Leg Pain with and after Statin Rx; does it go away?

About me:

I'm a white male in my 40's. I used to be an amateur athlete (soccer, rugby, jogging/running) in my free time. Now I struggle to do things I took for granted in my 20's and 30's, and yes even 2 months ago!

My cholesterol is high (like Mom's); always has been. Folks used to not believe I fasted, when I did. Just water before labs. Mom's a tiny little Swedish lady by heritage who minds what she eats for her heart, but still has high cholesterol. I mind my diet less and it's caught up w/ me (weight and cholesterol).

I've cut out sodas, and red meat and trying to also cut back on carbs since breads/sugars end up in my Triglycerides and want them much lower and my weight lower too. Portion size is a challenge too. My self discipline is improving as I avoid kryptonite - err I mean pizza, fast food, fried food, steak...

In recent years my primary care physician felt I hadn't done enough w/ diet and exercise so they strongly recommended I start taking a statin... but something feels very wrong!

My statin experience:

1st statin Rx >> minor leg pain, upset stomach and short term memory loss. Stopped taking it in 1st 30 days.

2nd statin Rx >> major upset stomach pain and sudden onset of short term memory loss. Stopped taking it in 1st 30 days.

3rd statin Rx >> re-started at 1/6 of Rx after initial upset stomach to avoid side effects and then worked up to 1/3 Rx dose in 45 days when significant muscle pain experienced in both legs and in arms when only holding a magazine to read. Stopped taking it approx 24 days ago. Still experiencing a lot of leg pain in muscles and it gets worse when I try to jog like I did easily up to this point.

Questions:

1. Did you experience leg muscle pain when you took statins?

2. If so, did your leg pain continue in the 1-2 months after you stopped taking the statin Rx?

3. If your leg pain STILL lingers, does anything you do now help relieve it, or reduce it >> so you can jog/exercise again?

4. Long term (for you...) at what interval after you took a statin and stopped it did your leg pain go away? At 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 2+ years? Does your leg pain ever completely go away, or rehabilitate/recover w/ exercise or diet or OTC or other?

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13 replies. Join the discussion

It can take several weeks for the muscle pain to resolve. You should work up slowly with your work out, like recovering from a pulled muscle. Let the pain be your guide. It will get better in time. My mother had similar problems with several statins and her pain did resolve.

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1. Yes
2. Yes
3. My case was serious so it took a long time until I could exercise, don't push it, your muscles cells are damaged
4. It took me two years, but I had a lot of damage. Coenzyme Q10 may help.
Sounds like you just cannot tolerate statins. You need to consider other options for cholesterol control. Diet accounts for a small percentage, hereditary factor, which you cannot control is the bulk of our issue. There are other classes of cholesterol lowering drugs that don't eat your muscles, fibrates, ezemtibe, niacin and bil acid sequestrants. Good luck.

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I had a very similar experience with statins. It probably took close to six months for it to totally resolve and be able to manage a leisurely jog without discomfort. I can almost guarantee that CoQ10 will help. I started with 400 Mg per day for about the first 6 months then tapered to 200 mg per day (that was 7 years ago and I still take it today). Now about the cholesterol/ triglyceride issue: I had always maintained a reasonable lipid panel until after I turned 40... actually thought they had mis-labeled someone else's sample with my name! It was terrible. I tried increasing my workouts and running distances and it was improved somewhat but not enough. That was when I had my ill-fated stint on statins. While recovering from the statins; my MD started me on Niaspan and I've been on it ever since! I have a text-book perfect lipid panel and none of the muscle issues I had with statins. I do hope you try the CoQ10... I really believe it would help speed your recovery.

Terri

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I am using bile acid sequestrants, a new one just out. So, I don't know how it will work. One piece of advice I can give regarding this class.....it is mucho dinero and it is cumbersome to use. It has to be separated from other medications, either one hour after or four hours before. Since you take it twice a day, that can be difficult if you take other meds. It also has to be taken with food and plenty of water.....and lots of bran, or other fibre. On the other hand, it is not metabolized in the body so it will have no effect on organs. It works by binding to bile acids which are produced by the liver. They contain LDL particles which the liver produces. The bound bile acids are flushed from the body and since they are not available to digest food the liver makes more bile acid, which it needs to use ldl to make, thus more LDL is flushed away. Side effects are gastrointestinal only.

