The People's Perspective on Medicine

Statins Are NOT a Magic Bullet for Longer Life

Doctors may tell patients that statins will save their lives, but they don't say how much longer that life will be. New data shows you can count it in days.

Current guidelines from heart experts insist that virtually every man over the age of 63 and every woman over 70 should be on statin-type cholesterol lowering drugs, regardless of risk factors. What they don’t tell you is how little actual benefit (in terms of longevity) a statin buys you.

Many health professionals are now convinced that drugs like like atorvastatin, lovastatin, pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin, rosuvastatin (Crestor) or simvastatin save lives, but for how long?

How Long Will Statins Prolong Your Life?

When a doctor tells you a medication is effective for what ails you, there is rarely a discussion of actual outcomes you as a patient might really care about. Many medications can lower what are called “surrogate endpoints” such as blood sugar, blood pressure or LDL cholesterol. But the the ultimate outcome questions from a patient’s perspective are: “will this drug improve the quality of my life and prolong my life?”

A new study of statins in BMJ Open (Sept. 24, 2015) titled “The Effect of Statins on Average Survival in Randomized Trials, An Analysis of End Point Postponement” attempts to answer the question about how effective statins are at prolonging life. Surprisingly, this is the very first analysis of “postponement of death as the primary outcome.”

What the study did:

  • Analyzed all RCTs (randomized controlled trials) involving a statin vs. placebo in which the investigators actually collected data about postponement of death.
  • Assessed six studies that involved otherwise healthy patients without a history of heart disease (primary prevention).
  • Assessed five studies that involved patients who had already experienced a heart attack or were diagnosed with clear heart disease (secondary prevention).

What the researchers found:

“Death was postponed between -5 and 19 days in primary preventions trials and between -10 and 27 days in secondary prevention trials.”

“The median postponement of death for primary and secondary prevention trials were 3.2 and 4.1 days, respectively.”

Conclusions:

“The survival gains we found are surprisingly small. The highest value was 27 days, found in the 4S study, achieved by 5.8 years of simvastatin therapy in participants with a history of unstable angina or myocardial infarction. Experience from studies of preferences, when presented with similar scenarios, shows that as many as 70% of lay persons would not accept such a treatment.”

The researchers go on to suggest that “statins should be prescribed according to the prevailing guidelines.” But they also point out that if patients experience unpleasant statin side effects, especially muscular problems, “physicians should not be too insistent on the patient continuing them. Also, for patients whose life expectancy is short, the benefit of statin therapy in terms of survival gain may be quite limited.”

Statin Side Effects:

There are many health professionals who don’t believe believe that statins really cause side effects. Find that hard to swallow? Here is an analysis of statin side effects in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (April, 21, 2014):

“Clinicians often assume symptoms occurring with statins are caused by statins, encouraging discontinuation. We test this assumption and calculate an evidence-based estimate of the probability of a symptom being genuinely attributable to the statin itself.”

Conclusions:

“Only a small minority of symptoms reported on statins are genuinely due to the statins: almost all would occur just as frequently on placebo.”

These physicians went way past the idea that statin side effects are infrequent, as in a “minority” of cases. They emphasized that this is a small minority. In other words, most statin side effects are probably psychosomatic, brought on by suggestion. Remember, this conclusion comes primarily from industry sponsored research.

Epidemiological studies suggest that the rate of statin side effects is much higher. One group of investigators noted that 5 to 20 percent of patients stopped statins because of adverse reactions such as muscle pain, muscle weakness, brain fog, cognitive dysfunction, cataracts and peripheral neuropathy (Current Opinion in Rheumatology, Nov. 2013).

Real Patients with Real Stories:

Although many health professionals would like to believe that statins don’t cause side effects, visitors to this website would beg to disagree. Here are just a few examples of the thousands of reports we have received about adverse drug reactions from statins:

Steph:

“I have been prescribed statins and have been on them for several years. I have severe muscle aches and cramps, joint pain, pain in both butt cheeks and shoulders. I have trouble with everyday care such as brushing hair, closing hatchback, walking, standing, etc. I thought I had arthritis!

“A chiropractor suggested it could be statin use and I didn’t believe it until I stopped taking the statins and noticed significant improvement. My primary care doctor wants me to continue use but quality of life is so impaired on them that I am now seeking other advice and options.”

Amy:

“I was taking lovastatin for years and it controlled my cholesterol levels.

