Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines

Hypercholesterolemia is the health issue of the 21st century. It is actually an invented disease, a “problem” that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol exhibits no outward signs–unlike other conditions of the blood, such as diabetes or anemia, diseases that manifest telltale symptoms like thirst or weakness–hypercholesterolemia requires the services of a physician to detect its presence. Many people who feel perfectly healthy suffer from high cholesterol–in fact, feeling good is actually a symptom of high cholesterol!

Doctors who treat this new disease must first convince their patients that they are sick and need to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives, drugs that require regular checkups and blood tests. But such doctors do not work in a vacuum–their efforts to convert healthy people into patients are bolstered by the full weight of the US government, the media and the medical establishment, agencies that have worked in concert to disseminate the cholesterol dogma and convince the population that high cholesterol is the forerunner of heart disease and possibly other diseases as well.

Who suffers from hypercholesterolemia? Peruse the medical literature of 25 or 30 years ago and you’ll get the following answer: any middle-aged man whose cholesterol is over 240 with other risk factors, such as smoking or overweight. After the Cholesterol Consensus Conference in 1984, the parameters changed; anyone (male or female) with cholesterol over 200 could receive the dreaded diagnosis and a prescription for pills. Recently that number has been moved down to 180. If you have suffered from a heart attack, you get to take cholesterol-lowering medicines even if your cholesterol is already very low–after all, you have committed the sin of having a heart attack so your cholesterol must therefore be too high. The penance is a lifetime of cholesterol-lowering medications along with a boring lowfat diet. But why wait until you have a heart attack? Since we all labor under the stigma of original sin, we are all candidates for treatment. Current dogma stipulates cholesterol testing and treatment for young adults and even children.

The drugs that doctors use to treat the new disease are called statins–sold under a variety of names including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin).

How Statins Work

The diagram below illustrates the pathways involved in cholesterol production. The process begins with acetyl-CoA, a two-carbon molecule sometimes referred to as the “building block of life.” Three acetyl-CoA molecules combine to form six-carbon hydroxymethyl glutaric acid (HMG). The step from HMG to mevalonate requires an enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase. Statin drugs work by inhibiting this enzyme–hence the formal name of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Herein lies one potential for numerous side effects, because statin drugs inhibit not just the production of cholesterol, but a whole family of intermediary substances, many if not all of which have important biochemical functions in their own right.

Consider the findings of pediatricians at the University of California, San Diego who published a description of a child with an hereditary defect of mevalonic kinase, the enzyme that facilitates the next step beyond HMG-CoA reductase.1 The child was mentally retarded, microcephalic (very small head), small for his age, profoundly anemic, acidotic and febrile. He also had cataracts. Predictably, his cholesterol was consistently low–70-79 mg/dl. He died at the age of 24 months. The child represents an extreme example of cholesterol inhibition, but his case illuminates the possible consequences of taking statins in strong doses or for a lengthy period of time–depression of mental acuity, anemia, acidosis, frequent fevers and cataracts.

Cholesterol is one of three end products in the mevalonate chain. The two others are ubiquinone and dolichol. Ubiquinone or Co-Enzyme Q10 is a critical cellular nutrient biosynthesized in the mitochondria. It plays a role in ATP production in the cells and functions as an electron carrier to cytochrome oxidase, our main respiratory enzyme. The heart requires high levels of Co-Q10. A form of Co-Q10 is found in all cell membranes, where it plays a role in maintaining membrane integrity, which is critical to nerve conduction and muscle integrity. Co-Q10 is also vital to the formation of elastin and collagen. Side effects of Co-Q10 deficiency include muscle wasting leading to weakness and severe back pain, heart failure (the heart is a muscle!), neuropathy and inflammation of the tendons and ligaments, often leading to rupture.

Dolichols also play a role of immense importance. In the cells they direct various proteins manufactured in response to DNA directives to their proper targets, ensuring that the cells respond correctly to genetically programmed instruction. Thus statin drugs can lead to unpredictable chaos on the cellular level.

Squalene, the immediate precursor to cholesterol, is in turn the biochemical precursor to a whole family of steroid hormones; research indicates that squalene inhibits blood vessel formation in tumors, raising the possibility that it may have anti-cancer effects.

The fact that some studies have shown that statins can prevent heart disease, at least in the short term, is most likely explained not by the inhibition of cholesterol production but because they block the creation of mevalonate. Reduced amounts of mevalonate seem to make smooth muscle cells less active and platelets less able to produce thromboxane. Atherosclerosis begins with the growth of smooth muscle cells inside artery walls and thromboxane is necessary for blood clotting.

Cholesterol Synthesis



Of course, statins inhibit the production of cholesterol–they do this very well. Nowhere is the failure of our medical system more evident than in the wholesale acceptance of cholesterol reduction as a way to prevent disease–have all these doctors forgotten what they learned in Biochemistry 101 about the many roles of cholesterol in the human biochemistry? Every cell membrane in our body contains cholesterol because cholesterol is what makes our cells waterproof–without cholesterol we could not have a different biochemistry on the inside and the outside of the cell. When cholesterol levels are not adequate, the cell membrane becomes leaky or porous, a situation the body interprets as an emergency, releasing a flood of corticoid hormones that work by sequestering cholesterol from one part of the body and transporting it to areas where it is lacking. Cholesterol is the body’s repair substance: scar tissue contains high levels of cholesterol, including scar tissue in the arteries.

Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D, necessary for numerous biochemical processes including mineral metabolism. The bile salts, required for the digestion of fat, are made of cholesterol. Those who suffer from low cholesterol often have trouble digesting fats. Cholesterol may also protect us against cancer as low cholesterol levels are associated with increased rates of cancer.

Cholesterol is vital to proper neurological function. It plays a key role in the formation of memory and the uptake of hormones in the brain, including serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical. When cholesterol levels drop too low, the serotonin receptors cannot work. Cholesterol is a major component of the brain, much of it in the myelin sheaths that insulate nerve cells and in the synapses that transmit nerve impulses.

Some researchers believe that cholesterol acts as an antioxidant.2 This is the likely explanation for the fact that cholesterol levels tend to go up with age. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects us against free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.

Finally, cholesterol is the precursor to all the hormones produced in the adrenal cortex including glucocorticoids, which regulate blood sugar levels, and mineralocorticoids, which regulate mineral balance. Corticoids are the cholesterol-based adrenal hormones that the body uses in response to stress of various types; they promote healing and balance the tendency to inflammation. The adrenal cortex also produces sex hormones, including testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, out of cholesterol. Thus, low cholesterol–whether due to an innate error of metabolism or induced by cholesterol-lowering diets and drugs–can be expected to disrupt the production of adrenal hormones and lead to blood sugar problems, edema, mineral deficiencies, chronic inflammation, difficulty in healing, allergies, asthma, reduced libido, infertility and various reproductive problems.

Enter the Statins

Statin drugs entered the market with great promise. They replaced a class of pharmaceuticals that lowered cholesterol by preventing its absorption from the gut. These early drugs often had immediate and unpleasant side effects, including nausea, indigestion and constipation, and in the typical patient they lowered cholesterol levels only slightly. Patient compliance was low: the benefit did not seem worth the side effects and the potential for use was very limited. By contrast, statin drugs had no immediate side effects: they did not cause nausea or indigestion and they were consistently effective, often lowering cholesterol levels by 50 points or more.

