New research conducted by the American College of Cardiology shows that the cholesterol-lowering drug statins had adverse effects on the muscles of almost half of all study participants.
The study was conducted after 491 patients who were taking statins reported muscle pain. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects that an alternative cholesterol-lowering drug had on patients who were intolerant to statins.
In order to confirm that the 491 patients were statin-intolerant, researchers had the participants take a different type of statins for 10 weeks and a placebo for 10 weeks. Researchers found that 209 of the 491 participants (42.6%) experienced muscle pain while taking the statins, but they did not experience this pain when taking a placebo.
Similar statistics were reiterated by Sammy Margo, a London-based physiotherapist who says that around 40% of her patients who take statins experience sometimes debilitating muscle pain.
“I saw one man, a regular guy with high cholesterol, who got put on the drugs. He started to get gnawing aches and pains in his muscles, and felt lackluster all over,” Margo wrote in the Daily Mail. “The illness really knocked him off his feet, making physio difficult… he says statins have really affected his life.”
Margo also believes that statins can be counter-intuitive to cholesterol reduction due to the effect that it has on the body’s muscles. She says that this is because it can keep patients from performing physical activities that are necessary for lowering cholesterol.
“Someone who has high cholesterol is given statins and told to exercise…(statins) might cause physical pains that stop them being able to carry out any physical activity at all,” Margo wrote. “We need to make people aware of the side effects of statins, and that the implications of these side effects include not being able to move.”
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