m reading about it is much scarier to me than slightly high LDL’s. I’m uping my fiber, exercise and bean intake and will now only use olive oil products rather than anything with trans-fats. I’m determined to do this on my own without the statin already!

    My mother is 89 y.o. Was placed on several different medication for high cholestrol . She experience different side effects so her doctor would change the meds to either Liptor next Crestor and each one of them had terrible side effects. she spoke with another Dr. he told her to stop taking them. By that time the damage appear to have been done. Now she has been diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy. She feels no pain, has numbness throughout her body as well as weakness in her arms and legs. Difficulty with walking and holding or picking up items. These drugs seem to be dangerous. HELP!

    I am an active, physically fit, healthy 66 yr old except for borderline high cholesterol that I have been working to lower for almost 20 yrs. with diet, exercise and plant sterols. But with age, my cholesterol kept creeping higher. My PC suggested generic lipitor and I was terrified to take it. He said he has had good luck starting with a low dosage and because I am a small frame, thin female, he started me with 1 pill a week. 3 mos later I had my first blood test and had not yet experienced side effects. We reviewed my blood tests, cholesterol was down, but was not below 200 so he suggested 2 pills a week. OK, I thought maybe this will work. WRONG. Within 2 days of taking the 2nd pill I started experiencing horrific leg cramps that left my legs sore after cramp was gone, and then extreme exhaustion, I started checking the side effects and was horrified that I had started this drug. I purposely did not check before taking – did not want to be negatively influenced – hoping this might be ok for me. I immediately bought COQ10 and worked up to 200 mg a day and the leg cramps slowly disappeared. Has taken longer to get my energy level back. I still kept up my normal exercise routine but found it difficult to make it to work each day. 10 days later I am feeling close to normal but have not taken any medication. I know I should consult my physician, but don’t want to start on a downward spiral of trying other medications with the same effects. And, there is not a physician anywhere that can tell you how you will react to a drug. Trying to come up with a plan of action, just not sure what it will be!

    I have been prescribed Atorvastatin 10mg & Rampril Capsules 5mg with Aspirin Gastro-resistant Tablets IP 75mg (POLYTORVA-5 Kit) by my family Doctor eight years ago and I have been using the same. Whenever I went for Master Health check-up, physicians advised me to continue the medicines. Just because I have some family history in heart attacks, they were advising me to continue the drugs. But with life change habits we can get rid off these medicines. I have experienced muscle pains with short time memory loss. I found even the skin got effected. Seriously I want to stop these life saving drugs immediately. I personally feel that I am going to embrace more dangerous side effects in future (Old age) . Now I am 61 years old male. Can anybody suggest alternate ?

    Have tried various statins over the years, gave them up as a bad job for a while after muscle pains & numbness in lower legs & feet.
    New GP so thought I’d give them another go as things may have changed over the years. Within a week of going on Atrovastatin have developed palpitations . No more statins for me.

    My new doctor sees no reason for me to be on cholesterol lowering drugs, since I had terrible reactions to “the drugs” and since I have no heart related problems. Low B.P, no sugar, only the high cholesterol which I relate that to 20 years ago when I stopped eating eggs, which I had enjoyed every day. Remember the eggs scare?? Now eggs are good for you!!

    I tried ALL the statins, only to have terrible muscle pain and balance. The doctor insisted I needed to be on “something” to bring down my 300 cholesterol count and put me on, as he said, “something different, not a statin”. OK, TRICOR!! Brought down the cholesterol number very quickly and suddenly my toes were numb. That was 2 years ago, and I have, as he said, “permanent neuropathy”. I don’t use THAT doctor anymore, besides he now became a “concerige doctor”. HEIDE

    Its sad to think doctors would keep a person on medications that are not necessary just to keep them coming back, for example atorvastatin ( Lipitor ) a cholesterol lowering drug, when used requires periodic blood work to check cholesterol levels and liver functions. Its all about money, between the medical field and drug manufactures, which work together has turned wellness, which should be the priority, to big business, which is a problem. What ever happened to trusting a doctor and the oath they take, most patients know little about the conditions their being treated for. The more the patient knows about the treatment their receiving, the better they will feel about the doctor’s choice. After all its all about you.