During the last 20 years, the industry has mounted an incredible promotional campaign–enlisting scientists, advertising agencies, the media and the medical profession in a blitz that turned the statins into one of the bestselling pharmaceuticals of all time. Sixteen million Americans now take Lipitor, the most popular statin, and drug company officials claim that 36 million Americans are candidates for statin drug therapy. What bedevils the industry is growing reports of side effects that manifest many months after the commencement of therapy; the November 2003 issue of Smart Money magazine reports on a 1999 study at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London (apparently unpublished), which found that 36 percent of patients on Lipitor’s highest dose reported side effects; even at the lowest dose, 10 percent reported side effects.3

Muscle Pain and Weakness

The most common side effect is muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10, a nutrient that supports muscle function. Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California is currently conducting a series of studies on statin side effects. The industry insists that only 2-3 percent of patients get muscle aches and cramps but in one study, Golomb found that 98 percent of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems.4 A message board devoted to Lipitor at forum.ditonline.com (update 09 JUL 2007: reader alerted us the forum is now defunct) contained more than 800 posts, many detailing severe side effects. The Lipitor board at www.rxlist.com contains more than 2,600 posts (click on Message Boards at upper left and then choose Lipitor; also note that as of 09 JUL 2007 there are 3,857 messages).

The test for muscle wasting or rhabdomyolysis is elevated levels of a chemical called creatine kinase (CK). But many people experience pain and fatigue even though they have normal CK levels.5

Tahoe City resident Doug Peterson developed slurred speech, balance problems and severe fatigue after three years on Lipitor–for the first two-and-one-half years, he had no side effects at all.6 It began with restless sleep patterns–twitching and flailing his arms. Loss of balance followed and the beginning of what Doug calls the “statin shuffle”–a slow, wobbly walk across the room. Fine motor skills suffered next. It took him five minutes to write four words, much of which was illegible. Cognitive function also declined. It was hard to convince his doctors that Lipitor could be the culprit, but when he finally stopped taking it, his coordination and memory improved.

John Altrocchi took Mevacor for three years without side effects; then he developed calf pain so severe he could hardly walk. He also experienced episodes of temporary memory loss.

For some, however, muscle problems show up shortly after treatment begins. Ed Ontiveros began having muscle problems within 30 days of taking Lipitor. He fell in the bathroom and had trouble getting up. The weakness subsided when he went off Lipitor. In another case, reported in the medical journal Heart, a patient developed rhabdomyolysis after a single dose of a statin.7 Heel pain from plantar fascitis is another common complaint among those taking statin drugs. One correspondent reported the onset of pain in the feet shortly after beginning statin treatment. She had visited an evangelist, requesting that he pray for her sore feet. He enquired whether she was taking Lipitor. When she said yes, he told her that his feet had also hurt when he took Lipitor.8

Active people are much more likely to develop problems from statin use than those who are sedentary. In a study carried out in Austria, only six out of 22 athletes with familial hypercholesterolemia were able to endure statin treatment.9 The others discontinued treatment because of muscle pain.

By the way, other cholesterol-lowering agents besides statin drugs can cause joint pain and muscle weakness. A report in Southern Medical Journal described muscle pains and weakness in a man who took Chinese red rice, an herbal preparation that lowers cholesterol.10 Anyone suffering from myopathy, fibromyalgia, coordination problems and fatigue needs to look at low cholesterol plus Co-Q10 deficiency as a possible cause.


Polyneuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is characterized by weakness, tingling and pain in the hands and feet, as well as difficulty walking. Researchers who studied 500,000 residents of Denmark, about 9 percent of that country’s population, found that people who took statins were more likely to develop polyneuropathy.11 Taking statins for one year raised the risk of nerve damage by about 15 percent–about one case for every 2,200 patients. For those who took statins for two or more years, the additional risk rose to 26 percent.

According to the research of Dr. Golomb, nerve problems are a common side effect from statin use; patients who use statins for two or more years are at a 4- to 14-fold increased risk of developing idiopathic polyneuropathy compared to controls.12 She reports that in many cases, patients told her they had complained to their doctors about neurological problems, only to be assured that their symptoms could not be related to cholesterol-lowering medications.

The damage is often irreversible. People who take large doses for a long time may be left with permanent nerve damage, even after they stop taking the drug.

An interesting question is whether widespread statin-induced neuropathy makes our elderly drivers (and even not-so-elderly drivers) more accident prone? In July of 2003, an 86-year-old driver with an excellent driving record plowed into a farmers market in Santa Monica, California, killing ten people. Several days later, a most interesting letter from a Lake Oswego, Oregon woman appeared in the Washington Post:13

“My husband, at age 68, backed into the garage and stepped on the gas, wrecking a lot of stuff. He said his foot slipped off the brake. He had health problems and is on medication, including a cholesterol drug, which is now known to cause problems with feeling in one’s legs.

“In my little community, older drivers have missed a turn and taken out the end of a music store, the double doors of the post office and the front of a bakery. In Portland, a bank had to do without its drive-up window for some time.

“It is easy to say that one’s foot slipped, but the problem could be lack of sensation. My husband’s sister-in-law thought her car was malfunctioning when it refused to go when a light turned green, until she looked down and saw that her foot was on the brake. I have another friend who mentioned having no feeling in her lower extremities. She thought about having her car retrofitted with hand controls but opted for the handicapped bus instead.”

Heart Failure

We are currently in the midst of a congestive heart failure epidemic in the United States–while the incidence of heart attack has declined slightly, an increase in the number heart failure cases has outpaced these gains. Deaths attributed to heart failure more than doubled from 1989 to 1997.14 (Statins were first given pre-market approval in 1987.) Interference with production of Co-Q10 by statin drugs is the most likely explanation. The heart is a muscle and it cannot work when deprived of Co-Q10.

Cardiologist Peter Langsjoen studied 20 patients with completely normal heart function. After six months on a low dose of 20 mg of Lipitor a day, two-thirds of the patients had abnormalities in the heart’s filling phase, when the muscle fills with blood. According to Langsjoen, this malfunction is due to Co-Q10 depletion. Without Co-Q10, the cell’s mitochondria are inhibited from producing energy, leading to muscle pain and weakness. The heart is especially susceptible because it uses so much energy.15

Co-Q10 depletion becomes more and more of a problem as the pharmaceutical industry encourages doctors to lower cholesterol levels in their patients by greater and greater amounts. Fifteen animal studies in six different animal species have documented statin-induced Co-Q10 depletion leading to decreased ATP production, increased injury from heart failure, skeletal muscle injury and increased mortality. Of the nine controlled trials on statin-induced Co-Q10 depletion in humans, eight showed significant Co-Q10 depletion leading to decline in left ventricular function and biochemical imbalances.16

Yet virtually all patients with heart failure are put on statin drugs, even if their cholesterol is already low. Of interest is a recent study indicating that patients with chronic heart failure benefit from having high levels of cholesterol rather than low. Researchers in Hull, UK followed 114 heart failure patients for at least 12 months.17 Survival was 78 percent at 12 months and 56 percent at 36 months. They found that for every point of decrease in serum cholesterol, there was a 36 percent increase in the risk of death within three years.


