The People's Perspective on Medicine

What Are the Most Common Statin Side Effects?

Some physicians would like you to believe that statins do not cause side effects. We offer a different perspective on common statin side effects.
Statins cholesterol statin drugs

Many health professionals are convinced that statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs do not cause any side effects. These physicians published a review that stated that very idea (European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, April, 2014):

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

But our readers say something quite different and share some common statin side effects below.

Q. I was put on statins when I was 40. By 47, I needed cataract surgery in both eyes. I became prediabetic and suffered from muscle weakness, memory loss and trouble finding the right words.

The cognitive difficulties became so severe I had to stop working. My doctor wants me to keep taking Crestor, but I wonder if statins are causing me more harm than good.

A. Statins can cause all of the side effects you have described. There is considerable controversy about the actual incidence of muscle weakness.

Some physicians, like those quoted at the top of this article, maintain that statins do not even cause muscle pain or weakness because they were not reported in the clinical trials sponsored by the drug companies.

Muscle Pain and Weakness: The Most Common Statin Side Effects:

One of the reasons that so many industry-funded statin studies fail to report muscle pain and weakness is that the definition of muscle problems has been loosey-goosey. What we mean is that the protocols that the researchers employ define muscle complications quite differently from the way average people do.

If a patient reports that his muscles hurt, that might not be noted by investigators because they define muscle problems as an “elevation of CPK [creatine phosphokinase].” This is an enzyme found in muscle that reveals injury or stress to the tissues. A person might complain of muscle pain, tenderness or weakness but if CPK levels are within “normal” range (and that may be surprisingly high), no side effect is acknowledged or reported.

Other researchers have called out this strategy. One analysis in the BMJ noted that:

…the prevalence of muscle pain in statin users is 50% greater than in non-users. In absolute terms, this increase in muscle pain is 100 times greater than that reported in clinical trials…”

An article in the very conservative Journal of the American College of Cardiology (May 24, 2016) acknowledges that SAMS (statin-associated muscle symptoms) “is the most frequent SAS [statin-associated symptom] and mild myalgia may affect 5% to 10% of statin users.”

We find it sad that these experts refer to muscle pain, tenderness and weakness as “mild myalgia.” Visitors to this website have a different way of describing this adverse drug reaction:

JIMP wrote:

“My wife’s doctor prescribed 40 mg of simvastatin over the years. Every time she started taking it, she developed leg muscle pain. When she stopped taking it, the muscle pain would end.

“My daughter was prescribed 40 mg of simvastatin. Her legs hurt so badly she said it was hard to get out of bed. Her cardiologist claimed it couldn’t be the statin, but the pain stopped when she ceased taking the statin. Clearly the doctor did not report this side effect because he didn’t believe it.”

Here is Kristin’s compelling story:

“It is easy for someone who only looks at the statistics (and is not on a statin) to make sweeping statements about their efficacy and side effects. As someone who was on 20 mg. of Crestor for nine months and who had severe muscle cramps as a result, I use my own experience to help me decide whether or not I want to take the drug.

“The statistics are irrelevant if you are the one who is suffering from a statin’s side effects. Yes, the Crestor lowered my cholesterol dramatically. I stopped taking it because the muscle cramps were completely debilitating–they woke me up at least five times a night and were excruciatingly painful.

“When I stopped the Crestor, all muscle cramps disappeared within one week. But here is the interesting thing: I thought that the cramps were my only side effect. During the first week off the Crestor, other medical problems suddenly disappeared as well. I had started having vertigo and balance problems a couple of months earlier. When I stopped the Crestor, POOF! the vertigo was gone and my balance returned to normal.

“Also, I’d started having extreme memory problems–I could not remember a 4 digit number for one minute and had to write everything down. When I stopped the Crestor, my memory completely returned. And I had been quite depressed, which I wrote off to what I assumed was because I was getting old (63), as proved by my bad balance and poor memory.

