Statins and side effects

By Sharon Collins

If you take statins and have symptoms that you think may be caused by the drug, there are steps you can take.
MedicationThere are steps you can take if you think statins are causing side effects

The cholesterol charity Heart UK advises: “Discuss any possible side effects with your doctor at the earliest opportunity – there are other statins and alternatives that could be considered and may be appropriate to reduce your risk without side effects. Your relationship with your doctor should be a partnership to find the best solution for you.”

GP Roger Henderson, whose speciality is cholesterol management, sees a significant number of patients with statin-related side effects, especially muscle pain and stiffness.

He says: “The only way to prove such symptoms are linked to statins is to stop for a month or so and see if they disappear. If they don’t, they’re not linked to statins. If they disappear, restart the tablets and if the symptoms return, a different treatment should be considered. Then tell your doctor this and ask for a lower dose of statin or an alternative.

“If your GP is unsympathetic to your symptoms you’ll come to no harm by stopping a statin yourself and seeing if the symptoms ease. If your cholesterol remains very high despite treatment, referral to a lipid specialist may be considered. CoQ10 help minimise symptoms but more research is needed to confirm this.”

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.


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  • Tony

    Posted: Monday 31 March 2014

    I have been on statins for a few years . At first I was Aching all over so I asked my doctor for an alternative. He gave me apparently the lowest dose of Lipitor.. I have taken these for nearly two years now.NO MORE. my body feels as though its being drained of all energy. My both upper arms have pains in them my legs,calf ,groin ,back are just continuously aching. Also since I started taking statins I have developed bruises at the slightest touch on my forearms,yes im getting old but !!!!

  • Judith Robertson

    Posted: Saturday 29 March 2014

    I've been taking statins for at least 10 years, since my stroke, and have gradually got worse and worse cramp in my legs and feet, causing me to wake up to 8 times through the night. I have now stopped them for the last 3 months but the cramp continues. Does anyone know if this is permanent damage?

  • meg

    Posted: Friday 28 March 2014

    I am on 80 atorvastatin doc will not reduce because of col level but I have put 14 pounds onin weight it is getting me down any ideas please that would help reduce weight I am not a big eater.

  • Mrs M R Marr

    Posted: Saturday 22 March 2014

    Started reluctantly to take statins recently ( doctor persuasive). Couldn't understand my 'heavy legs'. Friend pointed out her husband is the same - not taking any more!! I'm 74 years old and have enough problems anyway.

  • Janet jenkins

    Posted: Friday 14 March 2014

    I have been taking statins for many years but over the last year doctor has put me on to different statins, my legs are stiff groin area still painful! Is it taking two statins my legs stiff I am 61 but walk and get up and down like an 80 year old?

  • David

    Posted: Sunday 02 March 2014

    I have been on statins for nearly ten years and have suffered tendon failure and muscle loss. Remedy...take more statins. always question the need as the damage can be irreversible

  • AnnSeago

    Posted: Saturday 15 February 2014

    Took Statin for ten years. The last year I was also taking Omprazole. I started slurring my words falling over , staggering .Blurred vision leg pain. Told my doctor, he said keep taking them I ended up in Hospital for three months. Double in continent, unable to sit, walk. My hair fell out. I used to walk seven miles every morning before work. I was told I may never walk again. My calf muscles had gone. I am lucky I can walk with a stick.Don't let them tell you it only happens to a few.

  • Maurice Haynes

    Posted: Wednesday 01 January 2014

    I have been prescribed statins for several years since having a bi-pass. Over the period I have developed pains in my lower back and have tried all sorts to stop the pain, -- Physio, chiropractors, and even a cat-scan.Nothing was found or cured the medics put it down to age (70). Istarted to get cramps in my fingers on waking, my fingers clenched into fists which took som mins to "free up". A freind sugested that I try stop taking my statins and I did for a week and the hands & back cured imedi

  • Debbie

    Posted: Sunday 29 December 2013

    After yrs of poor sleep,waking through the night with hip,back,knee,ankle pain,also bruxism & having to use mouth guard. Then,despite refusing for a yr agreed to simvastatin as cholesterol high. Didnt connect the two at first but sleeping through the night,bags of energy,and realised no joint pain, no bruxism(so assume pain & tooth grinding connected) Feeling great on statin but finger pain/swelling so stopped statin, within a week,joint pains,no sleep - grinding teeth,less energy - mystified???

