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Old 01-16-05, 06:32 PM   #1
Garfield Cat
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Bike Riding and Cholesterol drugs

What experiences have you had with Statin drugs like Lipitor and bike performance? One of the side effects of long term use of statin drugs is muscle weakness. Many people over the age of 50 are on some kind of cholesterol lowering medicine.
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Old 01-16-05, 07:28 PM   #2
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I've been on zocor for about 2 years and ride and swim quite a bit. I have not noticed any muscle pain or weakness.
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Old 01-16-05, 08:03 PM   #3
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We (or at least I) need to ask why so many doctors and pharma companies are pushing statins, etc. so hard. Many members of the past few generations lived well into their 90s without these medications. The impacts of diet, particuarly fiber intake and quantity of food, and exercise, particularly aerobic, on serum cholesterol are well-known, and studies of cholesterol levels versus cardiovascular disease have generally established coincidence, rather than causality. My wife's doctor wanted to prescribe something to lower her serum cholesterol, but she declined, made a few minor dietary adjustments, and came back with much better levels at her next blood test.
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Old 01-16-05, 08:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat
What experiences have you had with Statin drugs like Lipitor and bike performance? One of the side effects of long term use of statin drugs is muscle weakness. Many people over the age of 50 are on some kind of cholesterol lowering medicine.
I am off the subject a bit. When I took up biking again, I had a cholesterol problem: 220+ total chol. and 40+ HDL (too low). Biking on a recumbent, in the mountains largely took care of my problem: 205 total chol. and 55 HDL. For me biking seemed to meet the aerobic & strength exercise needs in regards to chol. Now, if I could only do as well with my diet.

I realize that it does not seem to work this way with everyone.
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Old 01-16-05, 09:24 PM   #5
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John E makes a good point. Why are they pushing these statins? Personally, I tried everthing, lost the weight, exercise, excellent diet, fiber, the works but to no avail. Total cholesterol 249 and LDL 150. HDL did improve from 35 to 58 due primarily to exercise. On the meds and saw a drop from 249 to 190 and the LDL to 120. So the medications lower the numbers, but at what long range health cost? Would love to get off the statins.
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Old 01-21-05, 03:13 PM   #6
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I think the statins are used today because not everyone is willing to make life long changes, like diet and exercise. We on this bike list at least do the exercise. There was a study done in Canada on a community of Amish and they eat red meat, bacon, dairy products but still their incidence of heart disease is much lower than the general population in the West. The researchers found out that the Amish had much physical activity 6 days a week. No tractors, no washing machines, just horse and buggy.

Depending on dosage and maybe age, the statins are taken either 10 mg or 20 mg. daily. A naturopathic doctor told me that Lipitor may soon be available over the counter. The first sign is weakness and the body's message is tiredness. Watch out when you drive your car and start to feel drowsy. But the cause of tiredness can be caused by other things like sleep apnea.
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Old 01-21-05, 03:28 PM   #7
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here is a previous thread, mostly about lipitor, but a statin is a statin, generally

Side effects of Lipitor?
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Old 01-24-05, 06:24 PM   #8
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I've been on Zocor or Lipitor for the last 10 years and have not noticed any real side effects. In fact, last season was my best in a long time. I used the drugs because without them, regardless of what I did, I could not bring the numbers down. If they are going to save your life, what's the issue?
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Old 01-24-05, 07:45 PM   #9
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I have tried lipitor and vytorin (a combination of zetia and zocor) and got tremendous muscle pains on both. I don't seem to have any problems with zetia alone, but that's because zetia works differently from the statins in that it only works on the cholesterol in the diet rather than the cholesterol generated by one's own body. Just last week, after spending two weeks "coming down" from the muscle pains caused by vytorin, I contacted my doctor and asked to be put back on zetia (which I had used without side-effects for over a year), only to learn that zetia was mentioned as problematic along with Vioxx. I'm not sure what I'll do now, but staying off all cholesterol lowering drugs is the most likely scenario. We'll see.

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Old 01-28-05, 07:47 AM   #10
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I've read all the posts and I wonder why, with all the risks, people continue to take statins. I also did a bit of web research and came up with this
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/drugs/statins.html