“When I stopped the Crestor, I returned to my happy, normal self, again within ONE WEEK. To me, the statistics that may claim that my personal experience is not valid are worthless. I KNOW what symptoms I had, and I KNOW that they disappeared shortly after taking the Crestor. I feel infinitely better. By the way, I have always been athletic, am not overweight (138 pounds at 5’7″) with no heart or blood pressure problems.”

Eleanor is a bit cynical:

“I took atorvastatin for 2 years, complaining all the time. Either the doctors are in denial re: the side effects or they are getting great kickbacks from big Pharma.

“After coming off atorvastatin, it took me 6-9 weeks to feel normal. I had the same reaction with simvastatin and rosuvastatin.”

What About Mental Fogginess and Forgetfulness:

We were among the first to report that statins were linked to memory problems and cognitive dysfunction. Many health professionals doubt that such adverse reactions could be in any way be linked to drugs like atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pitavastatin, rosuvastatin or simvastatin.

Here is what the FDA says:

“Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users.”

Here is what our readers say:

Deb in Alabama reports:

“My mother had memory issues taking simvastatin that mimicked dementia. This happened in the fall of 2014 till early 2015. She would repeat the same question and not recognize that she was told the same response only moments before. Even when told that she was not retaining the information, she would deny having heard that before. She couldn’t recall how to prepare food for herself that she had cooked her whole life, so she bought frozen items.

“She was taken off the simvastatin and within a short amount of time she was back to completely normal. In August of 2015 she was put back on simvastatin at a lower dose. This time the symptoms have come back and are even more extreme. She had an incident of confusion where she realized she was about to urinate in her hamper in the bathroom instead of the toilet.”

PJ had a similar story to our first reader:

“I am one of those statin users with almost all the side effects you can imagine: cramps in legs, hands, fingers. Memory loss so bad my family became worried I needed to be put somewhere to get help. They thought I was going crazy for real! And so did I for the longest time.

“I experienced missing moments when I did not know how I got across the street or to the store. I just sat in the car and there I was. It was frightening not to know how you blacked out mentally but also physically. Statins also gave me pre-diabetes, aching bones and arthritis.”

Another Common Statin Side Effect: Diabetes

It took decades for the FDA to realize that statins can increase the risk for diabetes and make it harder for those with this metabolic disorder to control their blood sugar levels. Many cardiologists maintain that this is extremely rare, but we think it is more common. Our conclusion is based on a Finnish study of 8,749 men who were followed for six years. The researchers determined that statin takers were 46 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes during the study (Diabetologia, May, 2015).

Cataracts Also Appear to be Common Statin Side Effects:

It took 25 years for researchers to recognize that statins are associated with cataracts. A 2012 Canadian study reported that patients with diabetes who had been prescribed statins were about 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cataracts.

An analysis of 50,000 patients in Taiwan revealed in June of 2013 that statin takers were approximately 20 percent more likely to have cataract surgery than people who were not taking statins.

Another report published in JAMA Ophthalmology (Nov., 2013) concluded that people prescribed statins were at a 27 percent increased risk for developing cataracts compared to nonusers.

The Take Home Message:

When a medication affects the quality of your life, it is reasonable to consider alternatives. People can learn about other options in our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health.

Share your own story about common statin side effects below in the comment section. Do you agree with the physicians who wrote: “Only a small minority of symptoms reported on statins are genuinely due to the statins: almost all would occur just as frequently on placebo” or do you have a different perspective?

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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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My father was prescribed a statin (Zocor) after suffering an MI at the age of 73. For the next 12 years (despite not having high cholesterol or BP) he was told to take BP medication and the statin, along with warfarin. During this time his cognitive abilities and balance deteriorated — some might believe this was part of the aging process, but he also developed tremors in his extremities, and his strength diminished. It’s impossible to know what his medical course prior to his death (cause as listed on his death certificate – dementia – ) would have been had he not been on so many drugs, but what is entrenched in the U.S. medical system is a fixed protocol driven by statistics rather than attention to the individual. Unfortunately, there is often far too much trust placed in those who rely on statistics to deliver their message, and this is fueled by profit.