Dizziness is commonly associated with statin use, possibly due to blood pressure-lowering effects. One woman reported dizziness one half hour after taking Pravachol.18 When she stopped taking it, the dizziness cleared up. Blood pressure lowering has been reported with several statins in published studies. According to Dr. Golumb, who notes that dizziness is a common adverse effect, the elderly may be particularly sensitive to drops in blood pressure.19

Cognitive Impairment

The November 2003 issue of Smart Money20 describes the case of Mike Hope, owner of a successful ophthalmologic supply company: “There’s an awkward silence when you ask Mike Hope his age. He doesn’t change the subject or stammer, or make a silly joke about how he stopped counting at 21. He simply doesn’t remember. Ten seconds pass. Then 20. Finally an answer comes to him. ‘I’m 56,’ he says. Close, but not quite. ‘I will be 56 this year.’ Later, if you happen to ask him about the book he’s reading, you’ll hit another roadblock. He can’t recall the title, the author or the plot.” Statin use since 1998 has caused his speech and memory to fade. He was forced to close his business and went on Social Security ten years early. Things improved when he discontinued Lipitor in 2002, but he is far from complete recovery–he still cannot sustain a conversation. What Lipitor did was turn Mike Hope into an old man when he was in the prime of life.

Cases like Mike’s have shown up in the medical literature as well. An article in Pharmacotherapy, December 2003, for example, reports two cases of cognitive impairment associated with Lipitor and Zocor.21 Both patients suffered progressive cognitive decline that reversed completely within a month after discontinuation of the statins. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh showed that patients treated with statins for six months compared poorly with patients on a placebo in solving complex mazes, psychomotor skills and memory tests.22

Dr. Golomb has found that 15 percent of statin patients develop some cognitive side effects.23 The most harrowing involve global transient amnesia–complete memory loss for a brief or lengthy period–described by former astronaut Duane Graveline in his book Lipitor: Thief of Memory.24 Sufferers report baffling incidents involving complete loss of memory–arriving at a store and not remembering why they are there, unable to remember their name or the names of their loved ones, unable to find their way home in the car. These episodes occur suddenly and disappear just as suddenly. Graveline points out that we are all at risk when the general public is taking statins–do you want to be in an airplane when your pilot develops statin-induced amnesia?

Statins seem to cause a range of cognitive problems, especially elderly patients. Two randomized trials that were designed to assess cognitive effects of statins have shown worsening in cognitive function. In addition, several case reports and one large case series (involving 60 patients) have reported deleterious cognitive effects of statins on memory and cognitive function.25


In every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer.26 Why have we not seen such a dramatic correlation in human studies? Because cancer takes a long time to develop and most of the statin trials do not go on longer than two or three years. Still, in one trial, the CARE trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin went up 1500 percent.27 In the Heart Protection Study, non-melanoma skin cancer occurred in 243 patients treated with simvastatin (a total of 10,269) compared with 202 cases in the control group (a total of 10,267).28

Manufacturers of statin drugs have recognized the fact that statins depress the immune system, an effect that can lead to cancer and infectious disease, recommending statin use for inflammatory arthritis and as an immune suppressor for transplant patients.29


The medical literature contains several reports of pancreatitis in patients taking statins. One paper describes the case of a 49-year-old woman who was admitted to the hospital with diarrhea and septic shock one month after beginning treatment with lovastatin. She died after prolonged hospitalization; the cause of death was necrotizing pancreatitis. Her doctors noted that the patient had no evidence of common risk factors for acute pancreatitis, such as biliary tract disease or alcohol use. “Prescribers of statins (particularly simvastatin and lovastatin) should take into account the possibility of acute pancreatitis in patients who develop abdominal pain within the first weeks of treatment with these drugs,” they warned. By contrast, a review of published case studies found that pancreatitis was more likely to occur after many months of statin use.30


Several studies have noted a correlation of low cholesterol with depression, suicide and violence. For example, a study of over 29,000 men in Finland found that low cholesterol levels were associated with an increased risk of hospitalization due to depression and of death from suicide.31 Another study found that women with low cholesterol are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Researchers from Duke University Medical Center carried out personality trait measurements on 121 young women aged 18 to 27.32 They found that 39 percent of the women with low cholesterol levels scored high on personality traits that signalled proneness to depression, compared to 19 percent of women with normal or high levels of cholesterol. In addition, one in three of the women with low cholesterol levels scored high on anxiety indicators, compared to 21 percent with normal levels. Yet the author of the study, Dr. Edward Suarez, cautioned women with low cholesterol against eating “foods such as cream cakes” to raise cholesterol, warning that these types of food “can cause heart disease.” In previous studies on men, Dr. Suarez found that men who lower their cholesterol levels with medication have increased rates of suicide and violent death, leading the researchers to theorize “that low cholesterol levels were causing mood disturbances.”

How many elderly statin-takers eke through their golden years feeling miserable and depressed, when they should be enjoying their grandchildren and looking back with pride on their accomplishments? But that is the new dogma–you may have a long life as long as it is experienced as a vale of tears.

Any Benefits?

Most doctors are convinced–and seek to convince their patients–that the benefits of statin drugs far outweigh the side effects. They can cite a number of studies in which statin use has lowered the number of coronary deaths compared to controls. But as Dr. Ravnskov has pointed out in his book The Cholesterol Myths,33 the results of the major studies up to the year 2000–the 4S, WOSCOPS, CARE, AFCAPS and LIPID studies–generally showed only small differences and these differences were often statistically insignificant and independent of the amount of cholesterol lowering achieved. In two studies, EXCEL and FACAPT/TexCAPS, more deaths occurred in the treatment group compared to controls. Dr. Ravnskov’s 1992 meta-analysis of 26 controlled cholesterol-lowering trials found an equal number of cardiovascular deaths in the treatment and control groups and a greater number of total deaths in the treatment groups.34 An analysis of all the big controlled trials reported before 2000 found that long-term use of statins for primary prevention of heart disase produced a 1 percent greater risk of death over 10 years compared to a placebo.35

Recently published studies do not provide any more justification for the current campaign to put as many people as possible on statin drugs.

Honolulu Heart Program (2001)

This report, part of an ongoing study, looked at cholesterol lowering in the elderly. Researchers compared changes in cholesterol concentrations over 20 years with all-cause mortality.36 To quote: “Our data accords with previous findings of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and show that long-term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases risk of death. Thus, the earlier that patients start to have lower cholesterol concentrations, the greater the risk of death. . . The most striking findings were related to changes in cholesterol between examination three (1971-74) and examination four (1991-93). There are few studies that have cholesterol concentrations from the same patients at both middle age and old age. Although our results lend support to previous findings that low serum cholesterol imparts a poor outlook when compared with higher concentrations of cholesterol in elderly people, our data also suggest that those individuals with a low serum cholesterol maintained over a 20-year period will have the worst outlook for all-cause mortality [emphasis ours].”