    I have been taking atorvaststin now for about 10 years, and have complained to my doctor about feeling tired all the time and muscle aches and sometimes I have foggy memory. Why would my doctor not tell me that Lipitor could cause these side affects ? Should I just stop taking them? I take 20mg every day. I also have problems with bouts of constipation and stomach problems. I feel the FDA should let people know what kind of poisons they are putting into their bodies. Do the doctors want us to depend on them forever? I am very upset about all this.

    I was on 40 mg for two months and feel awful. Had blood work done and had elevated liver enzymes as well as creatine issues. Going off this drug immediately. Anyone else with these problems?

    I have been taking Atorvastatin a little over six months. I first noticed marked memory retrieval about 3 months ago… chalked it up to aging. I have had pain and weakness in my left shoulder for a slightly longer time, maybe 4 months, and now I have pain and weakness in my right shoulder. Both of these without known injury. This week I began putting these together, and wondered if the statin might be the cause. I take 200mg of CoQ10 with the statin, as my doctor prescribed, in order to avoid muscle pain and weakness. Didn’t know to link memory issues and concentration times to it until I looked up shoulder pain with statins. Now I know the cause of my problem and will talk with my doctor about finding another way to lower cholesterol.

    I’m 55 started to take atorvastatin (Lipitor) 10mg and after a week I was feeling like an old man, memory loss, pain in lower legs, palpitations and raises heart beat, burning in urine, pain in pancreas area and most of all confused.
    My cardiologist told me to reduce it to .5 mg every other day I did that but not any better so I stopped taking it and after a week all symptoms went away, I then started taking it again after about a month and all symptoms came all back. For me is the Lipitor doesn’t work.

    I am 67 years old with a history with heart attack. In the last 6 years, I have used both Crestor and Atorvastatin. Both these drugs have caused severe foot burning, and muscle cramps, especially in legs, shoulders, and neck.

    But I guess Atorvastation is the worst of the two. I started taking Atorvastation in Feb 2015, and since then in terms of leg muscle pains, my life has become hell. With a 5Mg dose, I have been experiencing memory loss, ED, nightmares, degeneration of leg and arm muscles, and lack of interest in social life. This medication may be keeping me alive, but has made my life hell. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth living when I am constantly suffering from pain.

    As far as the doctors are concerned, in my opinion they have no clue or don’t want admit that these medicines have serious effects and are making certain people lives miserable. I think, it’s high time FDA re-reviews the benefits of statins vs the serious side effects it is causing to many patients.

    I intend to stop taking Atorvastatin altogether and go for some alternative natural remedial measures to keep my LDL in check

    I am, seriously.

    I have been on simvostatin for several years but just over a year ago I was diagnosed with early coronary heart disease and at first was put on 40 mg of atorvastatin increased to 80 mg. I eat healthily and have been to Slimming World and go to the local sports centre 5 days a week. My memory has become worse and short term memory is awful. I am getting confused all the time and my family think I am developing Alzeimers. I know I’m not. I decided to look up about atorvastatin and was gobsmacked re the memory problems and confusion. I lost my mobile 2 days ago when out walking my dog on fields I have walked for years . I was lost and had no idea where I was. Relieved that it could be down to this drug and not starting with Alzeimers.

    12/28/2015
    I started atorvastatin 40 mg in August 2015 to further lower LDL (80) because of a very high calcium score (over 1500) for my right coronary artery. I also changed my diet and began a more rigorous exercise program, but my LDL only went down to 72 in 4 months. And I stopped dreaming and woke up not feeling rested, had trouble starting to urinate, but otherwise felt okay. I asked my cardiologist if I could increase the dosage. Since I started taking 60 mg on December 15th, I feel like an old sick woman. I am lifeless, have low energy, it’s fatigue really, don’t care about things I used to love, and in general am cranky and even belligerent at times. But now the worst is that I have these localized flashes of severe pain in certain parts of my head… worse than headaches… and a cough. I don’t think I will be able to continue at this dose, sadly, because I want to reduce my risk for a heart attack. Is there any other stating as effective with fewer side effects?

    I was on Lipitor for about a year. Started getting kidney pain and joint pain, no energy and no memory. Then my hands swelled up and looked like two scalded lobsters. I quit taking the Lipitor and started taking Artichok leaf extract instead. No more side effects, energy is back, mind is back and cholesterol readings are good. I also went off all my other heart meds and now take celery seed extract and olive leaf extract. Great results and my doctor is pleased with the results

    Just started taking Lipitor and immediately have experienced leg pains I keep cutting it back but even when taking 10mg every other day I get leg pains. After reading all the other people who have had problems, I’m thinking of stopping it.