If there is one take home lesson that I would want people to learn, it is “You have the right to decline any procedure, test, diagnostic, or therapy. You have the right to question your provider, and more importantly, to receive unbiased, complete answers to your questions prior to said procedures etc. before agreeing to them. You have the right to know the relative and absolute reductions of risk associated with said procedures’ etc. benefits and to know the relative and absolute risks of any and all potential harms associated therewith. You have the right to say, ‘I do not consent’ at any time, no matter how trivial the procedure may be.”

Here’s my awful experience with statins. I recently had a small stroke. Luckily the stroke was small, and the problem it caused with my vision has nearly resolved itself. There were no other effects from the stroke. However, the hospital put me on 20 mg Atorvastatin because I had mildly elevated LDL. I’m a young(ish) at 46 and a very fit, active person and they found no signs of atherosclerosis. The cause of the stroke is still unknown. I guess the statin is part of their standard post-stroke regimen along with asprin and plavix. All I was warned of with the statin was “a little muscle soreness”.

A few days after returning home and starting the statin I started to develop a headache, tingling sensations in my scalp, arms and legs, dizziness and clumsiness. I returned to the hospital worried I was having another stroke. They gave me another MRI and found nothing new. The doctors seemed completely baffled and wrote it off as anxiety.

A week went by, and the symptoms became worse, and despite visiting my primary care doctor and the hospital again they had no explanation. I could barely get out of the bed, and my ears started ringing, my neck was painful and stiff, and I had a sense of floating detachment. I was literally afraid I might die from whatever was happening to me.

After 9 days on the statins I finally read through the side effects list and then immediately decided to stop. Within 24 hours the headaches went away. Within 48 hours I felt much improved. However, it’s now almost a week quitting the statins after only being on them for 9 days (thank god!), and I’m experiencing increasing muscle pain in my legs and arms and still have the tingling and dizziness symptoms. The doctors have assured me these symptoms aren’t from my stroke but won’t admit it could be the statin. Even a family member who is a doctor dismissed my concern over the statin.

I’ve spent my life as an expert level outdoor athlete and rely on having a high level of balance and strength to do what is important to me. I’m now worried that there has been damage from this awful drug that may prevent me from doing what I love and can’t get any doctor to pay attention. I just have to hope things improve at this point.

It seems that doctors have become so focused on future statistical outcomes that they are blind to the potential trade-offs in the here and now. It’s like they have come to think of these types of drugs as like vacination against future events largely brought on by bad luck or poor lifestyle. However, unlike vacines the side effects are much much more common and the public health benefit is much more dubious.

Well, one thing I do know is to be careful with statin doses if you are also on Verapamil. I have to take Verapamil to prevent cluster headaches, which it does, thank God! My cholesterol, LDL levels, triglycerides, etc. were all very elevated so I needed a statin and was put on Lipitor. First 10mg, then 20mg, then 40 mg, and levels were still too high so I started 80mg. That’s when the problems started. I developed severe back pain and spasms, and the only thing in my life that changed was the increase to 80mg Lipitor.

I stopped the Lipitor completely, and in 2 days no back pain or spasms! Since I do need stations I found I was able to tolerate Lipitor 20mg, so I take that with no further issues. A pharmacist friend later told me Verapamil can cause Lipitor levels to rise up to a four-fold increase! Wow!

Malcolm
Devon uk
Put on simvastatin many years ago although cholesterol was normal I had high blood pressure.
Complained to my dr. About calf and hip muscle pain and aches tablet was changed to atvorastatin pains continued . Dr. Did not believe statins were the cause .
Saw another dr. Who said if my quality of life was worse come off them.
That was 9 months ago no longer any pains or aches in my calf or hips . Hope this is useful .

I am the Kristin whose story is in the article. I’m now nearly 70 and 3 pounds heavier. If anything, my health is better than it was 7 years ago: I walk my 3 dogs three miles a day. I do my own yard work and home repair, and, as an artist, I’m on my feet at least 8-9 hours a day. My memory is generally very good, with short tweaks of forgetting only when I’m extremely busy. The only time I have muscle aches is at night if I have let myself get dehydrated. Then I drink more water the next day, and the aches are gone. Also, my balance is still good.

