Why patients stop taking statins!


Category : Medical Rants

I was chatting at dinner the other night with some friends. Two of the men had stopped taking statins recently. The conversation, while clearly anecdotal, has stimulated my thinking.

One quit because of tendon problems. He had Achilles’ tendon pain. Now I have searched for a link between statins and tendon problems, and just cannot find any link.

The other complained of muscular discomfort. Statins clearly can cause muscle discomfort, even without elevated CK levels.

Whether the statins were causing problems in these two otherwise health men is unclear. What is clear is that they believed that statins caused a decreased quality of life. They clearly put blame on the statin for feeling less well. Despite being very intelligent, and understanding that their cholesterol levels were greatly improved, they decided to stop the statins.

Now in both these cases, one could argue that they need not have received the prescription originally. Neither has CAD nor diabetes mellitus. Neither smokes cigarettes and both have father alive at ages greater than 80. I generally reserve primary prevention for those with multiple risk factors, especially strong family history of premature CAD.

I do not know their baseline LDL levels.

Although the side effects of statins are probably less than most drugs we use, they still do have a risk benefit profile. When side effects are felf and the benefits are abstract, many patients will eschew the drug.

I would certainly appreciate other opinions on this issue – especially if you could share some personal anecdotes.

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Comments (159)

I find this all very interesting.  I am a 38 year old female and also a physiotherapist.  I am very active and fit, working out at the gym about 5-6 days per week and running several 10 km and half marathons per year.  I have been running since I was no 20 with no injuries.  I have a strong family history of heart disease, so I sought regular monitoring from my doctor.  After a several years of high LDL – "bad cholesterol"  (but great triglycerides and HDL – "good cholesterol"), my doctor suggested 5mg daily Crestor.   After about 1 year on on the Crestor, I have developed muscle tightness, tiredness, and recently pulled my left calf muscle running.  I have also developed stiffness in my the joints of my fingers.   My cholesterol numbers are perfect, but it is completely denting my activity level.   Plus, I've gained 5 pounds with no change in diet.  I know my body and I strongly believe this is due to the Crestor.   I, too, feel like I was just getting old . . . but at 38, seriously.  I get out of bed like I am twice my age.   I have taken myself off the Crestor . . . but wonder what my alternatives.  I have an appointment with my doctor this Tuesday.  

I was at first prescribed Crestor my my nuerologist, the cost was 40 euros for a months supply. My GP prescribed Simvastatin, the exact same content pill, and it costs just 1.35 cents. Make what you will of this.

(The above should read €1,35. €37,65 less each month).

I am a 48 yr old female and I was prescribed simvastatin 10mg 3 weeks ago.I have always tested with high cholesterol however when the two numbers where factored together I was told it "balanced" ok so I now I am getting older so when the Dr. suggested I take the simvastatin I agreed. Well 2-3 days ago I stated feeling terrible. Exhausted, short of breath, feel like my heart is pounding. I feel nauseated and have muscle aching, especially in my legs. I feel horrible. I was already wondering if it could be from the meds so I began looking up everything I could.After reading all of this information I really feel like my symptoms are being caused by the meds Ok so I want to stop taking the meds, can I stop cold turkey? Any responses would be appreciated. Thanks

I have been taking simvastatin for 20 years (Lipator the first 15 years now generic) . I'm 65 and thought most of the things going on were just geezer stuff. I turn the electric blanket on before I get up each morning (even in the summer) to help with joint pain. This is not always the same joints. Muscles in my shoulders and back are very painful, feels like a cramp. Tendons in my ankles, knees and elbows are sore.  I thought it was arthritis but it is not the same spot all the time. The thing that bothers me the most is I also have days when I am totally exausted without reason. So exausted that I don't even want to eat. I'm wondering why my doctor did not bring up the issue of simvastatin? I don't read the "side effects stuff" because I don't want to just think I have it by reading it, but why didn't my doctor bring it up?

After reading comments on this page and many others I am convinced that statins are the cause of many of my aches and pains. I am a 67 yo female who has always enjoyed good health ,that is until I started taking statins. First pravachol for about 5 years then about 3 years ago I switched to Crestor 20mg . My cholesterol levels (Australian readings) are, before statins 6.5 on statins 3.3 . My family seem to have a cholesterol issue.. I am experiencing terrible joins pains and muscle aches ,bloating ,irritable bowel syndrome and dizziness oh and yes shortness of breath. I also have tinnitus which started around the same time but dont know if that could be linked.Anyway Docs appt today and I will be discussing this with him and whether he agrees or not I am going to go off them and see how I go with a good diet plenty of fish oil etc.

About 7 years ago I was prescribed a statin drug for high cholesterol.  I took a total of 11 pills,
and the muscles in my arms hurt so bad that I call my doctor, who told me to stop taking it.
It took 2 MONTHS,  of sitting with a heating pad on my chest with my arms crossed on it
before the pain stopped.  I am wondering if the sagging in those same muscles is a result
of this drug, or if it is just age related.

my doctor raised my lipitor to 20mg from 10mg because my number were still not low enough.  I also take Tricor.  I have familial hyperlidipemia that is not affected by diet or exercise.  After the switch for the higher dose, I started to get tendonitis in my elbow,..and no I don't play tennis!   The pain and swelling quickly spread to the other elbow, the tendons in the front and sides of my ankle.  I can barely walk now, and have difficulty with ADL's,  I googled Lipitor and tendon pain….and after reading for just a few minutes, I decided to stop taking it.   Some of the articles said that even after stopping, that some patients tendon pain did not go away, while other reported that it did albeit very slowly and with complete rest of the affected tendons.  I see my doctor tomorrow, and will inform her of my decision. There is no way I will take it again!!!  I would rather live without this excruciating pain and not live as long, than to live with the pain and live longer….it is a quality of life issue to me. 

I have stopped statins because i am 50 years old had my first mild heart attack at 49 and they put me on statins. I began to not remember my whereabouts. My memory was decreasing at a fast rate. I told my doctors and they all said they never heard of it before. I was somewhere and i had to sit down because I became confused of where I was. I have since stopped the meds and symptoms are getting better. I am hurt because it doesnt matter if a doctor has never heard of your symptoms, but as long as you said to your doctor it was worth investigating. I was a person who had a clear mind before taking statins. I will not allow meds to be the reason for early confusion.

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