    About 5 years ago I took Simvastatin. After about 10 weeks, my left knee swelled. I stopped the Simvastatin and the swelling went away. I resumed taking Simvastatin and the swelling returned. I took the Simvastatin for a few more days and the swelling expanded down to my left ankle. Again I stopped taking the drug and the swelling went away. My internist at first agreed with me, but on my next visit he changed his mind and wanted me to resume. I found another doctor who actually cares about me.

    Seven weeks after being prescribed Atorvastatin (10mg) for Cholesterol control (it was only 4.4! I suddenly experienced middle of the night frighteningly rapid heart beat which took 15 min to subside, this has continued for 16 various acaisions over 4 months. Dropped statin after 6 weeks symptoms not yet ceased. D’r s don’t agree on link – but it can’t be a coincedence!! any others with similar experience?

    I have been on atorvastatin for about 3 years. My major complaint is the cough; I developed a cough that sounds like I smoke at least a pack a day. I don’t smoke at all!

    I know it is the atorvastatin because for 1 week I was without the meds and the cough went away. When I started it again, it returned.

    I’m done with statins. Drastically changing my diet for results.

    I started 10mg of (generic brand) lipitor in June. About four weeks into taking the drug I went to the emergency room. My vision was spinning and turning side ways. It happened three times one morning before noon. I thought I had a tumor or worse having a stroke. They drew blood, & did several other tests. I also had a cat scan. They came back with a diagnosis of Vertigo.. So I let that go and thought “Well~ old age & another blessing of ageing”! During these past five months I have had blurred vision at times, while on computer or when reading text messages on phone. Also, during the first four months I had itching that would prevent me from sleeping and or wake me up out of a sleep. Again. I’m thinking age related ~ Now this past month I have had severe lower back aches. For no apparent reason.

    I was visiting my sister-in-law and told her about my Vertigo, she then asked what drugs was I taking? I told her and she suggested going off and see if it makes a difference.. Well I came home and researched the drug. All of my symptoms are related to this drug…Needless to say I stopped taking it… It’s been a week now…I will never take that drug again..I opt for natural drugs, vitamins & anything that will not cause other life altering problems…I am 64…High cholesterol is a health risk but I don’t want to damage other organs or have all the side effects from this drug…Diet~exercise~ my plan…Hope everyone does research before taking this drug..

    I have joint pain and elbow pain on the left hand I’m feeling fatigue.. Sex problems when having sex. However I can get an erection and ejaculation but my penis is numb no feeling an orgasm at all .. Just need to know if my joint pains is minor should i stop taking it ? My pills are 20mg …

    My doctor recommended COQ10 along with the atorovastatin (Lipitor—-the most lucrative of all time. Is that why the $10 million “bonuses”) for the cough; it works, but after reading all the other side effects I think I’ll quit anyway. I guess that means giving up my daily bowel of ice cream.

    I began generic Lipitor around 1 year ago and did not make the connection when I first hyperextended my right elbow in my gym class then the left. Then I thought I had a blood clot in the back of my left knee because there was pain. Almost like the elbows. Then in an unrelated event I had a hysterectomy.

    While healing I was stiff and sore. I thought it was the healing process? anesthesia? Then the elbow again but hey – I’m not at the gym…I’m barely moving…. wtf? I thought again about blood clots (I had been on yaz) so asked doctor who said it could be the lipitor.

    I stopped the drug and she did tests which came back negative but I got much much worse in the next week. I could barely get out of a chair and was walking like monkey – legs bent and spread apart… attractive for a lady.

    Most of the pain was in the groin/hips, and also shoulders, with radiating pain in my wrists and fingers, neck pain and lower back pain. It was difficult to sleep because my shoulders were so sore… my doctor refuses to believe it’s the drug because of the test (test for muscle wasting) and thinks it’s osteo arthritis. No way – until my surgery I rehab houses and was a total gym rat…. boot camp, kick boxing, weights… no way. I would have known. She gave me prednisone. I lost the pills (oh did I mention my memory is on the fritz!!!!!) so I started ibuprofen. 2 days later I feel looser.