“The last year I was experiencing severe neuropathy in my legs and feet. It was an extreme pins and needles feeling! I was tested by my neurologist and he diagnosed me as having neuropathy. I was going to be treated for it. Doing some research I discovered that some statins do cause pain such as what I experienced.

“The pharmacist agreed with side effects I was experiencing although he said it was unusual. I discussed this with my cardiologist who disagreed.

I discontinued taking the medication and felt better within weeks. My cardiologist said was a coincidence; my neurologist said it was a coincidence. I would like to find an alternative but in the meantime I’m sticking with my decision.”

Jay:

“After two years of statin use and side effects ranging from total disorientation, sleep disturbances, muscle aches and central sleep apnea, I stopped taking statins. Feeling great but wonder how many others have suffered from central sleep apnea (ie, brain does not signal body to breathe) from statin use.”

L.A.B:

“Statins have changed my father’s life – for the worse. He was prescribed cholesterol medication at 72 (when his cholesterol level was 195), and within a year he’s gone from active and vital to easily exhausted and old. It makes me so sad.”

M.J.:

“I took several different cholesterol-lowering drugs. My doctor finally settled on Lipitor. I took it for two years then developed intense leg muscle pain. I told my doctor who didn’t seem concerned. I changed doctors and went off the Lipitor and the pain went away. I also had elevated blood sugar.”

D.X.C.:

“I was placed on statins several years ago and after a few months experienced muscle and nerve problems which stopped my daily walking. I also developed memory problems attributed to the statin.

“Now, with a new doctor, I was prescribed a newer statin with the promise it was a better drug. After 3 to 4 days on the drug my leg muscles became weak, my back muscles froze up during walking and I stopped the drug immediately. Several days later I’m now back to feeling really good. Why don’t doctors listen to us?”

Bottom Line from The People’s Pharmacy:

The new research cited at the top of this article suggests that statins prolong life a few days (if you are otherwise healthy). “Few” in this case would be roughly 5 to 19 days. This was based on the length of the primary prevention studies.

Some cardiologists will be quick to point out that these studies may have only been for a couple of years and people are expected to take statins for a long time. The trouble with that argument is that it is based on belief, rather than data. We live in an era of “evidence-based medicine.” If health professionals want us to accept that assertion, they need to provide actual data.

In the case of secondary prevention (where people have experienced a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease), the best results come from what is called the 4S study involving simvastatin given for 5.8 years. This was the first study to show that statins could offer a real benefit. At the end of that study the drug improved survival over placebo by the grand total of 27 days.

So, when people with pretty serious heart problems took simvastatin for nearly six years they lived almost one month longer than those on placebo. That’s something, but not nearly as impressive as most people have been led to believe.

We do think that people who have experienced a heart attack or have a stent may benefit from a statin as long as the side effects of the drug are not intolerable. If someone develops diabetes because of a statin or cannot exercise because of muscle pain and weakness, the benefits become less obvious, especially if the drug doesn’t dramatically prolong life. You may wish to discuss this new study with your health professional to get her reaction. Here is a link to the article so you can print it and have a conversation about the data.

Tell Us Your Story

Please share your own experience on a statin. Does an extra month of life after six years of drug use seem worthwhile? We would love to know your thoughts in the comment section below. We would also be grateful if you would vote on this article at the top of the page. Should you wish to learn more about other ways to manage risk factors you may find our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health worthwhile.

 

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Since my previous entry and having taken NO treatment for several weeks, I am now back to normal with no pain, shakes or limb jumping. The shakes in my hand put me in fear of Parkinsons disease! Not something to be taken lightly.

I was put on atorovestatin at the age of 77 because of slightly high clolesterol and gradually developed very bad cramp several times each night together with sudden extreme tiredness and muscle pains. After discussion with my MD I came off the tablets for 6 months and was pain free. Then prescribed simvastatin which has different side effects. I now have tremors in my back and hands am going to stop all medication. The average age of my family at death for the last three centuries has been 84 with no heart or stroke problems. I have read that the extra life expectancy from taking stations is just three months so why would I want three extra months with the side effects?

I used atorovastatin for one year and had camp several times each night and what I believe is called restless leg syndrome and was exhausted all the time.
I took no tablets for six months and returned to normal.
Now on simvastatin and have back and hand tremors. I am going to stop all medication and hope to return to. normal again.