If you go to that link, it is interesting to see what they say about my drug of choice; ASA or Aspirin.
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Old 01-28-05, 09:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
We (or at least I) need to ask why so many doctors and pharma companies are pushing statins, etc. so hard. Many members of the past few generations lived well into their 90s without these medications. The impacts of diet, particuarly fiber intake and quantity of food, and exercise, particularly aerobic, on serum cholesterol are well-known, and studies of cholesterol levels versus cardiovascular disease have generally established coincidence, rather than causality. My wife's doctor wanted to prescribe something to lower her serum cholesterol, but she declined, made a few minor dietary adjustments, and came back with much better levels at her next blood test.
I have the same skepticism (okay - maybe it's cynicism for the corporate machine), but Lipitor seems to work for me. My cholesterol has been borderline (~220-240 -- that's considered too high, now) for much of my adult life, despite being relatively active. A few years ago I was out of work for the first time in my adult life and spent much of my days working out or doing lots of physical exercise, and eating primarily salads (eliminated all meat); I lost about 15-20 pounds. I was able to barely "get my numbers down" then. But once back to work, it went back up for a variety of reasons. Until my boss says, "sure, go home early so you can get in a workout", and they sell fresh produce in vending machines, it's tough. (Doesn't mean that I don't keep trying). I take a pill every other day, and my numbers remain good.

I share the concern that drug companies care more about their profits than consumers (and guess whose side the current administration is on) and have a huge is stake in medications versus solving the root cause, but it's hard to argue against the numbers.
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Old 01-28-05, 10:46 AM   #12
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Well, if you read the article you cite, statins sound like they offer a number of significant up sides. I'm not recommending that any take a drug they don't need but id does say: "The market could easily grow in the coming years. Statins are being called the Aspirin of the 21st century and a miracle drug because they might actually do a lot more than just prevent heart attacks.

Studies have suggested that statins might also slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and help patients with osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis. And new data raise the possibility that statins might also ward off colon, breast and prostate cancer and lower your overall cancer risk. "
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Old 01-28-05, 02:43 PM   #13
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I am 50 yrs.old, and have been taking Lipitor for about 3 years with no side effects nor problems. It, along with watching my diet and exersize seems to have kept my bad chloresterol level down to about 100.
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Old 02-03-05, 01:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimshapiro
I have tried lipitor and vytorin (a combination of zetia and zocor) and got tremendous muscle pains on both. I don't seem to have any problems with zetia alone, but that's because zetia works differently from the statins in that it only works on the cholesterol in the diet rather than the cholesterol generated by one's own body. Just last week, after spending two weeks "coming down" from the muscle pains caused by vytorin, I contacted my doctor and asked to be put back on zetia (which I had used without side-effects for over a year), only to learn that zetia was mentioned as problematic along with Vioxx. I'm not sure what I'll do now, but staying off all cholesterol lowering drugs is the most likely scenario. We'll see.
Jim, if you have muscle pains with statins, definitely stop them immediately!!! That indicates possible heart damage. Depending on how much you're trying to lower your numbers, something like Welchol might work. It supposedly only drops cholesterol by 8-16 points, but it was more like 25 for me. Still not enough, which I why I'm on Lipitor now. No problems for me so far...
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Old 02-03-05, 08:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Jim, if you have muscle pains with statins, definitely stop them immediately!!! That indicates possible heart damage. Depending on how much you're trying to lower your numbers, something like Welchol might work. It supposedly only drops cholesterol by 8-16 points, but it was more like 25 for me. Still not enough, which I why I'm on Lipitor now. No problems for me so far...
Thanks for your concern. I stopped the Vytorin and the muscle cramps started subsiding shortly thereafter and were gone completely in about two weeks time. I'm sure glad the Lipitor works for you, and most other folks who try it, but there are a lot like me for whom the side-effects (I think it's called rhabdomyolysis) are too severe to continue with it. We'll see what my doctor recommends. Stay tuned.

Jim

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Old 02-05-05, 11:20 AM   #16
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Been on Lipitor for a year. Gave up red meat. Went from 247 total to 140. LDLs and HDLs were perfect. But triglycerides were still bad. So now I can't drink alcohol. Which really sucks. I have had no problems with muscle weakness or pain. (i'm only 49 though.... shhhhhh.... birthday's almost here) Ultimately I'd like to give up the statins. I've had fine cholesterol counts in the past and think I can get back there with weight loss. I'm about 15 lbs. over.
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Old 02-23-05, 07:02 PM   #17
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Although I agree that NOT taking artifical drugs is best - some of us have no choice when it comes to statins.

I have been on Lipitor for 3 years and Zetia for 6 months to control total serum cholesterol that was originally counted at 320.

Much to the dismay of the cardiologist and his nutrional counselor - I could not blame diet for the high numbers. I had not eaten red meat for over 15 years, had a moderate weekly intake of dairy (and low-fat at that), ate numerous veggies and high fiber products, take vitamins daily, exercised 3-4 times per week for over 10 years and do not smoke.

Needless to say - the lifestyle changes normally suggested were already in place - with less than stellar results where the cholesterol was concerned.

