SEVERE leg pain and Statins

Yesterday I came home from a 2 mile walk with serious leg pain. (I used to run!) I used to take Lipitor, now Crestor, and I think these statins are killing me. I was taking Red Yeast Rice with COQ10 on the suggestion of a friend, to ameliorate the pain, but it is worsening. I am going off the red yeast rice today. I am on statins for life (4 stents) but am thinking of calling cardio to reduce amount. Does anyone else have this severe response? Can anyone suggest how to reduce these symptoms? Thank you.

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Yes, go back to your doctor. It is possible that you won't be able to take statins or possible that you need to go back to the Lipitor. You should quit taking the Red Yeast Rice as it has properties similar to statins but ask your doctor about it and the COQ 10.

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Hi Barbara,
Statins are known to cause muscle pain and a potentially serious muscle atrophy or myopathy with some people. I've been experimenting with different statins and have extreme muscle pain with all of them, including Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, and Zetia. My latest attempt, with my cardio's guidance, was CoQ10 with Pravachol to counter this problem. it did not work. l've done online research and found articles from the New England Journal of Medicine that shows that people who have this muscle side effect may also have a certain gene. I haven't seen any information about a treatment addressing that problem. I'm going to go back to a prescription fish oil and talk to my doctor about a niacin-type prescription and red yeast rice. Also, I am in cardio rehab and exercising a lot. There is some research that increasing fiber can reduce cholesterol because it adheres to the fiber and is removed from the body. I'm using Benefiber which is very easy to mix with lots of different kinds of foods and has no taste or texture. AHA endorses fiber as helpful.

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Honestly, girls, I got more response to the question about wine than leg pain. LOL

Okay, I will call my cardio and run this by him but I know he is going to want to try another drug. I will look into Benefiber, am taking Citrucel now, which may be similar. The reason I take that may be related to Toprol. ( My eco system is very sensitive, no joke.)

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Hi Barbara,

I also suffered agonising leg and arm pains and cramps when I took statins, I tried lots of different ones too. How to get rid of the pain? Just stop the statins, it's the only solution for some of us. I used to feel 100 years old, now I'm back to my old self. Sometimes we just have to weigh up the pros and cons and do what's best for us. I just couldn't live like that so I did what's right for me. I read as much as I could about statins and after weighing up all information doing the research and making sense of the statistics I've stopped worrying about my cholesterol completely. There are two sides to every story, statins aren't for everyone.
Lidia x

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Lidia, waht kind of CAD do you have, if I may ask? That's pretty brave. Were you not worried?

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Hi Barbara,
I had an MI and stent in 2007.
Yes I was worried about stopping statins but the side effects were unbearable so I was caught between a rock and a hard place, that's the reason I spent days and days reading everything I could, every study and all the findings, trying to understand the published numbers. I know my feelings about statins are frowned upon by most people here but I had to do what was right for ME.
Below is a tiny bit of information I read which sparked off my hunt for more statistics. I had to be sure in my own mind that I wasn't doing something crazy and putting myself in danger.

The Scandinavian simvastatin survival study found the biggest effects of all statin trials—in men. However, what is less publicised is that, overall, three more women died in the statin arm than in the placebo arm.5 The more recent heart protection study was hailed as a major success for men and women, but despite the hype there was no effect on overall mortality in women.6
In the studies of primary prevention neither total mortality nor serious adverse events have been reduced.7 A meta-analysis published in the Lancet found that statins even failed to reduce coronary heart disease events in women.8 Of greater concern is that a further meta-analysis of statins in primary prevention suggested that overall mortality may actually be increased by 1% over 10 years (in both men and women).9

The thing that bugs me the most is the way the results of trials are published to show HUGE benefits of certain drugs, for instance if a trial had 1000 people on a drug and 1000 people on placebo and 3 died in the placebo group and 2 died while taking the drug the result would say that people taking the drug had a 33% higher rate of survival. Also the figures would only include the deaths of people from a specific disease and fail to mention 'all cause mortality' in some case more people would die in the drug group, but that would be ignored when the results were published. As for side effects here's another snippet for you.

More definite evidence comes from the US Food and Drug Administration adverse event reporting system. Between November 1997 and May 2004 simvastatin was reported as a direct cause of 49 350 adverse events and 416 deaths.4 Adverse events are greatly under-reported, so the actual figures are likely to be much higher.

I just need to say please don't think I'm encouraging you to stop taking statins, your body is yours, you have to make your own judgements. I tried to decrease my statin to 5mg three times a week but I couldn't even tolerate that small amount.
I know that we're all different and where some drugs work beautifully for some people others are harmed by them, this is something that the medical profession and the drug companies seem to want to ignore.

I hope I've answered your question, sorry I got my soap-box out again, I promised myself I would ignore any posts with the word Statin in the title but in the end I just couldn't!

Lidia xx

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I heard about someone else who stopped their statins, so not to worry, Lidia. I think the way to go (for me) is to speak to md about cutting back and see what happens. Certainly this is no way to live. I was thinking that if I could run again, and address the diet issue, it might be as effective as a statin.

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Some of us have a very big problem with statins. I was on everyone they make and had rhabdomyolosis with every one. Could hardly stand the covers on my legs at night and aching in every muscle in my body at times. After stopping the statins all the pain went away. I know a lot of people who try to tolerate this pain and stay on the medication, but rarey do their numbers go down. The body is telling you that you must correct the cholesterol problem another way...exericse and diet.