Read the Book, “The End of Heart Disease.” by Dr. Fuhrman, and begin a Nutritarian Diet. I have been free of heart attacks for 1 1/2 years since starting the diet, and It has helped thousands of people.

I was first prescribed 20mg of Lipitor when it was decided that all diabetics should be on statins. Around 2002. I was OK with this amount. However a couple of years later I had a letter from doctor saying that we should double the amount of statin. During the next 2 years I became steadily more depressed, tired, suffered from insomnia, had anxiety attacks. I had to give up work. I had suicidal thoughts. I could just about cope with getting my children off to school. I was unable to do anything outside the home. I saw my doctor. He gave me some info about coping with anxiety attacks. On reading an article about statins and depression a light came on. I stopped the statins. It took about 3 months to get the drug out of my system. I felt so much better, like my old self. Went back to work. Started exercising again. At my next diabetic check my doctor wanted me to go back on them. Reluctantly I did. Within 3 weeks I was back to feeling suicidal etc. I am now 63. I dance, swim, run, sail and windsurf. Never agini will I go on Statins. We do have a right to say ‘No’.

I’ve just been prescribed Lipitor for my very high triglycerides & high LDL. I have devastating side-effects that are more than a little scary. Among other things, these include syncope (passing out) and bad back pain (where my kidneys are), plus excessive bleeding and severe muscle weakness and pain. I can endure a lot of discomfort, but my body is telling me NOT to continue taking this! But my cardiologist says I must.

I’ve strongly suggested I try fish oil capsules and a strict diet, plus exercise. I’m within normal weight and not usually sedentary, but have considerable health issues, including existing kidney problems. I am 52 and my late Mom had high cholesterol and 2 heart attacks. My late Dad had good cholesterol and yet he developed cardiomyopathy; it was due to auto-immune problems plus a cardiac arrhythmia and congenital valve defect I inherited. I got my late Mom’s high cholesterol. So, I understand why I need to reduce my cholesterol; I just don’t want to destroy my kidneys and liver in the process, and possibly my pancreas. Help?

The use of statins is meant to prevent cardiac events, not to prolong life. The studies you quoted as well as the advice you gave are beside the point. You should look at studies which compared the rates of cardiac events both with and without the use of statins. Also, it is beyond dispute that some small percentage of patients will have adverse reactions (i.e. side-effects) associated with taking statins. No reputable M.D. will insist that a patient continue to take the prescribed statin in the face of side effects. Often the side effects can be eliminated by switching to a different statin or by switching to different, niacin-based, medication. Be careful, your bias is showing!

While it is certainly desirable to avoid cardiac events (heart attacks), we think most people assume that doing so will also prevent premature death. Do you have figures on the absolute risk reduction of cardiac events? Our reading of the studies is that this is approximately 1%.

We do think that statins should be used when appropriate. But we also think they have been overprescribed for people who are not very likely to benefit (healthy people with slightly elevated cholesterol). In either case, people should know both the benefits and the risks of any medication they take, statins included.

I had a heart attack on August 3rd, 2015. I’m 62. I was a “no-risk” for heart attack. I had never been on statins or any drug except thyroid medication for hypothyroidism. In the hospital I was put on 40mg. of Lipitor. Within 2 weeks I had a horrible reaction – myopathy – extremely painful cramps in my thighs and calves, and lower back pain that was as bad as childbirth. I couldn’t sit, stand or lay down without pain, and spent the night crying and trying to find someway to sleep. I suspected it was the Lipitor, stopped it, and called the cardiologist the next morning. My doctors would like for me to take a different statin in a low dose because they say it helps plaque from destabilizing/bursting, but haven’t pressured me. I won’t take a statin ever again.

Thanks to all commentators and Peoples Pharmacy (please, compile a book with statin stories)

I have never taken statins nor will I. My father and mother did.
My father passed away in 2003 before “my eyes had been opened”.
My mother had a small heart attack when she was around 80. After a couple of years (in 2004) she complained of muscle weakness in one of her legs, cramps, pains and sleeping problems. She contacted the prescriber and asked if the symptoms could be side effects. He said – no. Then, I discovered that there were doctors/scientists with different views. I started to look for information on the Internet and in books.
I found your site and others.
Now-a-days there are also a lot of videos.