MIRACL (2001)

The MIRACL study looked at the effects of a high dose of Lipitor on 3086 patients in the hospital after angina or nonfatal MI and followed them for 16 weeks.37 According to the abstract: “For patients with acute coronary syndrome, lipid-lowering therapy with atorvastatin, 80 mg/day, reduced recurrent ischemic events in the first 16 weeks, mostly recurrent symptomatic ischemia requiring rehospitalization.” What the abstract did not mention was the fact that there was no change in death rate compared to controls and no significant change in re-infarction rate or need for resuscitation from cardiac arrest. The only change was a significant drop in chest pain requiring rehospitalization.

ALLHAT (2002)

ALLHAT (Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial), the largest North American cholesterol-lowering trial ever, showed that mortality of the treatment group and controls after three or six years was identical.38 Researchers used data from more than 10,000 participants given cholesterol-lowering drugs and followed them over a period of four years, comparing the use of a statin drug to “usual care,” namely maintaining proper body weight, no smoking, regular exercise, etc., in treating subjects with moderately high levels of LDL-cholesterol. Of the 5170 subjects in the group that received statin drugs, 28 percent lowered their LDL-cholesterol significantly. And of the 5185 usual-care subjects, about 11 percent had a similar drop in LDL. But both groups showed the same rates of death, heart attack and heart disease.

Heart Protection Study (2002)

Carried out at Oxford University,39 this study received widespread press coverage; researchers claimed “massive benefits” from cholesterol-lowering,40 leading one commentator to predict that statin drugs were “the new aspirin.”41 But as Dr. Ravnskov points out,42 the benefits were far from massive. Those who took simvastatin had an 87.1 percent survival rate after five years compared to an 85.4 percent survival rate for the controls, and these results were independent of the amount of cholesterol lowering. The authors of the Heart Protection Study never published cumulative mortality data, even though they received many requests to do so, and even though they received funding and carried out a study to look at cumulative data. According to the authors, providing year-by-year mortality data would be an “inappropriate” way of publishing their study results.43

PROSPER (2002)

PROSPER (Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk) studied the effect of pravastatin compared to a placebo in two older populations of patients of which 56 percent were primary prevention cases (no past or symptomatic cardiovascular disease) and 44 percent were secondary prevention cases (past or symptomatic cardiovascular disease).44 Pravastatin did not reduce total myocardial infarction or total stroke in the primary prevention population but did so in the secondary. However, measures of overall health impact in the combined populations, total mortality and total serious adverse events were unchanged by pravastatin as compared to the placebo, and those in the treatment group had increased cancer. In other words: not one life saved.

J-LIT (2002)

The Japanese Lipid Intervention Trial was a six-year study of 47,294 patients treated with the same dose of simvastatin.45 Patients were grouped by the amount of cholesterol lowering. Some patients had no reduction in LDL levels, some had a moderate fall in LDL and some had very large LDL reductions. The results: no correlation between the amount of LDL lowering and death rate at five years. Those with LDL cholesterol lower than 80 had a death rate of just over 3.5 at five years; those whose LDL was over 200 had a death rate of just over 3.5 at five years.

Meta-Analysis (2003)

In a meta-analysis of 44 trials involving almost 10,000 patients, the death rate was identical at 1 percent of patients in each of the three groups–those taking atorvastatin (Lipitor), those taking other statins and those taking nothing.46 Furthermore, 65 percent of those on treatment versus 45 percent of the controls experienced an adverse event. Researchers claimed that the incidence of adverse effects was the same in all three groups, but 3 percent of the atorvastatin-treated patients and 4 percent of those receiving other statins withdrew due to treatment-associated adverse events, compared with 1 percent of patients on the placebo.

Statins and Plaque (2003)

A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology casts serious doubts on the commonly held belief that lowering your LDL-cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol, is the most effective way to reduced arterial plaque.47 Researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City examined the coronary plaque buildup in 182 subjects who took statin drugs to lower cholesterol levels. One group of subjects used the drug aggressively (more than 80 mg per day) while the balance of the subjects took less than 80 mg per day. Using electron beam tomography, the researchers measured plaque in all of the subjects before and after a study period of more than one year. The subjects were generally successful in lowering their cholesterol, but in the end there was no statistical difference in the two groups in the progression of arterial calcified plaque. On average, subjects in both groups showed a 9.2 percent increase in plaque buildup.

Statins and Women (2003)

No study has shown a significant reduction in mortality in women treated with statins. The University of British Columbia Therapeutics Initiative came to the same conclusion, with the finding that statins offer no benefit to women for prevention of heart disease.48 Yet in February of 2004, the journal Circulation published an article in which more than 20 organizations endorsed cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines for women, with several mentions of “preferably a statin.”49

ASCOT-LLA (2003)

ASCOT-LLA (Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial–Lipid Lowering Arm) was designed to assess the benefits of atorvastatin (Lipitor) versus a placebo in patients who had high blood pressure with average or lower-than-average cholesterol concentrations and at least three other cardiovascular risk factors.50 The trial was originally planned for five years but was stopped after a median follow-up of 3.3 years because of a significant reduction in cardiac events. Lipitor did reduce total myocardial infarction and total stroke; however, total mortality was not significantly reduced. In fact, women were worse off with treatment. The trial report stated that total serious adverse events “did not differ between patients assigned atorvastatin or placebo,” but did not supply the actual numbers of serious events.

Cholesterol Levels in Dialysis Patients (2004)

In a study of dialysis patients, those with higher cholesterol levels had lower mortality than those with low cholesterol.51 Yet the authors claimed that the “inverse association of total cholesterol level with mortality in dialysis patients is likely due to the cholesterol-lowering effect of systemic inflammation and malnutrition, not to a protective effect of high cholesterol concentrations.” Keeping an eye on further funding opportunities, the authors concluded: “These findings support treatment of hypercholesterolemia in this population.”

PROVE-IT (2004)

PROVE-IT (PRavastatin Or AtorVastatin Evaluation and Infection Study),52 led by researchers at Harvard University Medical School, attracted immense media attention. “Study of Two Cholesterol Drugs Finds One Halts Heart Disease,” was the headline in the New York Times.53 In an editorial entitled “Extra-Low Cholesterol,” the paper predicted that “The findings could certainly presage a significant change in the way heart disease patients are treated. It should also start a careful evaluation of whether normally healthy people could benefit from a sharp drug-induced reduction in their cholesterol levels.”54

The Washington Post was even more effusive, with a headline “Striking Benefits Found in Ultra-Low Cholesterol.”55 “Heart patients who achieved ultra-low cholesterol levels in one study were 16 percent less likely to get sicker or to die than those who hit what are usually considered optimal levels. The findings should prompt doctors to give much higher doses of drugs known as statins to hundreds of thousands of patients who already have severe heart problems, experts said. In addition, it will probably encourage physicians to start giving the medications to millions of healthy people who are not yet on them, and to boost dosages for some of those already taking them to lower their cholesterol even more, they said.”

The study compared two statin drugs, Lipitor and Pravachol. Although Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS), makers of Pravachol, sponsored the study, Lipitor (made by Pfizer) outperformed its rival Pravachol in lowering LDL. The “striking benefit” was a 22 percent rate of death or further adverse coronary events in the Lipitor patients compared to 26 percent in the Pravachol patients.

