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Statins and muscle pain?

Old 05-24-19, 06:21 PM
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Statins and muscle pain?

About three years ago, I was taking Metformin for borderline Type II diabetes and my doctor told me the insurance company required me to be put on a statin as well. Since then I've lost 50 pounds, my hemoglobin A1C is back to normal and I've been taken off the Metformin. Unfortunately, the doctor wouldn't take me off the statin.

I started off on Atorvastatin and, after complaining about muscle pain, got switched to Pravastatin. The muscle pain is still there.

Does anyone know of a statin that doesn't cause muscle aches and pains? If one doesn't turn up, I plan to demand that my doc take me off them for an experimental period to see if the pains will go away. After all, I'm no longer considered diabetic, so the insurance company shouldn't care one whit whether I'm on one or not.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:31 PM
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One minor point first, and unrelated to your question. Once you have been diagnosed as having Diabetes Mellitus, you will always have it till the day you die. The better way to think of it in your current situation is that your diabetes is very "well controlled" and you do not need to take any prescription medicines to manage it.


Anyway, on taking statins...I was prescribed a statin to help control my then elevated level of cholesterol. As with you, the statin caused muscle pain in my legs. I felt "weak" and didn't feel I had any power when cycling. I asked my doctor to switch to a different statin and the muscle pain ceased.

When I was able to get my cholesterol under control, I wanted to quit taking it because of the well advertised side effects, (muscle pain), but my doctor strongly advised against it. Instead, I got one of those little 'pill cutters' and started cutting the pills in half. Since my cholesterol has continues to be "normal", he has since acquiesced to give me a 'half dose' pill so that I need not cut them in half anymore. (He wants me to continue taking a statin as a preventative measure for a well-documentated ancestral history of hypertension. Heart problems are known to run in the family tree since they first came to this country several hundred years ago.)

Since you are required to continue taking a statin, ask for another one, and possibly a small dosage.
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Old 05-25-19, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixBiker View Post
About three years ago, I was taking Metformin for borderline Type II diabetes and my doctor told me the insurance company required me to be put on a statin as well. Since then I've lost 50 pounds, my hemoglobin A1C is back to normal and I've been taken off the Metformin. Unfortunately, the doctor wouldn't take me off the statin.

I started off on Atorvastatin and, after complaining about muscle pain, got switched to Pravastatin. The muscle pain is still there.

Does anyone know of a statin that doesn't cause muscle aches and pains? If one doesn't turn up, I plan to demand that my doc take me off them for an experimental period to see if the pains will go away. After all, I'm no longer considered diabetic, so the insurance company shouldn't care one whit whether I'm on one or not.
First, you need to figure out whether you believe you need the statins. Read everything you can and decide for yourself. If you conclude you don't need them, stop taking them. If your insurance won't pay for needed drugs without the statins, no problem. Just maintain your statin prescription and toss the pills in the trash.

If you feel you need to lower your cholesterol numbers but experience pain you have a tougher row to hoe. My wife fell in that category. Statins caused her enough muscle pain that she concluded she couldn't take them but worried constantly about her numbers since CVD runs in her family. She worked with her doctor trying a variety of statins all to no avail. He finally got her approved for Repatha, a new, non-statin, bi-weekly injection that knocks her cholesterol numbers way down below 100. The problem is that Repatha is hugely expensive so insurance companies fight it tooth and nail. My wife got approved for a reimbursement program from the manufacturer that cuts the cost way down but it isn't clear if or how long that will continue. Worth checking it out with your GP.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:22 AM
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Medicine that causes pain should be called Poison. Only taken if not taking it will harm you more quickly.

Most American docs are simply pill pushers, for Big Pharma. Overly educated drug dealers, many accepting kick-backs. I always choose foreign trained doctors (General Practitioners), and that's not a guarantee either.

Statins are hugely over-prescribed in USA.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:29 AM
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I'm going to say stay on your meds and keep living healthy. Watched my riding partner go downhill after a simular situation. He ended up with a quadruple bypass with some blockages over 90 percent.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
I'm going to say stay on your meds and keep living healthy. Watched my riding partner go downhill after a simular situation. He ended up with a quadruple bypass with some blockages over 90 percent.
Maybe.
Statins don't correct blockages. And statins will not prevent plaque build-up if the patient eats a high cholesterol diet.
Your friend had a lifetime of health compromising practices, the pills he may have taken may have made him think he was safe to continue a bad diet and poor life habits. Most pills do not fix anything, mainly mask the symptoms (for a false sense of security), leading to more negatively consequential health outcomes as the years progress.