I translated one patient story after the other for my mother. She became worried and said – but if I don´t take Zocor which kind should I take?
I said. no statin what-so-ever.
All have similar side effects and in the end they will destroy your quality of life.

She read Uffe Ravnskov`s first book (a Swedish Cholesterol Sceptic, google) and eventually she decided to stop. She improved, but not fully.
She is enjoying life at 95 and live independently.

As you age your muscle mass decreases. In spite of this they prescribe statins, known to interfer with muscles, to middle aged/old people – with or without heart disease.
PPH has had many articles. I rember “Statins and ALS-like Syndrome” (there were many comments as well). Muscle weakness has been included in the package inserts for a long time, but this year EMA/PRAC (a drug safety division within EU) told the manufacturers to add some text.
———————————————————————————————————————-
Thursday 22 January 2015 EMA/PRAC/62352/2015
Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee PRAC recommendations on signals for update of the product information Adopted at the 6-9 January 2015 PRAC

1. Atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pitavastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin – Immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM) (EPITT no 18140) Having considered the available evidence from the literature, the PRAC has agreed that the MAHs for medicinal products containing atorvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, fluvastatin, pitavastatin or lovastatin should submit a variation within 2 months to amend the product informations as described below (new text underlined):

Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC):

Section 4.4 – Special warnings and precautions for use:
There have been very rare reports of an immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM) during or after treatment with some statins. IMNM is clinically characterized by persistent proximal muscle weakness and elevated serum creatine kinase, which persist despite discontinuation of statin treatment.

Section 4.8 – Undesirable effects: Musculoskeletal disorders: Frequency not known: Immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (see section 4.4)

Package Leaflet: Section 2:
Also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have a muscle weakness that is constant. Additional tests and medicines may be needed to diagnose and treat this.

Section 4:
Side effects of unknown frequency: Muscle weakness that is constant.

30 Churchill Place ● Canary Wharf ● London E14 5EU ● United Kingdom
An agency of the European Union Telephone +44 (0)20 3660 6000 Facsimile +44 (0)20 3660 5525

Send a question via our website http://www.ema.europa.eu/contact © European Medicines Agency, 2015. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

I’ve been on Statins for over 11 years. The last few years I have been taking pravastatin 40 mg. I have low testosterone (under 200, I’m 43), very low libido, poor memory, depression, low energy, muscle pain in my back that affected my sleep, etc., etc. Over all for the last few years I have felt a lot older than I am.

I stopped taking pravastatin in May after reading that all the side effects I have been having for years can be caused by Statins! I recently had an artery study done and had no blockage everything was clear. I am feeling a whole lot better in almost all those areas, and don’t plan on taking statins again, I just wonder if my arteries are clear because I was taking statins? Things that made me and my doctor go hmmmm…..

I have been on and off on Statins for the past 10 years.
Crestor gave me such muscle pain they swapped me to Lipidil, which they said is NOT a statin. Well, I developed a rash all over arms and legs, I was photo-sensitive to it. So I went onto Zocor, sleepless nights for weeks, tired every day, and stomach pain EVERY night because Zocor MUST be taken at night.
I refuse to take anymore Statins, quality in life is better then quantity, I am getting better, sleep HEAPS better, but am still tired and have to ride it out.
Do HEAPS of research before you take Statins.

As a 75-year-old woman who functions pretty well and is on NO Rx medications, there is no way
I’m going to get on a statin–especially on the general recommendation that every woman over 70 should be on one. This recommendation is absolutely appalling to me!

If you are in a quandary about taking statins, I suggest you read the book THE GREAT CHOLESTEROL MYTH: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease by Dr Stephen Sinatra and nutritionist Johnny Bowden.

Lipitor caused severe muscle issues. I could hardly get out of bed. 10 mg. daily

Simvistatin caused cognitive issues – thinking/memory… as I worked with legal and tax problems I had to stop. 10 mg. daily

Lovaza lowered triglycerides but raised LDL. Niaspan could only be tolerated if taken with a full 650 mg of aspirin. LDL went down but blood sugar went up. (can’t remember dosage)

Crestor killed my appetite, caused joint and muscle pain and raised my A1C. Joints on 2 toes now have nodules on them. I developed dry mouth and dry eyes to the point where I was tested for Sjogrens. Stopping Crestor lowered A1C by 0.2 but after 2 1/2 months, appetite has still not returned. 5 mg. Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

High cholesterol is a risk factor. But what about the possibility of Type II Diabetes from increase in blood sugar and A1C? And diabetes can also cause eye problems, kidney problems, circulation problems, healing problems.