PROVE-IT investigators took 4,162 patients who had been in the hospital following an MI or unstable angina. Half got Pravachol and half got Lipitor. Those taking Lipitor had the greatest reduction of LDL-cholesterol–LDL in the Pravachol group was 95, in the Lipitor group it was 62–a 32 percent greater reduction in LDL levels and a 16 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. But that 16 percent was a reduction in relative risk. As pointed out by Red Flags Daily columnist Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, the absolute reduction in the rate of the death rate of those taking Lipitor rather than Pravachol, was one percent, a decrease from 3.2 percent to 2.2 percent over 2 years.56 Or, to put it another way, a 0.5 percent absolute risk reduction per year–these were the figures that launched the massive campaign for cholesterol-lowering in people with no risk factors for heart disease, not even high cholesterol.

And the study was seriously flawed with what Kendrick calls “the two-variables conundrum.” “It is true that those with the greatest LDL lowering were protected against death. However, . . . those who were protected not only had a greater degree of LDL lowering, they were also on a different drug! Which is rather important, yet seems to have been swept aside on a wave of hype. If you really want to prove that the more you lower the LDL level, the greater the protection, then you must use the same drug. This achieves the absolutely critical requirement of any scientific experiment, which is to remove all possible uncontrolled variables. . . As this study presently stands, because they used different drugs, anyone can make the case that the benefits seen in the patients on atorvastatin [Lipitor] had nothing to do with greater LDL lowering; they were purely due to the direct drug effects of atorvastatin.” Kendrick notes that the carefully constructed J-LIT study, published two years earlier, found no correlation whatsoever between the amount of LDL lowering and the death rate. This study had ten times as many patients, lasted almost three times as long and used the same drug at the same dose in all patients. Not surprisingly, J-LIT attracted virtually no media attention.

PROVE-IT did not look at side effects but Dr. Andrew G. Bodnar, senior vice president for strategy and medical and external affairs at Bristol Meyer Squibb, makers of the losing statin, indicated that liver enzymes were elevated in 3.3 percent of the Lipitor group but only in 1.1 percent of the Pravachol group, noting that when liver enzyme levels rise, patients must be advised to stop taking the drug or reduce the dose.57 And withdrawal rates were very high: thirty-three percent of patients discontinued Pravachol and 30 percent discontinued Lipitor after two years due to adverse events or other reasons.58


In a similar study, carried out at the Cleveland Clinic, patients were given either Lipitor or Pravachol. Those receiving Lipitor achieved much lower LDL-cholesterol levels and a reversal in “the progression of coronary plaque aggregation.”59 Those who took Lipitor had plaque reduced by 0.4 percent over 18 months, based on intravascular ultrasound (not the more accurate tool of electron beam tomography). Dr. Eric Topol of the Cleveland Clinic claimed these decidedly unspectacular results “Herald a shake-up in the field of cardiovascular prevention. . . the implications of this turning point–that is, of the new era of intensive statin therapy–are profound. Even today, only a fraction of the patients who should be treated with a statin are actually receiving such therapy. . . More than 200 million people worldwide meet the criteria for treatment, but fewer than 25 million take statins.”60 Not surprisingly, an article in the Wall Street Journal noted “Lipitor Prescriptions Surge in Wake of Big Study.”61

But as Dr. Ravnskov points out, the investigators looked at change in atheroma volume, not the change in lumen area, “a more important parameter because it determines the amount of blood that can be delivered to the myocardium. Change of atheroma volume cannot be translated to clinical events because adaptive mechansims try to maintain a normal lumen area during early atherogenesis.”62

Other Uses

With such paltry evidence of benefit, statin drugs hardly merit the hyperbole heaped upon them. Yet the industry maintains a full court press, urging their use for greater and greater numbers of people, not only for cholesterol lowering but also as treatment for other diseases–cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, stroke, macular degeneration, arthritis and even mental disorders such as memory and learning problems, Alzheimers and dementia.63 New guidelines published by the American College of Physicians call for statin use by all people with diabetes older than 55 and for younger diabetes patients who have any other risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or a history of smoking.64 David A. Drachman, professor of neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School calls statins “Viagra for the brain.”65 Other medical writers have heralded the polypill, composed of a statin drug mixed with a blood pressure medication, aspirin and niacin, as a prevent-all that everyone can take. The industry is also seeking the right to sell statins over the counter.

Can honest assessment find any possible use for these dangerous drugs? Dr. Peter Langsjoen of Tyler, Texas, suggests that statin drugs are appropriate only as a treatment for cases of advanced Cholesterol Neurosis, created by the industry’s anti-cholesterol propaganda. If you are concerned about your cholesterol, a statin drug will relieve you of your worries.

Creative Advertising

The best advertising for statin drugs is free front-page coverage following gushy press releases. But not everyone reads the paper or goes in for regular medical exams, so statin manufacturers pay big money for creative ways to create new users. For example, a new health awareness group called the Boomer Coalition supported ABC’s Academy Awards telecast in March of 2004 with a 30-second spot flashing nostalgic images of celebrities lost to cardiovascular disease–actor James Coburn, baseball star Don Drysdale and comedian Redd Foxx. While the Boomer Coalition sounds like a grass roots group of health activists, it is actually a creation of Pfizer, manufacturers of Lipitor. “We’re always looking for creative ways to break through what we’ve found to be a lack of awareness and action,” says Michal Fishman, a Pfizer spokeswoman. “We’re always looking for what people really think and what’s going to make people take action,” adding that there is a stigma about seeking treatment and many people “wrongly assume that if they are physically fit, they aren’t at risk for heart disease.”66 The Boomer Coalition website allows visitors to “sign up and take responsibility for your heart health,” by providing a user name, age, email address and blood pressure and cholesterol level.

A television ad in Canada admonished viewers to “Ask your doctor about the Heart Protection Study from Oxford University.” The ad did not urge viewers to ask their doctors about EXCEL, ALLHAT, ASCOT, MIRACL or PROSPER, studies that showed no benefit–and the potential for great harm–from taking statin drugs.

The Costs

Statin drugs are very expensive–a course of statins for a year costs between $900 and $1400. They constitute the mostly widely sold pharmaceutical drug, accounting for 6.5 percent of market share and 12.5 billion dollars in revenue for the industry. Your insurance company may pay most of that cost, but consumers always ultimately pay with higher insurance premiums. Payment for statin drugs poses a huge burden for Medicare, so much so that funds may not be available for truly lifesaving medical measures.

In the UK, according to the National Health Service, doctors wrote 31 million prescriptions for statins in 2003, up from 1 million in 1995, at a cost of 7 billion pounds–and that’s just in one tiny island.67 In the US, statins currently bring in 12.5 billion dollars annually for the pharmaceutical industry. Sales of Lipitor, the number-one-selling statin, are projected to hit 10 billion dollars in 2005.

Even if statin drugs do provide some benefit, the cost is very high. In the WOSCOP clinical trial, in which healthy people with high cholesterol were treated with statins, the five-year death rate for treated subjects was reduced by a mere 0.6 percent. As Dr. Ravnskov points out,68 to achieve that slight reduction, about 165 healthy people had to be treated for five years to extend one life by five years. The cost for that one life comes to 1.2 million dollars. In the most optimistic calculations, the costs to save one year of life in patients with CHD is estimated at 10,000 dollars, and much more for healthy individuals. “This may not sound unreasonable,” says Dr. Ravnskov. “Isn’t a human life worth 10,000 dollars or more?”