    I’m going to keep on the ibuprofen for a few more days and then if I still am in pain I will take the prednisone (I found it after 2 days of searching it was sitting in the middle of the kitchen counter) but I am curious which one is working so I won’t overlap. So…a bit looser and less hip/groin pain but still lots of pain shooting from my butt into my left leg.

    This has been terrifying. I was worried it would be permanent. I’m still not sure. waiting and hoping. 49 yrs old. Too young to be a cripple. I will never ever ever take a statin again. ever.

    I am 52 and have been taking 10 mg of Lipitor for approximately five years. I have developed severe joint pain, some memory problems, sleep disruptions, and occasional increased heart rate. Although I eat a healthful diet (semi-vegetarian), exercise at least 3X/wk, and have maintained a healthy weight for years, I dismissed my symptoms to aging and menopause. The joint and muscle pain became so severe that I had to give up a yoga class I had been taking for years. After consulting with my doctor, I have reduced my Rx to 4-5X/wk, but have not seen much improvement. I now have a rotator cuff injury and the onset of arthritis in my left hand that make me question if Lipitor has contributed or aggravated my problems.

    I am 58 years old and I took atorvastatin for over a year. My doctor prescribed 20 mg a day and after reading online that as little as 3 mg a day can lower your cholesterol significantly I started taking a third of a tablet every other day. I later upped the dosage to 10 mg every other day and my cholesterol went from about 250 down to 195 at 1/3 tablet down to 158 with 10 mg every other day and all seemed fine until I started to have tightness in my right leg muscles than pain in my right hip, than the left hip and also my left ankle. I was literally to the point that I could barely walk up stairs. My doctor said to stop taking Atorvastatin to see if that brought improvement which it gradually has. Thought I had used caution but apparently this drug does not agree with me. Maybe I can go 2 weeks on 2 weeks off or something like that?

    Why ? Why take it? total cholesterol at 200 isn’t bad.

    I am 26 and had a cholesterol level of 228. I was in the hospital for 48 hours for a possible stroke and was told to take a baby aspirin in the morning and the 20mg of Atorvastatin before bed. I’ve only been taking it for a week, and am experiencing so many symptoms. They still aren’t sure if I had a stroke or something else (like the possibility of having multiple schlerosis) that is affecting my brain. I thought my side effects were perhaps the possible MS that was worsening perhaps, but after reading these comments I am stopping it ASAP.
    My side effects that I have only noticed since I started atorvastatin:
    -Muscle weakness
    -Extreme fatigue(worsens each day)
    -Neck muscle weakness and pain (my head now bobs a bit)
    -My writing has noticeably worsened
    -Really frequent urination
    -Arm muscle pain
    -Dizziness
    -Amnesia and severe confusion
    -Trouble sleeping
    -Headaches right after taking (atorvastatin)

    And these are just some of the most noticeable symptoms, I also get hot flashes now.

    Basically, I’m NOT myself and everyone around me has noticed this. I’ve also become somewhat afraid to leave my house (not sure if that is to do with the drug) My mother-in-law led me to research this drug and it’s effects. I just hope nothing is permanent, because it’s already enough that people can barely understand me when I speak now. And to add all of this to the mix, it’s more frustrating.

    I will continue eating healthier and add exercise as soon as the fatigue fades away. I will also continue taking the baby aspirin in the mornings.

    I’m 52 and started taking Lipitor and an 81 mg aspirin a day the first part of January this year after being diagnosed with fairly high cholesterol. Started having stomach issues in May, and extreme tiredness and memory problems in August, forgetting names and things that I had known all my life. But didn’t realize this could be the Lipitor until reading about some of the possible side effects in September. Just recently started having tingling and slight numbness in my right foot and big toe. Wondering if I should take a hiatus for a week or two to see if these symptoms go away. I have avoided going to the doctor for most of my life for anything other that sinus infections and have been fairly healthy otherwise. My doctor is not very responsive to patient concerns, just that “he knows what’s best”. Maybe I should look for another physician as well…..

    Hi Al,that what doctors do when they see a persons cholesterol numbers go up,prescribe a statin drug,they did it to me and a lot of my friends that we were all about your age now when the numbers started to go up on us too.Need to know how many mgs. of the Lipitor or our you taking the generic Atovastatin?