I’ve tried everything – oatmeal, Krill oil, psyllium tablets, apple cider vinegar, grape juice. I walk marathons. A dietician I consulted could not offer any suggestions to improve my diet. So I have decided NOT to worry about it. I will decline medications from my doctor and continue to live the way I have been. I think it is pointless to try to “cure” a risk factor.

I was on Lipitor and later tried Crestor. I took both for a year or more. I didn’t have a huge problem with lowest dose but doctor raised dose of both and I felt like I had the flu with severe upper body aches. I quit taking them and was fine in a short period of time. Recently my doctor told me that she called in a prescription for Lipitor after I told her I couldn’t take it. I told the nurse that I can not take it because of the side effects. Her response was, “just take it for 6 months and your body will adjust”! Doctor’s don’t listen to patients! I did NOT fill the prescription. I am going to an alternative doctor and am taking two natural cholesterol lowering meds. No side effects. I will take my chances with these meds.

Further to my earlier post, were the medical profession 100% agreed that statins could not possibly be the cause of our ailments as we claim, we might just doubt ourselves; but it is a fact that some doctors themselves question the benefits of statinisation , particularly of those of us of advanced years . Quality of life has to be preferable to one of [dubious] longevity.

Can I ask what the natural things you used instead of the statins? My dad suggested me to take Cholestine a natural supplement.

I have taken several different statins over the years and have found all to cause severe muscle aches and weakness to legs, wrists, back, all joints. Also my blood sugar levels were elevated all the time-not diabetic, but not normal. I finally quit the latest one Crestor and an on the mend. I also developed gout. Am being treated for that now. I’m sort of suspicious of the statins causing that as I am not a heavy red meat or seafood eater, nor do I drink at all. That was really the last straw.

I have many friends who have suffered from everyone of the negative side effects mentioned herein including a new friend who is 55, in incredible physical shape, and said that he developed diabetes after being on the Statins for 3 years. After extensive research, before ever reading it here, I concluded with certainty that I would never take a Statin. Actually proved to my Doctor that I could lower my cholesterol by taking 2 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar a day…………he wanted to dismiss that as merely incidental!

Please read the Japenese long term study of Cholesterol(I believe the only one ever done)………..you will be shocked at the findings!

I discontinued statins several years ago, on general principles, and have wondered from time to time whether I should be taking them. Knowing that taking them would extend my life by 5 – 19 days settles the question. I love that you provide this kind of information. Keep up the good work.

I had a TIA several years ago (which I am still convinced was because of the estrogen replacement therapy I was on at the time). After a 2-day hospital stay and multiple tests later, including CT scan, MRI, continual blood work, carotid Doppler and Doppler on my legs, nothing was apparent as to the cause (no blockages anywhere). I was placed on Plavix and a statin because my cholesterol was at 264. I was on simvastatin 20 mg for many years with no problems, but my cardiologist (whom I see once a year for a basic check-up) switched me to atorvastatin 20 mg in January. Almost immediately I began to experience pain and weakness in my left arm that made it hard to even do housework at times. After a couple months of that, I started taking the statin only 4 times a week, not every day. The pain has gone away and my cholesterol stays right around 200. I haven’t noticed any other symptoms, but I do have very vivid dreams every night (not sure if that’s related).

These posts repeat what one hears over and over about statins, not from doctors but the patients they are supposedly treating. The alternatives are not more and more drugs, but becoming aware of what is being eaten. “The Great Cholesterol Myth” by Sinatra and Bowden is very informative and gives lifestyle alternatives. We have been sold a bill of goods about the food to eat and avoid. The less processed your food, the better it is to nourish the body. The point of food is not just to taste good, but to provide the nutrients that the body needs to function well. When the components of the food are biochemically altered, the body doesn’t recognize it for what it needs. An example, refined sugar over natural sugar in the whole food, especially in the presence of fiber in the food.
Cholesterol is an important link in the metabolic pathway. Disrupting that pathway has significant consequences, as the many commentators attest.