“The implication of such reasoning is that to add as many years as possible, more than half of mankind should take statin drugs every day from an early age to the end of life. It is easy to calculate that the costs for such treatment would consume most of any government’s health budget. And if money is spent to give statin treatment to all healthy people, what will remain for the care of those who really need it? Shouldn’t health care be given primarily to the sick and the crippled?”

Sidebar Articles

A Better Way

If statins work, they do so by reducing inflammation, not because they lower cholesterol. Statins block the production of mevalonate leading to inhibition of platelet clumping and reduction of inflammation in the artery walls. However, simple changes in the diet can achieve the same effect without also cutting off the body’s vital supply of cholesterol:

  • Avoid trans fats, known to contribute to inflammation
  • Avoid refined sugars, especially fructose, known to stimulate clumping of the blood platelets
  • Take cod liver oil, an excellent dietary source of anti-inflammatory vitamin A, vitamin D and EPA
  • Eat plenty of saturated fats, which encourage the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins
  • Take evening primrose, borage or black currant oil, sources of GLA which the body uses to make anti-inflammatory prostaglandins
  • Eat foods high in copper, especially liver; copper deficiency is associatied with clot formation and inflammation in the arteries
  • Eat coconut oil and coconut products; coconut oil protects against bacteria and viruses that can lead to inflammation in the artery wall
  • Avoid reduced-fat milks and powdered milk products (such as powdered whey); they contain oxidized cholesterol, shown to cause irritation of the artery wall

Dietary Trials

Doctors and other health professionals claim there is ample proof that animal fats cause heart disease while they confidently advise us to adopt a lowfat diet; actually the literature contains only two studies involving humans that compared the outcome (not markers like cholesterol levels) of a diet high in animal fat with a diet based on vegetable oils, and both showed that animal fats are protective.

The Anti-Coronary Club project, launched in 1957 and published in 1966 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared two groups of New York businessmen, aged 40 to 59 years. One group followed the so-called “Prudent Diet” consisting of corn oil and margarine instead of butter, cold breakfast cereals instead of eggs and chicken and fish instead of beef; a control group ate eggs for breakfast and meat three times per day. The final report noted that the Prudent Dieters had average serum cholesterol of 220 mg/l, compared to 250 mg/l in the eggs-and-meat group. But there were eight deaths from heart disease among Prudent Dieter group, and none among those who ate meat three times a day (JAMA 1966 Nov 7;198(6):597-604; Bulletin NY Academy of Medicine 1968).

In a study published in the British Medical Journal, 1965, patients who had already had a heart attack were divided into three groups: one group got polyunsaturated corn oil, the second got monounsaturated olive oil and the third group was told to eat animal fat. After two years, the corn oil group had 30 percent lower cholesterol, but only 52 percent of them were still alive. The olive oil group fared little better–only 57 percent were alive after two years. But of the group that ate mostly animal fat, 75 percent were still alive after two years (British Medical Journal 1965 1:1531-33).

What About Aspirin?

The other drug recommended for prevention of heart attacks and strokes is aspirin. Estimates suggest that 20 million persons are taking aspirin daily for prevention of vascular accidents. Yet at least four studies have shown no benefit. A study using Bufferin (aspirin and magnesium) showed no reduction in fatal heart attacks and no improvement in survival rate but a 40 percent decrease in the number of nonfatal heart attacks. Commentators reported these results as showing the benefit of aspirin, ignoring the fact that magnesium is of proven benefit in heart disease. Aspirin inhibits the enzyme Delta-6 Desaturase, needed for the production of Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA) and important anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. This fact explains many of aspirin’s side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and increased risk of macular degeneration and cataract formation. Other side effects include increased risk of pancreatic cancer, acid reflux, asthma attacks, kidney damage, liver problems, ulcers, anemia, hearing loss, allergic reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and even hallucinations (James Howenstine, NewsWithViews.com, April 21, 2004).

Late-Breaking Cholesterol News

Researchers at the Tulane University School of Medicine used electron beam tomography (EBT) to measure the progression of plaque buildup in heart-attack patients taking statin drugs. EBT is a very accurate way to measure occlusion from calcium in the arteries. Contrary to expectations, the researchers discovered that the progression of coronary artery calcium (CAC) was significantly greater in patients receiving statins compared with event-free subjects despite similar levels of LDL-lowering. Said the researchers: “Continued expansion of CAC may indicate failure of some patients to benefit from statin therapy and an increased risk of having cardiovascular events (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, April 1, 2004).

Doctors have discovered that injections of a certain substance can reverse heart disease in some patients. The therapy has helped reduce the amount of plaque in the arteries, thereby negating the need for angioplasty and open heart surgery. That substance is HDL-cholesterol (www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert, March 1, 2004).

The Melbourne Women’s Midlife Health Project measured cholesterol levels annually in a group of 326 women aged 52-63 years. During the eighth annual visit, subjects took a test that assessed memory. They found that higher serum concentrations of LDL-cholesterol and relatively recent increases in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were associated with better memory in healthy middle-aged women (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003;74:1530-1535.)

Read the Fine Print

lipitor_ad lipitor_ad_pt2


The picture in a recent ad for Lipitor implies that cholesterol-lowering is for everyone, even slim young women. However, in the fine print we learn that Lipitor “has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks”! If the makers of Lipitor need to provide this disclaimer, after millions of dollars invested in studies, why should anyone risk side effects by taking their drug?


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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2004.

Sally Fallon Morell is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and founder of A Campaign for Real Milk. She is the author of the best-selling cookbook, Nourishing Traditions (with Mary G. Enig, PhD) and the Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (with Thomas S. Cowan, MD). She is also the author of Nourishing Broth (with Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN). ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Mary G. Enig, PhD, FACN, CNS, is an expert of international renown in the field of lipid chemistry. She has headed a number of studies on the content and effects of trans fatty acids in America and Israel and has successfully challenged government assertions that dietary animal fat causes cancer and heart disease. Recent scientific and media attention on the possible adverse health effects of trans fatty acids has brought increased attention to her work. She is a licensed nutritionist, certified by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists; a qualified expert witness; nutrition consultant to individuals, industry and state and federal governments; contributing editor to a number of scientific publications; Fellow of the American College of Nutrition; and President of the Maryland Nutritionists Association. She is the author of over 60 technical papers and presentations, as well as a popular lecturer. She is the author of Know Your Fats, a primer on the biochemistry of dietary fats as well as of Eat Fat Lose Fat (Penguin, Hudson Street Press, 2004). She is the mother of three healthy children.