But every person is unique with different solutions working for different individuals.

edit: IMHO, living with statin induced muscle pain is NOT 'living healthy' as you state.
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Old 05-25-19, 08:15 AM
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[QUOTE=PhoenixBiker;20946418].and my doctor told me the insurance company required me to be put on a statin as well. Since then I've lost 50 pounds, my hemoglobin A1C is back to normal and I've been taken off the Metformin. Unfortunately, the doctor wouldn't take me off the statin. [QUOTE]


Here's evidence the practice of Medicine in USA is more about insurance profits and Big Pharma profits than health outcomes.

Big Pharma is like Big Tobacco. Just a few years offset.
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Old 05-25-19, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Maybe.
Statins don't correct blockages. And statins will not prevent plaque build-up if the patient eats a high cholesterol diet.
Your friend had a lifetime of health compromising practices, the pills he may have taken may have made him think he was safe to continue a bad diet and poor life habits. Most pills do not fix anything, mainly mask the symptoms (for a false sense of security), leading to more negatively consequential health outcomes as the years progress.

But every person is unique with different solutions working for different individuals.

edit: IMHO, living with statin induced muscle pain is NOT 'living healthy' as you state.
I agree, what's there is there. As they get more restricted, you have less oxygen and blood flow. I'm just not sure there is a better way found yet once the damage is done. He complained of muscle pain for years after stopping his meds and you could see him slow down. I'm just glad he's not dead and is back out riding. He does have a crazy smiley face scar on his chest though.
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Old 05-25-19, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
I agree, what's there is there. As they get more restricted, you have less oxygen and blood flow. I'm just not sure there is a better way found yet once the damage is done. He complained of muscle pain for years after stopping his meds and you could see him slow down. I'm just glad he's not dead and is back out riding. He does have a crazy smiley face scar on his chest though.
Glad your friend is alive and riding. Riding is probably his best medicine.
Many years ago, had a doc prescribe statins at minimum dosage, took them only for a couple of months, the muscle soreness lasted many, many months after stopping. The side effects of many medications are not well understood, because those people (suffering the side effects) are the outliers in the study - hopefully - and the pharmaceutical company wants to minimize those results 'for the benefits to the majority' - in the short run. Long term effects of many meds are almost completely unknown.

Life is limited, quality of life is subjective. We all make our own life choices, for better or worse and reap the results. Cycling often reveals our physical weaknesses to the people we most want to show our strengths.

Ride on!
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Old 05-25-19, 01:55 PM
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The doctor doesn't have to take you off. You can just stop. I switched to atorvastatin 80mg before I quit. It was better but not perfect. Before quitting, try 100mg CoQ10 morning and night. Baby asririn at night. 5g of L-citrulline malate every morning. Try that regimen for a month before quitting.
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Old 05-27-19, 08:34 AM
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Since no one else has answered the question you actually asked, I'm on rosuvastatin (crestor) and it's not causing me any muscle pain that I notice. Atorvastatin caused me horrible restless leg, so my Dr switched me to this. Worth a shot
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Old 05-27-19, 01:02 PM
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This has been a helpful thread. I've been recently, 5 months ago, put on Atorvastatin because of a stoke event and am miserable with the muscle pain.
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Old 05-27-19, 06:03 PM
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Switch to a whole food plant based lifestyle and throw your drugs away. Do some research, Dr Dean Ornish, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr Joel Furhman, Dr John McDougall, Dr Garth Davis, Dr Michael Greger, Dr Robert Ostfeld, Prof T Colin Cambell, and so many others. Decades of research and science and helping thousands of patients take control of their health. Your doctor prescribing statins is masking your symptoms, not addressing the cause, which is what you put in your mouth. Or, take drugs for the rest of your life.
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Old 05-28-19, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixBiker View Post
I started off on Atorvastatin and, after complaining about muscle pain, got switched to Pravastatin. The muscle pain is still there.

Does anyone know of a statin that doesn't cause muscle aches and pains? If one doesn't turn up, I plan to demand that my doc take me off them for an experimental period to see if the pains will go away. After all, I'm no longer considered diabetic, so the insurance company shouldn't care one whit whether I'm on one or not.
Last point first: after my MI cost my insurance company about a quarter of a million dollars, I tend to think they might care about preventing another cardiovascular event -- mine or somebody else's.