My point in writing this update is that I am still not taking statins. I have changed doctors, and my new one says that even though my cholesterol is a little high, with my weight and activity level, and no signs of current heart disease, I am at low risk for either a heart attack or stroke. I personally wonder why my previous doctor was so adamant that I take statins and paid no attention when I said Simvastatin, Rosuvastatin, and Crestor (taken at different times over maybe 8 years) all caused really serious side effects, with Crestor being the worst. Ultimately, I am responsible for my own health because I am the one who deals with the consequences. Doctors may have more training than their patients, but they are human, not gods.

I find that many of the articles from the People’s Pharmacy and other health websites have excellent information from a slightly different point of view. Try to become better-informed about the health issues you have instead of just blindly accepting whatever your doctor says. It’s YOUR body……listen to it!

I agree with the above anecdotes. I did have a heart attack (myocardial infarction) in 1980. I was hospitalized for two weeks but was never put on any medication except Coumadin, as it was determined I had blood clots in my right leg. I had a seizure during that procedure because it turned out I had an unknown “sensitivity” to the dye used in the procedure. Years later in my late 70s I have been put on a statin and a blood pressure drug.

I do have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which I now find is a cause of many of my ailments. I did have spinal fusion surgery, and that was a disaster. I have back pain so bad I can barely do anything. I have a lot of trouble sleeping. I have gained a lot of weight. I do exercise 4 days a week with chair exercises. There was a time when I could stand and do those.

My cholesterol levels are just barely outside of the “normal range” but my doctor put me on statin medication b/c I do have one small coronary artery with 90% blockage. No adverse effects except when in altitudes above 7,000 feet.

I have tried every statin there is. Every single one has given me quadriceps pain and debilitating leg weakness. I know my physician does not like to hear my complaints about the statins, but when I stop taking them, I recover in 3 to 4 weeks. I am absolutely furious with the medical community for their stubborness in not recognizing the significant damage that statins can cause, and my resentment is almost at the point where I have no respect for, and great disdain, for the standard medical community.

I have notified my physician that I have stopped taking the statin. As stated, I have tried several, and they all have the same effect, so I will not return to the statins. I currently started Repatha. We’ll see how that goes. At age 73, quality of life is of primary concern to me. No more statins again. Ever. And I will continue to warn everyone of their potential damage.

My cholesterol is elevated, four years my PCP prescribed Simvastatin. Within weeks the pain in both shoulders was horrific. I suspected the statin was the problem and stopped taking it. The pain disappeared. My physician is amazing … and left the “take it/not take it” up to me. I firmly believe at the age of 75 my brain and body need cholesterol.

Within a year of both times I was prescribed a statin I developed major muscle weakness and crippling pain. I was also bouncing from doctor to doctor to figure out the cause. Not once did a doctor mention statins as a possible cause. It was so bad this last time that both my daughter’s were worried I would be wheel chair bound in a few years. They kept diagnosing me with different points of hip bursitis, back sprains and so on. I also developed throat muscle weakness and was placed on a CPAP machine. Days after I stopped my meds (once again) my the pain went away and my throat muscle seems to be getting stronger. I still have some muscle weakness but, nothing to compare to what I was having on the meds. I read a case study where this happen in over 65 percent of the patients and they developed autoimmune like problems. I know without a doubt that statins were The main root of my problem.

I have a serious heart condition, so I was put on lipitor 80MG for 2 years and the last 7 years 40MG. I am now 68 and my toes were numbing up and acted like they were frozen. I had been sleeping 11 hours a night and still tired.

After doing 4 days of research on the internet, I figured it was the statin reducing my energy and numbing my toes. I found out that my body has been depleted of COQ10 and other nutrients. Since my own body makes less as I get older, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Only 6 days ago, I stopped taken Statin drugs and went on COQ10 400 MG a day and all the Vitamin B’s C,D and other nutrients. I am happy to say that my numbness in my toes is all gone today and my energy level is much better in just a short period of time.