67 Responses to Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines

  1. I prefer organic medicine

  2. Courtney says:

    My 16 year old daughter has FH. Her father died of heart attack at 35 with evidence of previous attacks on his heart. He smoked and did not live a healthy lifestyle. We do not know what her father’s cholesterol was at death, but his father had levels in the 700s and has had 4 stints put in and now has more health issues in recent years. My daughter has been hovering in the upper 200s for total cholesterol for years now and also has elevated lipoprotein a. The cardiologist she sees recommends aspirin therapy, fish oil and statins. My daughter isn’t taking anything. She had a bad reaction to a statin at 12 years old and has basically refused to take them. I have not pushed her to take them after my own research on the subject and her being young. My question is concerning the elevated lipoprotein a. The doctor says that this is the reason she should be taking the statins despite any research. Is there any research on the lpa issue concerning FH?

    • Brigitte says:

      here is what I’ve found: FH : A Genetic and Metabolic Study William R. Harlan, John B. Graham, E. Harvey Estes
      Medicine 1966 Vol. 45, No.2

      Our studies provide no evidence that FH appreciably shortens the life of affected individuals, either male or female.
      On the contrary, they show a high level of serum cholesterol are clearly compatible with survival into the seventh and eighth decades.

    • Bob Wysocki says:

      I had blood work done about 3 weeks ago – all indicators show that I am OK with exception of HDL which is at 5.0 ( don’t what that is in the hundreds. My doctor prescribed 40 mg of Lipitor(awhile back they were being sued) so a day ago I took 30 mg of Lipitor and I thought I was going to die yesterday, dizziness, muscle aches like crazy, stomach pain was unbearable, just felt like crap for the whole day and since I am retired I stayed in bed. This morning feeling a bit better but still not back to normal. Now I am a bit overweight, don’t exercise, eat high sugar items, these will be going into the garbage today. My LDL is at 3.91 which is high and this I presume is that for the past 20 years I have been taking a supplement of COQ10 200mg with Vitamin E and Vitamin D daily . I will also stop taking the 81 mg aspirin after reading your article. I have dear friend of mine who has 2 PhDs in Bio-Physics and Bio-Chemistry she is the one that suggested about 20 years that our wholes start taking COQ10 when know one knew much about it other than those with medical backgrounds. Doctors know the statins are really bad for us but since they are being paid by the pharmaceuticals they keep prescribing it – no more statins or minimal aspirin, changing my diet as of today

  3. Hi, Just read your site after being told my readings were very high and triglycerides were off the scale. Do you have any articles on triglycerides? I had some Salmon and started taking some Niacin again which I did over 30 yrs. ago when I as I recall I may have had similar readings….Anyway, thank you for your information. My brother has been on LIpitor for some time and I am concerned for him.

  4. Kathy DeGraw says:

    My husband, who has Parkinson’s Disease for the past 7 yrs., he is now 63, had the tremors

    start a couple of days after stopping Crestor for his high cholesterol.

    He first took Lipitor prescribed by our Dr. and ended with terrible back and leg pains.
    He stopped taking it on his own and after a couple of weeks felt better. Then after a
    checkup and telling the Dr. what happened he was prescribed Crestor and the same thing
    happened with the muscle problems, he stopped it and a couple of days later tremors in his
    right pinkie finger, then the arm had tremors and then the arm and leg on the right side.
    He was diagnosed with PD.

    A COINCIDENCE??? OR caused by the MEDS??? Of course they say it had nothing to do with the
    Medications. I will say it till the day I die, it was the Lipitor and Crestor that triggered
    the mix-up in his body. There is nobody in his family with PD.
    If you have high cholesterol, diet and exercise, don’t feed these drug companies all of this
    $$$$$ to have you end up like this or worse.

    My mom, his mom had similar problems with those 2 drugs and came off of it with no PD, but
    the leg pains did stay but not as bad as in the beginning when they first took these horrible

    Read up all the pros and cons of drugs and don’t trust the Dr., they are in cohoots with the
    drug companies. (Their are some ethical Drs., there are, you just have to search for them)
    Thank You

    • Dr. McGiffin says:

      Sorry to hear about your husban, but the reality is that statins have no effect on dopamine levels and therefore are not correlated with statin use. Parkinson’s is essentially a shortage of dopamine.

      Regarding the lowering of cholesterol, sometimes diet and exercise are the way to go, but in the unfortunate people where that does not work, drugs can be very beneficial.

  5. Marlene Clarke says:

    I was given Lipitor for four years with extreme side effects of muscle pain and bouts of chills like I was in a deep freeze. The Cardiologist switched me to Crestor for the past six years. Last year, I began suffering with increasing muscular pains, joint pains, numbness in my feet, poor sleep,memory lapses, severe attacks of dizziness, extreme tiredness, chest pains and rapid heartbeat. After a few changes in medicines, leading to no improvement, the Cardiologist finally decided to stop Crestor and Spiractan four days ago. Miracle of miracles, I am feeling almost back to normal. The dizziness and extreme tiredness more or less vanished. The muscle and joint aches, etc have reduced significantly. I hope to go through a detoxification of my liver to eradicate the chemical residue of the medicines from my system.

  6. Very interesting article. I went to a doctor a few years ago and after a routine check up my cholesterol was 110, he wanted to get me started on statins right away. I declined and he said I was a risk for having a heart attack. He said that now “they” have lowered the bar to >100 at risk. Wow. I’m so glad I keep on my reading and didn’t take the drug. I feel very concerned about folks who fall for this statin craze and end up with irreversible injuries and endure so much suffering for nothing. I have at the moment two friends suffering from severe side effects and muscle damage, one might not be able to work again.

  7. christine grimes says:

    I took statins for two year until I could hardly walk. I rfuse to take them, the doctor is not happy as I have very high cholesterol as everyone in our family does. I exercise and eat healthy
    so If I drop dead that’s fine. My choice!!

  8. Diane Wilde says:

    I am on simvastatin. I really don’t want to take it even though I have not had any side effects. My last cholesterol test was total, 257, ldl 109, hdl 139. That gives me an excellent ratio. Why don’t docs look at ratio instead of the total number. BTW, I am of normal weight, work out and don’t smoke. Comments????

  9. I think you might find this most recent study very interesting. Apparently the FDA approved stents that elute statin drugs, so if a patient has side effects from the statins within the stent, they are basically out of luck, or need to have the stents replaced. These stents are now causing major adverse cardiac events 2-5 years post-placement.
    IMHO, these stents are a huge time-bomb, and it’s only a matter of time before the class-action lawsuits begin.

    • danyelle robinson says:

      Statins may increase certain risks associated with a stent. However, it is also important to note that a stent is one of thousands of medical implant devices approved/cleared by the FDA. In 2014 the CDC explained that ALL medical implant devices (except sterling silver, which is rarely used) cause biofilm — colonies of antibiotic-resistant and Gram-negative infections(aka CREs). Most often this is the primary cause of implant failures. It is also the leading cause of the worldwide sepsis pandemic and HAIs (hospital acquired infections), according to the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. BTW overuse of antibiotic didn’t show up on the list of causes.

  10. Brenda Windell says:

    I was on stains for about 4 years. During that time, I developed, and was diagnosed with, Rheumatoid arthritis. This of course led to more drugs to take care of the arthritis. I finally said enough and took myself off the “meds”. My arthritis suddenly cured itself!

    My elderly mother was also given statins. She developed severe muscle pains, dizziness, mental fog, and finally – had an episode where we thought she’d had a stroke, but turned out was a side effect of the statin. She was unable to talk, could not use her arms or hands, had trouble standing and walking. I took her off the statin and everything improved! Unfortunately, she has permanent nerve damage in her left hand and does not have the full use of it, even after 6 months of being off the drug.