One of the cardiologists I've dealt with noted that each statin is effective for about 70-85% of the population; the rest either don't respond or have side effects. As far as he could tell me, there's no way to tell who responds to any given statin, so a patient needs to work with the doctor to find which, if any, of the 6 (or is it 7?) statins on the market works for you. I'd push for the lowest dose of any new medicine, but you shouldn't confuse my conversations and google searches with a medical degree.
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Old 05-28-19, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The doctor doesn't have to take you off. You can just stop.
^^^This. He can prescribe but he can't make you take them. He can't even make you buy them. You can try different statins to see if they have the same effect. Personally, I think that if your numbers are even close to normal, then you shouldn't suffer the side-effects to treat what may not even be a problem.

There is a years-old statins thread here, which might make good reading. Short version of my story: my doc said without statins I would be dead in 10 years. After suffering every side-effect in the book I took myself off. So he referred me to a cardiologist, who put me though the mead-grinder and was openly disappointed that he couldn't find anything wrong with me. It's been over 10 years now, and I'm still kicking axx even though I never fully regained my strength after the statin debacle. Both docs have since been fired.
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Old 05-28-19, 01:08 PM
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CoQ10

Ditto for CoQ10, and a water and fat-soluble form absorbs better. Statins reduce CoQ10 levels in the body which may contribute to symptoms.
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Old 05-28-19, 06:33 PM
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I've probably mentioned this before somewhere, but the reason other than my age that the cardio put my on a statin was that I have a high calcium score. Except it turns out that endurance athletes have high calcium scores no matter what they eat if they do it long enough. But there's no evidence that in this case the high calcium score is related to increased incidence of heart attacks. The stuff sticks to the artery walls, the same effect which statins produce.
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Old 06-12-19, 11:28 AM
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Another vote for CoQ10.
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Old 06-18-19, 10:47 AM
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Having had a rough couple years and the cardiologist scaring the crap out of me with a Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction diagnosis. As this was leading to Gastric Sleeve surgery, she decided to wait and see what my A1C numbers levelled off at as I lost weight. Now, 116 pounds down and still losing, my A1C is in normal ranges, trending lower still. I am pleased to have an excellent Ejection Fraction numbers no matter the diagnosis (how much blood is pumped with each heart beat), yet was as surprised as she was with the coronary calcium score, which was ZERO... So she sees no reason to even consider statins, nor cholesterol meds. And no longer on blood pressure meds. I do still take 2 water meds, but both doses are much lower than they used to be, and she sees a time I should be able to stop them. And the 2 best things she has told me, I am clear to exercise at whatever heart rate I feel good at. And, she doesn't need to see me till next year...
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Old 06-22-19, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The doctor doesn't have to take you off. You can just stop. I switched to atorvastatin 80mg before I quit. It was better but not perfect. Before quitting, try 100mg CoQ10 morning and night. Baby asririn at night. 5g of L-citrulline malate every morning. Try that regimen for a month before quitting.
This is what I did a number of years ago. Then after dropping 100 pounds I was taken off HBP, Statins and Metformin. A couple of years ago I regained 50 of the 100 I lost and had to go back on HBP meds; at that point the doc wanted to test for High Cholesterol and I said why should I spend the money to see if I need a drug I will never take/buy; because of the leg pain the last time? He dropped the subject.
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Old 06-27-19, 09:32 AM
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Every medical forum has a Wildwood.
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Old 06-30-19, 02:41 PM
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Newbie to forum, but cycling for last 45 yrs. I feel for you. Last year my wife was diagnosed with diabetes but despite low cholesterol was badgered to take atorvastatin. She fought it until finally giving in. For me, I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and given atorvastatin almost 20 yrs ago and within a few months suffered muscle weakness and spasms. Switched to pravastatin which was better for a few months before the return of symptoms. Later, switched to Zetia and then rosuvastatin, then 1/2 rosuvastatin every other day. During each of these switches, the symptoms would abate, before returning. Lastly, I was switched to pitavastatin which within days resulted in uncontrollable muscles spasms in my legs, chest muscles, back and ..... eyelids. During this 12 yr period, I lost muscle strength and the spasms would put me out of commission running or biking for at least of couple of weeks. Finally, I said enough is enough and stopped all statins. In the 7 yrs since I have had 2 or 3 muscle spasms as opposed to a nearly daily occurrence. When Praluent (similar to Repatha both PCSK9 inhibitors) was approved by the FDA (summer '15), I was lucky enough to be the 5th person in my area (AL, GA) to be approved. In the 4 yrs since, no muscle weakness, no spasms and I've been able to work my way up to 150 mi per week cycling. Still some residual weakness, but my cholesterol is far lower than any statin I took. Recent clinical trials with these PCSK9 inhibitors have shown decreased mortality, CHD .... so insurers are slowly starting to approve them. I'm not a doctor (not that type anyhow), but anecdotally there are people who are statin intolerant and there are other options.
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