In some research that has been done that combining good exercise with COQ10 builds stamina fast, much faster with the COQ10. I will be checked on my LDL in 4 months to see how my new system is working and also eating a much healthier diet with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables . The medical doctors are not happy with me, but, it is my life not there life!

I had numbness just like that, it was fixed with a B12 supplement, a lack of B12 is known to cause numbness in the extremities, that might be the thing that fixed it for you too.

I have been on Levothyroxine 0.075MG tabs for low thyroid for 10 years. Last year, I was diagnosed with weak bones (osteoporosis) and with my last prescription of my thyroid pill I read the Cautions part of the prescription information where it stated that long term use of Levothyroxine can cause osteoporosis. I have never heard that before and am very upset that I have been given something that has been weaking my bones.

you would have been a lot worse off having no T4 (and ultimately T3) replacement therapy as long you were actually hypothyroidic. Treatment with levothyroxine will not cause bone mineral density loss as long as you kept in euthyroid levels.

Statins have totally ruined my life. I had a heart attack in April, 2014 and was put on 80mg. of Avorstatin. I never had cholesterol or high blood pressure – but the doctors were treating me aggressively (their words). I developed mental fog, muscle pain, urinary/kidney problems, shingles, etc. I took myself off the statins after 4 months. I tried to tell the doctors the statins were making me sick and they kept telling me “no” statins don’t cause any of the physical problems I experienced. The medical community does not want to believe statins cause permanent damage. It has been two years and I have not recovered. I believe the medical system has lost their integrity. Do no harm.

My husband had the same experience. After starting avorstatin he became lethargic, no energy at all, memory loss and sometimes he couldnt even carry on a conversation. It was like talking to someone in a mental fog. He stopped taking them and within a week he was back to his energetic and sharp witted self. I dont even know why the dr prescribed them as his cholesterol numbers have always been good. He did have a heart attack and thats when they were prescribed.

plenty of trials supporting the decision to reduce his risk of another heart attack. Maybe they can lower his dose though. He should most definitely be on a statin therapy. Or if he cannot tolerate any of the statins he should be on some type of cholesterol lowering agent.

I was given Lipidil at age 55. I didn’t have internet, so believed my doctor when she said I had to take it. I have FM so already had some muscle pain and didn’t notice any difference. Fast forward 10 years, and a new doctor put me on Lipitor. At that time, I was feeling good and any muscle pain was only occasion – if I abused them by overuse.

Within a week, I was in agony!! Arm and leg muscles hurt constantly! I went back to the doctor – she seemed to believe me and put me back on Lipidil, which is not supposed to cause muscle pain. It took 6 months to get it out of my system and for my muscles to only hurt “normally” again. 8 years later (at age 73) I have wet macular degeneration (not sure if there is a connection – it showed up very suddenly) and had to have cataract surgery in both eyes a few months ago.

I had slight cataracts that had no effect on my vision but they suddenly got worse 2 years ago. I quit taking the Lipidil too – there is no history of heart problems in my family, and I have never had any problem with mine. I also eat very healthy and avoid “fats” which I have done all of my life. I have never eaten any fat on any meat – or chicken skin! Yuck! Don’t like cream and only use skim milk in coffee. I’m hoping my memory improves – it’s been an issue for quite a few years now – I just blame the pills that I need to take to sleep, but I’m sure the stains played a role in that as well.

I took myself off statins due to side effects, and my cholesterol and triglycerides have increased considerably. I thought I could do it with diet. Cholesterol went from 110 to 186, Triglycerides from 114 to 166. The LDL from 51 to 120.

I am not eating any red beef; only turkey and chicken, no dairy or added sugars. I am 82 now, do little excercise, mostly walking with difficulty. I have osteoarthritis, never had heart attack but had triple bypass for some blockage 15 years ago.

