My husband had been on statins for some years and gradually his feet became numb to the point where he could not drive. I am a (retired) medical biochemist and I started to look into the drug and its side effects and discovered that it blocked the formation of cholesterol but also CoQ10 which is essential for muscle activity. We added CoQ10 to his medication without much immediate effect. He then developed gout and searching through the medical literature I found many reported cases of gout in patients on statins. By this time he had developed atrial fibrillation and the cardiologist was very keen to keep him on statins although his cholesterol at this point was 3.5 and he was aged 76. Further searching of the literature found reports of mortality rates of patients over the age of 75 with low cholesterols. Fortunately he had kept records of his cholesterol levels and his symptoms over the years (he is a research engineer by training) and decided to come off the statins. His gout disappeared immediately, the numb feet (peripheral neuropathy) are improving with acupuncture treatment and Vit B6 and his only problem now is recovering from the side effects of Amiodarone which was prescribied for his atrial fibrillation. Ann W3
Strange - I discussed statins and "cardiac events" with my cardiologist - I had had horrendous muscle problems within 10 days of starting a statin, and that at half dose, so I stopped taking it. As far as she was concerned the atrial fibrillation, which had been the basis for the medics (not the cardiologist) starting the statin in response to a raised cholesterol, did not count as a "cariac event". Here in Italy the primary consideration for a/f is anticoagulation. Mine was sufficiently bad to require medication to control it and BP but that is fine, no side effects I can identify (Losartan, bisoprolol and propafenone).
If the medics are happy when someone with a REALLY elevated cholesterol achieves 7, why is there such a drive to keep an otherwise relatively healthy 75 year old at 3.5? Which, there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest and as you found, isn't very healthy.
It is truly sad that after so many reports regarding statins; side effects, NICE is continuing to bury its head in the sand.
The average GP is very poorly trained in respect to this drug and therefore will use their Qrisk assessment forms to decide for them. The whole idea of just looking a total (serum) cholesterol, is rather naive.
Have a look at this link; there is no evidence that cholesterols 'save' lives.
The reported side effects are just the tip of the iceberg, I think. Many people on statins do not make the connection between the drug and their aches and pains.
We need more people like your husband that can use their analytical skills to make sense of the statins invasion.
Thank you Ann for your very informative post. I had a cholesterol reading of 9 and was scared almost to death by my doctor telling me I'd have a stroke before I left the office if I didnt take statins immediately. Within a few weeks of starting Simvastatin I could hardly walk, so I went back to the doctor very scared about what was happening. He changed my prescription to Atorvastatin and again a couple of weeks later I was waking during the night in such pain that no amount of pain killers were helping. I was so frightened one day I called an ambulance as I couldnt drive to get to the A&E department. They were the ones who told me it was the statins causing it, I hadnt connected it before and my doctor certainly hadnt warned me. When I went back to my GP after the hospital occurrence he still wouldnt believe my muscle pain had been as a result of statins and said I must not stop taking them otherwise I'd die. To be honest I wanted to die due to the pain I was in. I was sitting in his consulting room crying with fear thinking what the heck do I do, if I dont take them I'll die if I do, I'll be disabled and want to die. I bucked up the courage to walk out and flushed the remainder of the prescription down the toilet. The pain started to ease off within a week and is improving all the time, although some still remains a year later. I do however now worry that at any minute I'll have a stroke but I couldnt bear to go back to feeling that bad again, even with that threat hanging over me. The more I read the posts on these forums the more reassured I am that maybe I won't just drop dead due to my high cholesterol. I don't have high BP or high blood sugar or any other symptoms of heart disease, just the high cholesterol. Thank you again for such a well written post on the subject.
Thanks for your post as your husband's experience is similar to my own. I'm 79 years old and have been on various statins for about 10 years but not any more. I had muscle/joint pain with all the statins I've taken over that period. I developed PAFib shortly after startng BP medication again about 10 years ago and found that practically all BP meds had palpitations as a side effect that doctors both GP and Cardiac ignored and continue to ignore. I do not take any meds for my PAFib, was on Sotalol but the only thing this did was to lower my pulse rate to scary levels.
I was particularly interested in your mention of peripheral neuropathy as I developed this about 2 years ago and also suffer the dreaded numb feet. So far lots of tests and diagnoses but as yet no treatment. I found a lot of info. on peripheral neuropathy on the Cleveland Clinic website and one of the meds. mentioned as a possible cause was statins. When I discussed this with my consultant she discounted it straight away. In the absence of any treatment so far I will give acupuncture a try and possibly Vit B6.
My dear Ann... I am so sorry I did not get this report until this morning and believe me I have complete sympathy with your husband.....and fully appreciate what you have gone through.
I truly believe that nobody fully realises how awful the side-effects of these statins really are...until they are faced with sometimes progressive and irreversible symptoms.
I have a very good friend who has peripheral neuropathy such as you describe and she is in agony especially at night - so I am very interested therefore in your acupuncture treatment.
She already takes vitamin B6 and Ubiquinol the refined form (which is suppose the more accessible to the system) of Coenzyme Q 10. She is in actual fact attending the pain clinic and her neurologist again this week as her neuropathy has now extended halfway up her calves despite her stopping the statins six months ago.
In my own instance I have developed "total motor block" as a result of being on statins for just six months - some two years ago believe it or not. My neurologists of course do not want to know about the connection with statins... But my orthopaedic surgeon informs me and I believe him sadly - that my not unknown - but very rare side-effect is both progressive and irreversible and indeed I have just ordered myself a powered mobility chair - so I may continue to "walk" my dogs - something I could do without any problems 3 miles a day before breakfast every day prior to going on the statins. So far around the house I manage - principally because I have a cluttered cottage - LOL - with so much furniture I can hang onto everything as I progress - ever more slowly.!!
I look as though I have the "freezing of gait" syndrome associated with Parkinson's disease but I do NOT have Parkinson's disease - TG. However any medication which has been tried with me has proved totally useless but of course I was warned - when I complained that I was not improving after many weeks of trial - that the success rate is very poor in such cases as mine.
I will be very interested to learn how your husband progresses and sincerely trust that the coenzyme 10 therapy will help him - as well of course as his acupuncture.
Thank you so much for posting..... And one of these days as I am so prone to saying on this forum "Big Pharma" will be held to account - eventually, when it is realised that these statins are seriously dangerous drugs.... with profound side-effects.
Hmm interesting. Just developed gout after 18 years on statins following a heart attack and bypass in 1998 but have noticed numb feet for some time. Will drop them for a few days and see what happens. My foot circulation definitely needs improvement at 75. I had an operation to cure
My atrial fibrulation at same time as my bypass but they gave me amiodorone for a short while after my operation to settle my heartbeat and it nearly killed me.
Very interesting. I Wonder what all of us are supposed to do if we have high cholesterol some dangerously High but we can't take cholesterol meds. I'm 55 years old and in great shape but hereditary got in my way . My cholesterol is 2.9 and I cannot take cholesterol medication because of constant pain in my calves at rest and this cause me to not be able to sleep at night. So then I'm up worrying well if I get off cholesterol medication then what do I do just wait for a heart attack or stroke? I tried the red yeast extract and since it had Statin in it even at a small level I had the problem still. I speak for all people that cannot take statins what are we supposed to do just wait and die early?