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Thank you all for the quick replies. I am already encouraged. I had come across CoQ10 and tried it. Will stick w/ it. Will be re-reading all your posts (everyone) very closely. Greatly appreciate your sharing what has and hasn't worked. Thank you thank you thank you!!! Goodnight.

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Just a short personal note about bile acid sequestrants. My doc insisted I take them recently for an increased (but not sky high) cholesterol. One of the prescribing notes with the drug literature is to "not prescribe to patients with history of bowel obstruction.
Well, I have history of bowel obstruction (twice) but the doc insisted that I take Welchol anyway. I used all kinds of high-powered laxatives and softeners, but DID end up with a bowel obstruction anyway, even at the lowest possible dose. The obstruction is NOT simply a bad case of constipation, mind you, it means that the entire system is completely and utterly stopped-- in this case by the pills themselves making a logjam (in my case, in the small intestine) which is often only fixed through surgery. I was very lucky not to have to have surgery. The surgery often means a colostomy.
So, it is not a pesky kind of problem. It is a life-threatening problem that is not always avoidable, as in my case.
We haven't decided what I'm going to do yet about my high cholesterol. I've voluntarily changed my diet quite drastically, and have felt better for it.
I wish you the best as you find how to best control your cholesterol!
LOVE,
Melissa

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Wow that does ot sound like fun. So, you see, bile acid sequestrants come with their own issues. Let us all hope the new vaccine for cholesterol makes it through the human trials really, really soon.

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I have had problems with some of the statins especially Lipitor. The muscle aches took about a month to get rid of. I stopped the medication as soon as the ache appeared and told my MD about it. My trigliceride levels are always high to the point of 1600, average 500-600. I have been on different meds including Lovaza, which seemed to lower it slighly. I try hard to watch my diet and exercise by walking.
Good Luck
Tricia

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My dad has always suffered with aching legs since his heart attack when he was 50 and he alway said it was more severe when his calcium levels were low and taking calcium seems to still help them today even. In any form drinking lots of milk or eating lots of cheese or taking pills your choice:-)

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Hi, I have tried three different statins over a period of about 10 years. In each case I suffered badly from nightly leg and sometimes arm pain. Certainly a heating pad helped. Frequently I had no idea what was causing the pain.

Right now I am abstaining from Crestor for a week to see if the aching goes away. If it does then I will restart it to see if the leg aches come back. If they do I may give up on statins. Even low doses affect me. Crestor was 10 mg every other day. I may try taking it once a week. :-)

In answer to your question whether the pain goes away, I have found it does after about the third day of stopping the medicine.

For me no good solution. Good luck to you. Jdsredhead

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Thank you for sharing your experiences and suggestions.

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My body doesnot tolerate statins, nopr the lower dose red yeast rice. so my cardio asked me to take two capsules of red yeast rice, (THorne brand, Choleast) and one 100mg CoQ10 in the am and pm every day, along with Vit D 3000 iu's daily(as MD checked, and my blood levels were low), and I did and the leg pains went away!
when I stopped the CoQ10 and Vit D, eventually the leg pains returned, so I am a believer, adn my LDL's dropped 50 points on the three.
and I eat and ounce of walnuts, or flax, every day.

I also heard that a MD recommended to a friend to use 1 teaspoon of psyllium husks, Metamucil generic, twice or three times a day to bind the cholesterol, so I started just last week I my needs all the help I can offer!

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Some good news: It feels like a month plus since I stopped the statins and started taking CoQ10 daily. The leg pain walking disappeared immediately when stopped the statins. But troubling was the unusual amount of leg pain and leg weight (felt like tonnes) when I exercised previously (jogging slow). That finally dissipated enough to go for a jog again yesterday 1/2 kilometer, walk 200 meters, then finish return jog 1/2 kilometer. That was such a relief - not to be breaking any land speed records but just to be able to jog without unusual pain or weight in my legs. This morning I felt so good I did it again!

Tomorrow I go for labs (blood draws) and expect results in 10 days. More news next time.

I expect my cholesterol will be up again. This time I'm excited to just tackle it proactively with diet and exercise instead of reactively with prescription statins that only barter away some challenges for other ones - in my case.

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