I am so frustrated with all drugs in general. I took Lipitor some years ago and did have added problems with existing pins & needles and pain in my feet and lower legs. I can add that my blood pressure medication, amlodipine and atenolol, initiated that problem and Lipitor accelerated it.
I think most people think the pills are magic and our doctors are all-knowing. Taking pills will bring us instant relief. It is certainly more welcome than under-going surgery.
Doctors are put on a pedastle. Unfortunately healthcare has now become just another billion dollar corporate industry, with the drug companies promoting their brands as the magic cure alls.
There are better ways than drugs to address medical problems such as healthy eating, physical therapy, etc., but they are time consuming and we all want instant results.

Statins were he beginning of many problems with my husband. The ensuing problems were treated with a new drug. Then the doctor raised the amount of statins, then more sugar drugs, drugs for side effects and etc. After his death, I checked on the internet all the side effects of his many drugs. It was easy to see his many problems were from duplicate side effects of all the drugs. Maybe he was due to die at 79, but his quality of life would have been so much better without some medications, the first of which began with statins.

My own experiences with cholesterol reducing medications relate to digestive problems. In 2003 I, like many at the time, were required by the G. P. to take statins. Test after test and brand after brand up to ..and including..80mg, resulted in an inflamed duodenum and uncomfortable gall bladder the cure for which, I was told, was acid suppressing drugs. Faced with a life-time of these medications, and deciding for myself that the root cause must be the absence of cholesterol in my system, I sought alternative advice. I am not over-stating when I say acidophilus plus a digestive complex including Fennel gave relief within days. [and , of course, ditching the statins!] O. K. ..I did suffer a T. I. A. eleven years later [July 2014] without, happily, any residual impairment , but the prescribed Ezetimibe brought with it the familiar bloating, excessive flatulence, foul, greasy stool and painful duodenum.I was unable to find the same complex as last time but, remembering the Fennel element, I made a drink with the opened capsule of ground Fennel seed, taken once a day, again a complete cure within days! Am I pushing my luck in again declining to take cholesterol reducing medication? Possibly, but the prospect of an endless cycle of pill on pill to correct an ailment brought on by the preceding one fills me with dread. I have reached the age of 73, despite being informed in 2003 that I would not see 65!

In 2004 after CABG [coronary artery bypass graft] I was prescribed statins and regular exercise.

I had a 24 speed bicycle which I rode about 2 miles a day. With statins, the best I could do was ride slowly in gear 8. Without statins, after they wore off, I could ride the same course in gear 16.

At one point I had some neuropathy and at one point I had brain fog so bad I blew a $34,000 deal. (I am in sales). I was fortunate my boss did not fire me.

My serum glucose on Zocor was 104 and off Zocor, it dropped to the 90’s. I also had more aches and pains. In my opinion, statins created these side effects although they dropped my LDL from around 120 to 80.

“The trouble with that argument is that it is based on belief, rather than data. We live in an era of ‘evidence-based medicine.’ If health professionals want us to accept that assertion, they need to provide actual data.” — This quote from the above article on People’s Pharmacy is surprising, since PP hasn’t always followed this advice in its continuing promotion of anecdotal remedies such as a soap cure for foot and leg cramps, etc. “Evidence-based medicine” is indeed the gold standard, and well designed, double-blind tests should be required in any serious discussion of medical cures and claims. But weak or spurious tests can be designed (by some manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements, for instance) to solely support claims that X-product “enhances immunity” or “increases heart health” (or some other nebulous phrasing) when in fact the product test shows only a very slight or inconsequential benefit, making the inflated health claims worthless to the consumer. The design of tests may also be tilted to support marketing or health claims by avoiding testing for suspected (or known) negative or neutral results that might effect product sales. This important PP article on statins is certainly on the right track and should be the start of a vigorous ongoing conversation about statin drugs and their claimed health benefits and their side effects, hopefully accompanied by detailed scientific testing results.

I took several different statins over a course of approximately 10 years. After a couple of weeks on the first statin, I developed psoriasis (initial outbreak). It freaked me out, so I consulted 4 doctors (not my usual approach) and asked if the psoriasis could be related to the statins. All of the doctors totally dismissed that possibility and told me that I would be foolish to stop the medicine.

So I continued to take the pills and my psoriasis flourished. I experienced all of the following while on statins: leg pain, muscle weakness, frequent bladder infections, peripheral neuropathy, high blood sugar, and liver damage.