My cadiologist wants me back on 5 mg Crestor. Previously, I only had taken both simvastatin and atorvastatin. When I had the side effects, it was when I was on 20 mg of the other statins.

My blood pressure is great and A1c down to 5.8: lowest ever for me. Any suggestions?

Your cholesterol at 110—to low…185 good and still below the 200 people go by…..
Your body needs cholesterol , especially brain…..it is made up of a large percentage of cholesterol…my cholesterol has been 242 for as long as I can remember…..and I’m not worrying..

I am a retired RN with 23 years ICU/CCU experience. My family tree is riddled with heart disease. When I resoundingly failed my lipid test at age 40, I was eager to begin statin therapy to reduce my inevitable risk for a heart attack. For close to 20 years, I had bounced from statin to statin, from Red Yeast Rice to Crestor. If it was made by Big Pharma, I tried it. No matter the drug or dosage, I was disheartened to find I consistently developed debilitating muscle pain in my legs and hip joints.

It was only a matter of how soon these symptoms would appear after starting the statin. My fasting blood sugars began trending higher each year, despite a healthy diet, normal weight and active lifestyle. As others have noted, the muscle pain and glucose intolerance disappeared within weeks of stopping the statin.

The last straw was low dose Crestor. I had been going to the same “gung-ho-lower-the-cholesterol” doctor, who became very frustrated by my reports of muscle pain. He prescribed Crestor and said absolutely positively I would not experience muscle pain. I suddenly developed painful plantar faciitis that responded poorly to standard therapy. My doctor said it was not statin related. I mysteriously developed shin splints when hiking and was told it was age-related. Muscle cramps and joint pain followed, starting in the lower legs and slowly involving my hips, lower back, shoulders, elbows.

I have been 110 lbs for most of my adult life, but suddenly gained 30 lbs. My A1C and fasting glucose began to rise. I was exhausted and short of breath. My doctor became angry with me when I presented the same complaints for my annual physical. He attributed everything to ‘the aging process’ and pooh-poohed the idea that it was statin-related. I developed a painful bursitis in my right hip and went to an orthopedist, who listened to my litany of complaints, then pronounced them all due to ‘severe statin intolerance’. I was told to call my physician, get a CPK done and stop the Crestor.

I cried all the way home because someone finally believed me! I changed doctors and was told my CPK was elevated. Statins were placed on my allergy list. I adopted a modified vegan diet that included fish. I slowly resumed exercising. My cholesterol and LDL levels dropped like a stone, my HDL rose. The muscle/joint pain subsided slowly over the next 18 months, but persisted in my right hip joint.

A year later, I had a right hip replacement because the cartilage had ‘disappeared’. My left hip appeared normal. 2 years later, I’m back to normal weight and feel better than I ever thought possible. The moral of my story: NEVER let a physician bully you into taking statins once you develop muscle or joint pain. Find another doctor!

I have written to you on this before. If you are a bit uncomfortable with statins, talk to those who have lived through a massive heart attack: now there is real pain. I love my statins. My blood work looks great. I take mustard for cramps, etc. And since I have always been crazy, they don’t effect my mind that I know of. I am 77 and work every day.

I was given atorvastatin to lower my cholesterol levels. But I was very doubtful that I even needed to do so. In the UK, we count levels differently from the USA – we say you need to have a reading below 5. The last reading I remember was 3 point something. I started on 40mg in late February / early March. By mid-March, I was getting upset at the least little thing – crying and screaming, sometimes. I have depression anyway, but at that time of year I am normally a lot better. So, why? I reasoned that the atorvastatin was the only difference. So I stopped taking them. Maybe I NEED cholesterol!

I was subscribed two different Statin drugs. Within a week I ached and was very tired from each of them. Since that was the only thing that had changed in my life, it was easy to figure it out. Soon as I quit I was back to normal.

I started Atorvastatin two weeks ago after a stent procedure. This morning I awakened to excruciating pain in the muscles of my body. Also, my cataracts worsened, balance worse, and feel somewhat not myself. I am 80 yrs. old and feel I have lost my quality of life. Those above side effects are a bit much for me.