    I’ve been on Atorvastatin for about 2 years after I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I have been having leg cramps,hip pain[left side], numbness in same leg, tingling in toes,hands[I play bass guitar and sometimes I cant feel my fingers on the fretboard]. If I stand while I talk to someone at work for a few minutes,my leg goes numb from my hip to my foot[kinda like when your leg/arm “Falls asleep”] I’ve had to sit down and wait for the tingling to go away. I also take a medication for HBP and since I’ve been on that,I have had NO sex drive of any kind. I cannot get or keep an erection,it has been 15 months since my wife and I have attempted to have sex. After reading all of these side effects,I am seriously thinking about stopping for a couple of weeks to see if the hip/leg pain/numbness goes away. My GP said she will have a specialist come by to tell me that” For every day you take this,it’s a day you will be alive and not have a heart attack!” Starting to doubt that ! Going to bookmark this page and come back in a couple of weeks and update . Thank you everyone.

    I have been on Atorvastatin (Lipitor) for a year and a half, almost. I had a massive heart attack at 58 years old and at that time my cholesterol was over 300. I have always had high (genetic) cholesterol but never took cholesterol medicine.
    My experience with this statin drug has been like many of you. I feel 80 years old- my body aches badly all of the time. I have severe cramping in my feet and hands. (I am also type 2 diabetic with neuropathy in both hands and feet). My lower back hurts most of the time and I waddle when I walk, shifting back and forth, whenever I get up from a sitting position. It is embarrassing to me and also painful. I go back to the doctor for my check-up tomorrow and I plan to discuss this issue once again for alternatives. I do not want my cholesterol to rise….
    I am trying to get back on a work out routine because I need to lose quite a bit of weight. I used to walk daily but have not been able to for months. My working out has come to a complete stop for over a year. I hope we can find a way to lose the pain and get me on a good regimen again….

    I have been on Atorvastatin for about 6 weeks now. I started noticing some ED and slightly blurred vision in addition to generally not feeling well.

    My nephrologist started me on 20 mg of Lipitor for elevated cholesterol in March. At my visit to my Diabetes doctor in September, my blood tests showed elevated liver enzymes, increased A1C and glucose serum readings. My cholesterol was lower. He suggested that I stop the Lipitor for two weeks. I immediately noticed that ailments I had been having ceased to exist when I stopped the Lipitor. I had been experiencing nausea, indigestion, extreme tiredness, lack of appetite, craving for carbs, pain in my shoulder and left arm muscle that wakes me up at night. Occasional leg cramping is less of a problem. I will retest in two days for liver enzymes. I had no problem taking Crestor. I will not take Lipitor any longer.

    My husband was started 5 weeks ago on lipitor after a heart attack. He now has severe back, knee and elbow pain. Going to the cardiologist on Tuesday, definitely one of the top questions for him.

    My doctor prescribed Lipitor about 2 years later I was told I had elevated blood suger levels. 1 year after that I was told I had type 2 Diabetes. I key taking Lipitor with no other problems for almost 10 years, Then my precription plan would only pay for the generic Atorvastin. That is when my problems started after 2 or 3 months I could hardly walk. I felt as if I was an old man. I was 55 at the time and very active. I am a Carpenter by trade and was Building myself a new home and could hardly do any of the work. My doctor was no help so I stopped taking the pills and about 1 month later I could then stand up straight and walk with no pain, I will never take any type of those pills again.

    My mom was on statins (Zetia & Lipitor jointly) for a couple of years and then for an 8week period could not walk without assistance. Her doctor stopped her meds for that period and then readjusted her meds once she was able to walk again. Now ever since she ‘s been on statins her walking has become noticeably slower. Forward 4 years and she again is having problems walking, shuffling her feet, and now has memory problems. We have told the doctor she no longer can take these meds because of the horrible side effects. It has been 7 weeks of no meds and the side effects don’t seem to be getting better. Totally at a loss and starting to become discouraged.

    I’ve been on statins for about 15 years due to hereditary high colesrtol. I’m thin & am in good health at 51. They switched me to Lipitor a few years ago & I never thought I had problems with it. However in the last few months I’ve had neck back & arm pain during the night (I take my pull before bed) I’d never have linked it until someone made a comment about it & I started looking into it. Since I have no other health issues, doc agreed to stopping for a month to see what happens….

