The Statins

The Statins — The drugs that lower our blood cholesterol, like Lipitor and Crestor, may also cause pain. Statins are important and widely used drugs, and their deleterious effect on muscle is widely considered a diagnosable condition:  statin myalgia, or statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS). 35  A few patients, about 1 in 10,000, get a more obvious, serious case of muscle poisoning,  rhabdomyolysis, and an even rarer and more serious condition afflicts 1 in 100,000:  statin-associated autoimmune myopathy.

And yet there is also confusion and controversy about the prevalence of statin myalgia.There’s even clear evidence that it could be some kind of illusion or misunderstanding: in one head-scratcher of a study, taking statins  only increased pain when patients  knew they were taking statins.  So that’s weird! The truth is probably “all of the above” and “it’s complicated” — it seems likely that some patients are genuinely intolerant of statins, while others are suffering from  fear of statins and/or some other cause of musculoskeletal pain (of which there  many). There might also be some tricky X-factors, like vitamin D deficiency, which seems to be linked to statin myalgia.

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The Statins
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Fortunately, for the genuinely statin intolerant — and you probably do exist! — it’s easy to solve by lowering the dose or switching to another statin.


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