What to do? I conversed with a woman at the supermarket, and we got on the topic of health. She said her HDL numbers were highest of all the doc’s patients. The nurse could not believe it and told the doctor. She was 83 yrs. old and said much of her life was spent doing aerobics, swimming, bowling, and some zumba classes. Obviously, she was a very energetic woman. So, I think it’s time for me to start moving more!!!!

I have been put on Simvastatin several times and every time it destroys my stomach. I have GERD and gastritis which I can control with diet and minimal meds. It would take months after being on the statin to get things under control. I have refused to take it again. My doctor felt I should just take more stomach meds, which have piles of side effects themselves. These doctors are nuts.

The big problem with physicians in denial about these statin side effects is money !! The insurance companies will withold money from physicians if they do not have a patient with high cholesterol on a statin. As a pharmacist they now drop our Star Rating if our customers do not fill their prescriptions on time every month and in turn this lowers my reimbursement from the insurance company. A very bad system !!

Your reader JIMP nailed it when he said that the doctor clearly didn’t report adverse effects because he didn’t believe it. And so with millions of other damaged statin-users over the past decade, their symptoms are just not reported. I am heartened that some readers have recovered from dire experiences upon stopping their drug. It is not so with my husband whose brain has been completely destroyed by our doctor’s insistence for months (before we stopped) that he ‘keep taking the Lipitor’ she was prescribing, despite offering her much sound medical evidence that unexpected and rapid memory-loss was occurring. I am now a full-time carer for my husband whose memory, capability and personality have all but been erased. I call the situation slow-death-by-doctor. Health care it is most certainly is NOT.

Yes, MOY you also nailed it. Doctors always deny statin effects. They trust Big Pharma and not their patients! What hapenned your husband also happened with my mother.

I am 85 now. I have told every internist that I have seen in the last 25 years, that if they insist on statins to tell me because I will never take any of them again. They nearly put me in a wheel chair. They still insist that I have a fasting cholesterol test. Is it required by Medicare?

I believe the statins caused problems with blood sugar and memory for me. I didn’t realize it right away but after I started taking the statins I could not leave the house without a piece of fruit or candy in my purse. I would get weak and shaky without something to eat shortly after breakfast. Also, the statins apparently will cause kidney problems because my doctor finally took me off of them because of my kidneys. How can doctors decide you are better off with taking a medicine that does cause all these things?

I am one of those people who NEED to be on a statin. A family history full of CVD, including arteriosclerosis, strokes, TIA’s, high cholesterol, high BP, etc., and yes, I did have muscle pain and ‘foggy-ness.’ BUT, I took time off the statins just to see. I was very strict with my diet (and I mean VERY strict), exercised faithfully and lost 20 lbs. Had my blood work done and my cholesterol was up to 244. My LDL was high and my HDL was low — not good. Triglycerides were high as well. So back to the statins. However, this time I take high doses of COQ 10 and tart cherries. No pain!! Something to consider because there are those of is who NEED to be on statins. With a family history such as mine, I have no choice, but I’m thinking that, because of the COQ10 and the tart cherries, there may be a way to naturally mitigate some of the really awful affects of statins (and the statin side-effects can be awful — I know this personally).

Barb, situation is somewhat like yours. Without my daily 5 mg Crestor tablet my lipids get out of whack (that’s medical term). I am taking CoQ10 but it is a low dose. I plan to increase the amount and change to the Ubiquinol (QH) formulation. However I’m curious about your inclusion of tart cherries. Any thoughts you want to share in this forum. It is public.

I always read these articles about statin side effects. But few mention how they can worsen and become permanent, especially the ones involving muscles and nerves. The doctor who prescribed a statin to me said that since my problems didn’t go away, they weren’t caused by the statin. Here I am, six years after quitting it, still with muscle and nerve pain that’s slowly worsening and spreading. How can doctors treat me effectively if they refuse to make the connection? I have yet to find a doctor who will do so.