    Two years ago I had a TIA and prescribed Simvastatin to reduce the possibility of a heart attack. During my second year I noticed a derioration in my health, with increased tremors and loss of coordination. In June I had two attacks which were similar to TIA but because of my descriptions of my health in general, the doctors suspected some form of neurological problem. Interestingly one of your correspondents described problems with temporary memory loss similar to my experience. I was aware of my surroundings but could not remember names of people or how to use my mobile phone to call home for example.
    Various tests have proved negative. In the meantime, as I was aware of potential problems with long term use particularly with Simvastatin, which is known to be more toxic than Atorvastatin, I persuaded my GP to prescribe Atorvastatin.
    The symptoms have now disappeared and I am back to my previous good health.
    Nevertheless, judging by the comments from other contributors, there is no certainty that there will not be an effect from Atorvastatin sooner or later.
    I therefore thank them for their comments, and intend discussing the matter again with my GP.

    I have been taking this drug for a few years now. I have been having a lot of cramping in neck, arms, stomach,and legs. I have spasms and been having headaches. My forgetfulness I thought was just me lol. But today I went to the doctor and told him what I have been feeling for about two months and he strongly thinks it is from this drug and I am now stopping the drug for two weeks to see if it is the problem. I am praying it is after reading that for most this goes away once it drug is stopped. Just want to feel better!!!

    Just wondering if the joint pain I am experiencing is related to Atorvastatin. I was taking Pravastatin for 2 years then my GP changed me to Atorvastatin and after 2 weeks I suddenly had severe pain in my pelvic area which then radiated into my right leg. Had lots of ultrasounds and yesterday an MRI scan. After reading these articles I have decided to discuss with my GP whether to stop taking Atorvastatin in the hope the pain will improve.

    I took atorvistatin for 2 months. I developed severeuscke cramping in my hips which became increasingly debilitating . Even after quitting, 9 months later I’m still experiencing this extreme pain. It has completely altered my life.

    Got very bad abdominal pain
    Lower back pan after taking for 1 month. After stopping all the pains are gone.

    Due to mildly elevated cholesterol I was originally prescribed to take Zetia as alternative to a statin. This worked well in controlling my numbers, and I took it for several years without any issues.

    In February of this year my (new) doctor changed me to Atorvastatin for reason that he believed it would be more effective and at much lower cost. A couple of months later I started developing severe leg cramps which awakened me from sleep every morning. I also developed painful finger cramps the would cause both of my index fingers to lock at a 90 degree angle relative to my hands, and would not subside for several minutes.

    Further, I developed tennis elbow in my left arm which would not allow me to participate in golf for several weeks. I complained to the doctor and was put through blood tests to check my electrolite levels. It was prescribed that I use cold pack for my elbow and to eat an orange every day for the cramps.

    Nothing seemed to help until one day I was doing a web search in attempt to determine cause for the leg and hand cramps. Atorvastatin was mentioned as a possible issue. I did a trial hault from taking the medication for a couple of weeks. The leg and finger cramps totally went away within one day, and the tennis elbow lasted about 10 days. The doctor insists that the change wasn’t due to the medication, but I got a prescription renewal for Zetia and I have been pain free for over a month.

    Have been having the aches and pains, feel really drained,and dizzy most of the time. Lately getting the tingling in my hands, and legs. Have been on lipitor for 4 months now.

    My husband started taking this drug about 2 years ago. He ended up with ED, tingling in his hands, constantly complaining of all over body soreness, leg cramps, headaches and more. He decided to stop taking it yesterday so he can see if there is any improvement. He acts and sounds like he’s 80 and he’s only 56. Hopefully he will feel better.

    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!!!

    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.

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

    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

    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!

    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.

    Did you stop cold turkey?

    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.

    I am almost 70, started taking Lipitor in 1999 following quadruple by-pass surgery. I began with 10mg daily; this was increased to 20mg daily around 2010 after a carotid artery test. In June the dosage was increased to 40mg – apparently the recommendations for LDL levels keep being brought down if one has had by-pass, stents, attack. My wife tells me my cognitive ability & concentration is not as good as it used to be. And I have joint pain and weakness (shoulders, thumb/wrist, knees). Meeting with new cardiologist this week to discuss.

    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.

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^