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Hi....I have been getting bad charleyhorse pains in my leg everymorning before I get up out of bed.
One morning I had the pain in both of my legs which never happened before. I am going to tell my dr. again about this because he did not seem to be concerned.....

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Dear Barbara Gale,
I was intrigued by your entry and subsequent discussions. I had bypass x 2 in 2004 after only a month of increasing shortness of breath, and gradually increasing chest pain.By history, my maternal grandmother died @ 67 of a sudden heart attack in our house and my Mom died in her sleep of a heart attack in 1999 @ 67 yrs old!But their lifestyles were significant contributers ,at least I thuoght so.I realize it is obviously genetic...lucky me! I am the non-smoking, athletic, health conscious nurse practitioner of the family! Anyway,I definitely have a genetic predisposition to screwed up hdl/ldl ratios... a huge risk. I was on lipitor 10 mgs daily until about 10 mos. ago when I was switched to Crestor to try to improve the ratio. Since then I have had pain in my hands, loss of grip strength and pain in my legs and shoulders. The confusing part is that I have had problems with back and hip stuff since a car accident ( also in 2004!) But your dialogue and the responses has triggered me to definitely inspired me to let my doctor know when I see her in a few wks.Besides, all my other numbers are really low and even my LDLs are low so having an HDL of 38 - 40 still doesn't give me a bad overall ratio. Thanks for your info and to all my heart sisters who have helped me get this far after such a shock in2004. May 20, 2009 will be my 5 yr surgery anniversary and it sure beats the alternative!!! Stay strong ladies and together our knowledge , support and comfort will keep us strong and kicken' Donna

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Hi there,

I just went to the doctor this past week because of severe leg pains and numbness and tingling in my hands. This is a sign of a SERIOUS side effect of statin drugs and he took me off my Crestor.

I'd been on Crestor 10mg for a couple of years and it kept my cholestrol down and no side effects. But I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid A 2 months ago and my numbers were back up to 235 so he increased the dosage to 40 mg a couple of weeks ago. I started getting tingling and numbness in my hands and feet but that is also a side effect of RA and I had so much intermittent pain from that I didn't really pay attention to it. But it got worse and then I got EXTREME leg pain in my calves, thighs and pelvic area mostly at night after taking my Crestor. After 5 days of agony I went to the doctor and he said it was probably caused by my Crestor and took me off it.

My mother had the same problem with Lipitor. It caused her to have Peripheral Neuropathy about 5 years ago and she is better but still dealing with it.

Unfortunatley because of the RA and possible congestive heart failure it can cause (which is what my dad died from at age 62) I know I'll have to get back on something for my cholestrol.

I've been off the Crestor for 4 days now and every day the pain is getting better. Vicodin didn't help with the pain but I've been taking muscle relaxers and Xanax at night and the pain is almost gone.

So beware and see your doctor immediatly. It can cause not just neuropathy but other serious muscle degenerative conditions.

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I have had w MI's, 5 by-passes, have a Pacemaker-defibrilator and a very strong family history of CAD on both sides of my family. I had my 1st Mi at 47 years of age and in July, I will be 67. I have tried to take every statin that has been made. I was most sucessful with vytorin; however after about 17 yearswith many different types of statins, the leg pains and the general lack of energy led me to belief my problem had to be the statins. Because of my lack of energy and general lethargic feeling, my cardiologist decided that I surely must have another blockage, after a cath that revealed no blockages, I decided it had to be the statins. I quit taking them on my own and within a week, I began to feel much better. My cardiologist insisted that I try another statin (I have now tried 3 different ones - since them-all with the same side-effects.) Sometimes you just have decide what is the lesser of the "evils". I am very careful with my diet and try to exercies often. My total cholesterol is slightly elevated-my LDL is high, but my HDL remains good; therefore my ratio is not too bad. I decided, I would have to take my chances without statins-I take 4000mg of fish oil daily and continue with COQ10-200mg daily. I have tried red rice yeast and the leg pains are just as intense-it is a statin also.
Good luck and let's all hang in there!

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Wow...I came across this just in time. I have been having terrible muscle spasms (charleyhorse) pains in the calves of my legs mostly every morning before I get up. I take 40mg of Simvastatin (zocor) before I go to sleep. I am going to the doctor tomorrow and letting him know what I have read on here...thanks very much gals....

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Hello Sarah Rose....okay, so what do you do now that you do not take any stains? Do you take different medicine in place of this?

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I am typing this reply in regards to my girlfriend who has had a heart attack , has had stents inserted into arteries & is prone to congestive heart failure and goes through horrific leg pains upon waking up in the morning. I have personally taken lipator, crestor although have never had heart trouble myself. Is their any other medicines you might know of that she can take with her condition like I take that does not cause such extreme agony? thanks .
richie who loves and cares for "Wondering 48"

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Hi, and thanks everyone for your responses!
I went off Crestor on 4/17, after conversation with md. BUT, I put myself on COQ10. Now I see (per SusieQ and others) that it is a statin also, so I'm going off that, too. The pain has lightened, but I am still having trouble. Oy!

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Hi Barbara!
CQ10 is not a statin, (I think red rice yeast is what Suzy was referring to, it has the same side-effects as statins). I take CQ10 and I think it helps to speed up the reversal of the damage caused by statins, that, of course is purely in my opinion!
I hope you feel better soon, it takes a while but my pains subsided almost daily.
Lidia xx

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Gracie, you're up early! Thank you for the clarification. I take COQ10 with red yeast rice. I will get red of the red yeast rice forthwith. Thanks for the head's up.

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