I have an intolerance to simvastatin and atorvastatin. (After 3 years my LDL continued to be high and my doctor switched me to the latter.) I learned that the muscle aches could lead to irrevocable muscle damage. I stopped taking the statin. I researched supplements that have proven results for heart/cardiovascular health and took them for 4 months before returning to my doctor for a blood test. My total cholesterol had dropped 44 points, My doctor was impressed and did not suggest that I ought to go back on a statin, but to “continue what your’e doing” and return in 6 months for another lipid panel. Historically, with exception to the LDL, all my lipds are very good. By the way, I asked for a CPK/MMRP test and it shows that I have both “fluffy” and “sticky” types of cholesterol. Learning about your cholesterol type is important so doctors can make a better decision on how they treat people with high LDL.

Kathleen – Would you be able to share what supplements you took that were so helpful? I, too, am unable to tolerate statins because of acute muscle pain and would like to consider alternatives. I’m pleased you had such good results with what you have tried!

Statins are poison. I suffer from type 2 diabetes and vascular parkinsonism, both of which, I believe, I contracted from overdoses of Zocor. These drugs should be taken off the market.

I was on a low dose of simvastatin for 2 years before I experienced any side effects that I noticed. Then I developed leg muscle weakness and aching. I stopped the statin and within days the symptoms went away. My doctor prescribed a pravastatin and the symptoms came back, but went away when I stopped taking it. Meanwhile I was tested for CPK, which was normal. My doctor prescribed generic Lipitor (which my pharmacist warned was “the worst culprit of them all”). This time I began to have joint pain in my knees, which may have been secondary to the muscle weakness, as well as the aching muscles like before. The doctor stopped the statin, and the symptoms eased but have not gone away after more than 2 years. I no longer enjoy short walks, and can’t imagine hiking, which I used to love. Luckily I can still do a dance exercise, which isn’t as repetitive as walking.

I was on Crestor for many years when I began to wake up each morning with tingling, in my left arm. I intended to stop using Crestor, but asked my doctor first if it was safe to stop “cold turkey”. He said I merely slept on my arm and should continue the statin. I know my body and stopped using Crestor. Soon afterwards I experienced no tingling. I tried using red yeast pills, and again, the tingling began. Since then ( 5 yrs)I have not experienced any tingling anywhere.

My doctor gave me a supply of Crestor samples. I started to take them and within 2 weeks I had painful aches in my biceps in both arms. I stopped the Crestor and eventually the bicep pain stopped. At my next appointment, I told my doctor about the pain and she gave me a prescription for Lovastatin. After 2 weeks the bicep pain returned and I stopped taking the Lovastatin. That was a little over a year ago and I still have varying degrees of pain in my left bicep muscle.

I realize that you have books to sell, shows to promote, and social media to peddle, but I find your information conflicting. On one hand, I respect your citing of studies in medical journals, but the next sentence is likely to have anecdote after anecdote from “Judy from Ohio….”. It hurts your credibility to be both “scientific” and anecdotal. and I urge you to eliminate the latter from your sites.

However, I do find your information helpful as a practicing Family Physician and share your cynicism with big Pharma and many western medical practices.

Dr. Loomis:
I find it interesting that you disregard the posts from “Judy in Ohio .” Isn’t that part of the problem, that medical professionals are not giving any credence to the actual patients who have experienced the undeniable and painful side effects of statins?
I am one of those patients. I had been experiencing severe joint pain, muscle aches and spasms that brought me to my knees.
It got so bad that I could not find any position for sleep that did not hurt. I tossed and turned all night trying to find some way to rest without aggravating the pain in my hips and legs.
After researching the side affects of lovastatin I decided to stop taking it. Within one day the spasms lessened, and within a few days they disappeared altogether. It has been one month since I went off the Lovastatin and I am still experiencing mild aches in my shins (feels like shin splints), but it is much less than it was before. I am also sleeping comfortably and have noticed with increased mental clarity. I am 58 years old and I honestly feel like a new woman. The difference in my quality-of-life is like night and day. I feel like I have a new lease on life.

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