An extensive family history review (including testing of all siblings and other related family members - all tested "high" compared to the norm by the way) - along with some weekly blood work led to the conclusion that my body naturally produced large amounts of cholesterol. Diet, at best, was determined to be a contributing factor in about 10% of the total number.

In an interesting "trial" - my doctor had me stop the statins for a 60 day timeframe after year number 2 - within 45 days, my readings increased from 202 to 285. Again, adding credence to the genetic tendancy argument.

So unless something interesting comes out of stem cell research - I am doomed to supporting the drug companies for many more years.
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Old 02-23-05, 10:31 PM   #18
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I'm 55. Been taking Lipator for past three years. No ill effects as far as I can tell and I haven't experienced any muscle weakness that I can perceive while bicycling. (Of course, my real muscle weakness is simply that I'm getting along in years and the body ain't what she used to be!). I don't like the idea of taking the drug but after several talks with my doc, it seems best. Bicycling has definitely raised my HDL (from 35 to 70, though the doc wants it higher - in the 75 to 80 range if at all possible) and he says, and I have no reason to doubt him, the only way to raise HDL is through exercise. So I bike on.
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Old 02-24-05, 12:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
We (or at least I) need to ask why so many doctors and pharma companies are pushing statins, etc. so hard. Many members of the past few generations lived well into their 90s without these medications...
...many members of the preantibiotic era survived pneumococcal pneumonia and/or TB and lived well into old age, but many didn't. Penicillin and anti-tuberculosis drugs sure made a difference and greatly improved the odds of surviving into old age.

The same can be said for diabetes medications, statins, and anti-hypertensives.
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Old 02-24-05, 07:28 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat

No tractors, no washing machines, just horse and buggy.
Well, it would seem at least that the horses should have low cholesterol.

My wife's entire family has high cholesterol. Her brother is 63, and exercises regularly (like he looks like he is 45), keeps his weight at a perfect poundage, eats an excellent diet and still has very high cholesterol.

He is currently in Iraq, teaching Iraqi's how to be policeman.

My wife is making one last attempt to lower her cholesterol by diet and exercise, but has been exercising for years, and we eat a pretty good diet.

Otherwise, she will likely go on statins.

Sometimes diet and exercise simply does ot do it.
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Old 02-24-05, 11:20 AM   #21
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I'm currently on a fairly low dose (20 mg/day) of Zocor and have had no muscle problems. My Dr checks a liver enzyme, creatine something or other, which is supposed to show if you have the muscle side effect, and I score low on that (although the Zocor) website warns that test doesn't always work.
I think statins have their place. I agree the medical profession is pushing these drugs because they think a lot of people are not willing to make the lifestyle changes, or that better diet and exercise is not always enough. For people that don't get the side effects, they could be doing a lot of good.
My only concern is my Dr, who himself is pretty overweight, did not suggest I 1st try lifestyle change, and in fact was dubious it would work. Is this ignorance in his part, and if so, how widespread is it? If I'd gone to a lean and fit sports medicine Dr would I have gotten a different opionion? My Dr's reasoning was I had a family history of heart disease so immediate statin use was warranted, as long as I didn't get side effects. I have cleaned up my diet and added supplements like plant sterols in parallel to taking the Zocor, and am currently working on losing 30 pounds. When I hit my target I will consider taking myself off Zocor and getting retested.
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Old 02-24-05, 11:52 AM   #22
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I am 67 and take Lovastatin. Ride a couple of hundred miles a week. No problems that I have seen.

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Old 02-24-05, 12:58 PM   #23
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I've tried Lipitor twice and both times had excrucitaing muscle pains after only three days. Zocor was the same but the pain was a little less. I'm 54, great shape, but very high cholesterol. Looking now for a natural option but I don't think any of them are as effective as the statins.
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Old 02-24-05, 01:54 PM   #24
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I went to the Doc's last July and had the test.
Total 333! LDL 235!
Changed my diet (less BBQ, more fish & veggies), began a regular exercise program, and the doc put me on niacin. Started at 500 mg per day, jacked it to 1000, then doubled to 1000 twice a day.
Last checkup yielded a total of 205 with a LDL of 123. Not perfect numbers, but getting close, and so far no statins needed.
Niacin does give you flushing or hot flashes for a while right after you take it, but it seems to get better the longer you take it, or maybe I am just getting used to it. Something is working, probably a combination of all of the above. A lot of doctors are using more niacin and less statins. You would want to check with a doctor before starting it on your own. Mine insists that the time release is not the way to go and always use a crystalline type (he recommends Twin Labs brand).
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Old 02-24-05, 03:32 PM   #25
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Concerning niacin....do you have any trouble with rash/hot flashes? It damn near set me afire at 1000mg.
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