In 2010 I was diagnosed with aortic stenosis. I attribute it to the internal mechanisms of my psoriasis (which never remises). I stopped the statins once my liver tests became scary and all my symptoms except the psoriasis and aortic stenosis disappeared. I actually feel much, much better.

Someday, I hope to read that statins can cause psoriasis and that the psoriasis can damage heart valves. All the way to my grave, I will believe this is the case with me.

The life extension was cited as -5 (minus 5) to 19 days, not 5-19 days, suggesting that some died earlier–because of statins. However, in studies like the cited one, we must remember that this is a population or group analysis, and any individual could fall anywhere in the cited range. But who would know when a given individual might have died without statins? That is an impossible question to answer.

I could not tolerate statins under any trade name in any amount without suffering acute muscle pain. I stopped altogether. I have been exercising regularly for the last 36 years but needed to a triple by-pass last May (2015), just after turning 76 years of age. I experienced neuropathy symptoms in one leg before taking statins. I recently went on pravastatin at 20 mg and have been on it for several months with no side effects. The neuropathy symptoms have persisted but are less intense. I see no connection between the neuropathy and statins usage. Pravastatin has reduced my cholesterol levels but they are still quite high — 260 range. My firm belief is that it is the oxidation of LDL that causes the blockage, not LDL itself. A diet to increase antioxidants and limit the intake of oxidizing agents like sugar and some carbohydrates can be as effective, if not more, than just reducing cholesterol with other medication.

Eight years ago, whilst on Lipitor, I was flying a glider whilst having an attack of Transient Global Amnesia, fortunately the regression was back to after I learnt to fly and I landed safely but was thought to be a “bit off” and was carted off to hospital where my condition was diagnosed. I stopped Lipitor but was persuaded to take Rosuvastation instead. Two years ago, I noticed a decrease in my strength/stamina then one year ago a further diminution plus what may have been depression. Six months ago I started suffering mood swings, facial masking, back pains, speech problems et al. I am also a cardiac sufferer and the heart failure clinic suggested a medication review so a trip to my GP resulted in stopping the statin, reducing beta blockers and eliminating ACE.
Literally within days the symptoms have lessened and now show signs of clearing completely, I feel brighter, more “with it” and positive but have been told that a neurology assessment would be advisable.
Questions now are (1) Did the statins cause the problems ? (2) Will there be permanent damage ? or (3) Would the problems have occurred anyway ?
I have my conclusions based on how I feel which are (1) yes (2) hope not (3)_very unlikely.
I now have to get over the neuro hurdle but nothing will convince me to restart statins.
It would appear that an independent life quality cost/benefit study should be carried out ASAP.

My husband, age 73, had a stroke 10 years ago that thankfully left him with only miner visual impairment. In the testing that followed it was determined that he had blockage in both arteries leading to the brain. His neurologist prescribed blood thinners and statins – anything else was too dangerous. He has not had a reoccurrence of stroke but over the years has developed severe, disabling neuropathy, brain fog, cognitive impairment, pre-diabetes and cataracts. In the past year, his neurologist found a 60% blocked carotid despite his statins use hence doubled his statins! Now my husband can barely walk, lives on pain killers and is so tired he can’t do much except watch TV. He also has other medical issues – back problems from scoliosis and inoperable bone spurs. But he’s alive, for which I am thankful. It’s the quality of life I am concerned about. The doctors say if he stops the statins, he’s a goner. So what is the right thing to do? One’s choice is be in pain or die.

I tried several statin drugs to lower my cholesterol level. After a year or so I would experience the same muscular problems others experienced, so I would take myself off the drug, see my Dr and he would switch me to another. This pattern was repeated for several year and finally with Crestor the problems became so sever I made the decision never to take statins again…the side affects are too severe. I went to a different Dr who suggested Zetia and after several years have not had the side affects statins produced. Zetia is not as effective as statins, but the trade off is worth it!

When motivated by dollars, even medical research can be skewed in the name of greed while profiting off the misery and suffering of others. It’s disgusting.

I have tried to be on Crestor twice, but each time had issues with my hair falling out. I’m a breast cancer survivor on Femara, so joint and muscle pain are a way of life, but I watch my blood sugar and that absolutely went up by about 20 points while on the drug. I told my docs, but they didn’t believe me. I read a lot about the side effects others were having and my hair guy confirmed that he sees a number of people with the hair issue, including himself! I decided that it wasn’t worth the issues and made a decision to discontinue it.

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