  • David Mair

    Posted: Tuesday 03 December 2013

    We all suffer from stresses and strains on a daily basis to our joints and muscles its normal, what I have found over past 3 months since stopping the statins is that they strangle the muscles, not allowing them to release any pressure,so over time this stress builds up and you end up with major issues like frozen shoulder that I have and muscle wastage. Omeprazole and the prazal range also have the same effect. Get your doctor to change these drugs and don't take no for an answer its your body

  • Edna

    Posted: Thursday 28 November 2013

    I was put on Statins in May 2012 after suffering a Heart attack and having a stent fitted may doctor at the hospital was most insistent that I take these but unfortunately I am now on my 5th trial and am still feeling tired my hair seems to have got thinner and no life also I am getting night sweats and quite a few dreams also the normal cramps and pains in the legs.
    I am now going to try and leave these off for a while to see how I will feel but am a bit worried.

  • Rusalka Ledder

    Posted: Tuesday 05 November 2013

    I took just 6 Atorvastatin 20mg tablets. From day two my arms and legs felt heavy and ached. By the evening of day six I could hardly walk or lift anything. I spoke to my GP who said to stop the tablets, drink plenty of water and see him the following day.

    A month later my legs still look wasted, even though I walk for an hour every day and I have terrible pain in my kidney and abdomen. Whatever my cholesterol level I will never take another statin tablet.

  • Carolyn seymour

    Posted: Sunday 27 October 2013

    I was put on 20mg simvastatin 3years ago,suffered cramps,frozen shoulder,tingling in feet, eyesight blurred, I even underlined all my symptoms on the Simvastatin list the doctor put me down as neurotic! This february she increased the dose to 40 mg as my cholesterol was 5.2 since then I went downhill suffering worse leg cramps, back pain, breathlessness and tight chest.a new doctor sent me to a specialist To do an angiogram. I stopped the statins. bingo! all pains have gone statins kill beware

  • pat

    Posted: Monday 30 September 2013

    I have always had a weekness in my back, so decided to go to a chiropractor he x rayed me and said my spine was quite good and no arthritis. I was put on sinvastatin 20mg i have been on them for about a year now. MY back was getting really awful pain i wake up every morning with back ache and weakness around my hip area. i decided to ask for another xray with the chiropractor and he was stunned to find my spine was full of arthritis i have now stopped the statin to see if this is the culprit.

  • jilly griggs

    Posted: Saturday 28 September 2013

    Have been on Atorvastatin for over 10 years. Having read all the comments here I am going to stop for 6 months and see if I feel any different. I have acute Tinnitus and often wondered if is a side affect. I am 72 and am fed up with feeling lethargic. Fingers crossed!

  • Pat lawler

    Posted: Thursday 19 September 2013

    Simvastin night trauma back pain memory loss . My friend also had same effects plus real memory loss

  • Gillian

    Posted: Thursday 05 September 2013

    I have been on statin for almost 2 years now but my weight is getting out of control. I always kept it at 60 k but despite a constant battle I am now 65 k and I just can't keep it down no matter how hard I try and I fear it will keep rising. I am also struggle to get up stairs or slight hills, i am so forgetful that I annoy myself. I just feel that I should come off them and see how things go but my doc doesn't agree.

  • Jennifer

    Posted: Saturday 22 June 2013

    I have always been wary of new drugs, as have always suffered side effects/ However, didn,t think much when my doctor put me on statins. First one caused too many problems, so took second one, after two weeks, skin itched so much wanted to tear it off, so stopped the pills. Then two weeks after stopping, noticed considerable hair loss, and bad muscle wastage. Firstly in neck, then noticed that the skin on my legs was hanging, with muscle wasting, hip pains. How long will it take to repair?

  • ghazala

    Posted: Wednesday 05 June 2013

    I have been taking statin for 7 years, but I have stopt a month ago because I put 15 kg since taking theme and as well I feel so weak,tired,memory loss. and I want to sleep all time.but since I stopt it I am loosing weigt and I feel much much more better.
    I have heard that they make people take this medication just for make money.
    I wish well all

  • Glyn Gregory

    Posted: Monday 27 May 2013

    I urge everyone, do not take statins. Since developing slurring speech, I looked online for reasons. I found that taking statins is a poison that slowly kills you, under the pretext of flawed research. I found that other things I have like loss of short term memory, muscle twitches, short of breath, lack of energy, libido and ED, which I put down to getting older, is also side effects of statins. I've researched online and youtube and found
    loads of sites that are interesting. PLEASE LOOK.

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