    I would NEVER recommend anyone to take these drugs

  11. I have been on some form of statins for 18 years. September 2, 1998. I had triple bypass surgery. Don’t know what my cholesterol was before surgery. But in the early 70s. My dad died with blocked arteries. 1984 my sister died on the operating table with blocked arteries and veins were too small. Dr. said history of this kind is not good I should be on a statin. I am taking lovastatin now 20 mg one pill a day two years ago I was taken two pills 40 mg a day begin to have dizzy problems and some shoulder and leg problems. Talk to the doctor and now only take one.It’s a little bit better but would like to get off completely I’m 72 years old. My total cholesterol is 167. By HDL is 46. My LDL is 92 last tested 1231 2014. Have bloodwork done every 90 days. I cholesterol levels has been as low as 117 total. So I’m not one to give anyone advice. But good luck.

    • Rolf says:

      I have not seen any mention of Vitamin K2 or MK7 to be exact. Would that along with Vitamin D3 and C not clear out your arteries and make them more elastic and flexible? At least that is what I would try before being bullied into drugs.

  12. Charlie Spivey says:

    I have been through a litany of Statins over the years. I am presently taking 10mg of Crestor daily. I was taking 20 mg daily, but had a massive heart attack on 30 Oct. 2013 ( I arrested at least 6 times from all accounts ) and as a result my kidneys had shut down or nearly so. I was doing Dialysis. They cut back my dosage to 10 mg of Crestor daily, because of the kidney issues, but 20mg worked well. I do take 200mg of CoQ10 daily, but don’t know if that is enough. It is expensive. I was aware of the CoQ10 factor a long time ago. Since going on Crestor, my Cholesterol levels has been good ( at the 20mg dose ). One thing that was not mentioned was the benefits of ahving a good HDL level as that IS beneficial. Some statins will help raise it, but excercise is always a good way to do that.

  13. Dr. Olaf E. Simon says:

    Most interesting dialogs! The main issue centers around the understanding that
    cholesterol levels are politically tainted…what I dislike is a capitalist system with dominance
    towards earnings, yet not before long they were our saviours, live and let live and heal
    with conscience in place. I do not think that earnings are evil, they are certainly needed…
    but how silly can the modern person truly be. We know of lobbying masters who earn high pensions
    while the rest of us suffer…the physicians now also high power money people…Gods without
    saints…yet most of them have still courage and tell us the truth…Well, we are all living much longer because of “Bog Pharma” and love them…but stop exploitation now, the people will
    rebel sooner or later. I am living because I was given the correct drugs…now one yea after
    my heart decided to quit. Inform yourselves and tell others…if you are not a scientist
    you can become one if you have common sense and logic, comparing that what you are being told
    with that what other scientists tell..play : Auld Lang Syne..for me!!

  14. Judy says:

    Currently taking avortstation 3 times week. Started getting vertigo about 8 months ago.. anyone else have this problem

    • Diane says:

      YES, I was so dizzy and mindless and in pain,I knew there was something seriously wrong. I had trouble remembering my home address. I stopped Statin medication and started to feel better the dizzyness stopped.

      Do I think it was the Statin medication? yes for sure.

  15. Craig says:

    I am surprised that this article avoids the very prevalent side effect of thrombosis. Statins and cholesterol-lowering shots cause strokes, as can be learned even from the NIH and many medical abstracts, both domestic studies and internationally.

  16. Renea says:

    i was on Simvastatin for yrs. I hurt all over but my Dr said it had nothin to do with it. I my inflammation number in my body was almost 800 and my Dr took me off the cholesterol mess last yr. my body hurts so bad, hurts to walk, I have muscle cramps all over my body all the time, my arms and shoulders are so painful. I do not feel normal with all the pain I’m in. I have kidney disease so can’t have a lot of medications. But since being off the cholesterol melds for at least a yr my body pain has not improved on little bit. But my Dr says the med has nothin to do with it. I’m not so sure of that.

    • Melissa says:

      You might consider giving your body some help by way of a cleaning routine. People balk about this, but coffee enemas, when done right, are exceptionally healing. Good luck. I hope you find relief.

    • Rolf says:

      First of I must say that I am not a Doctor. My belief is that it is not only what you put into your body that can have health consequences but what you do NOT put into your body that determines your health. Today’s food is seriously lacking in nutrition and no matter how well you try to eat, you do not give your body the ammunition to heal itself.

      That is why I’m a firm believer in high quality supplementation. A top quality Vitamin/Mineral with a high quality fish oil for your omega 3 (EPA and DHA) and for stress some grape seed extract. Add to this a calcium/magnesium supplement and maybe your pains will subside.

      I personally do not accept that it is genetic. Today’s polluted environment taxes us and without the nutrition and anti-oxidants the weakest part of the body is attacked. It is lifestyle and lack of nutrition that is the root of many problems.

      I understand that the cost of supplements comes out of your wallet whereas drugs are often covered by insurance. Drugs and poor health or supplements and possibly good health. The choice is entirely up to the individual.

      We have no drugs in our house and that means not even aspirins. At 74 and 86 we are still enjoying life in good health!

  17. Tony says:

    I was taking Red Yeast Rice to lower cholesterol, 600 mg twice a day for over two years. I had mild dizzy spells shortly after a month of taking this but never made the connection that it was the RYR supplement. I suffered through many unexplained side affects such as vision issues, balance issues, mild depression, random unexplained back and leg pain, extreme tiredness, concentration problems, loss of memory, numbness in left hand and random numbness to the lower legs. My dizzy spells continued to become more frequent especially in times of which I needed to focus. Still I had not made the connection to the Red yeast rice supplement. Then one day I had heal pain in both feet so severe that I could not hardly walk, later that evening my lower back completely locked up to where I could not walk. After crawling into the local chiropractor he asked me if I take statin drugs for cholesterol, in which I responded no, I take no prescribed medicine at all, only supplements. I still had not made the connection until a few weeks later <– When your on statins you will miss the obvious answer to your problems. And yes Red Yeast Rice supplements can be as powerfully punishing as any prescribed statin drugs. Avoid them if at all possible, do your research because these drugs can literally cripple you. I am now heeling up and off RYR, I pray no one has to suffer from the slow confusing health decline I went through. STAY OFF STATINs

    • Marlo Victor says:

      In the late 1970s, researchers in the United States and Japan were isolating lovastatin from Aspergillus and monacolins from Monascus, respectively, the latter being the same fungus used to make red yeast rice but cultured under carefully controlled conditions. Chemical analysis soon showed that lovastatin and monacolin K are identical. The article “The origin of statins” summarizes how the two isolations, documentations and patent applications were just months apart.[5] Lovastatin became the patented, prescription drug Mevacor for Merck & Co. Red yeast rice went on to become a contentious non-prescription dietary supplement in the United States and other countries.

  18. William Windsor-King says:

    My cholesterol here in the UK is measured at 8.2 which I’m told is high and they like to get it below 5 I’ve been on simvistatin 20mg once a day for at least 10 yrs I have been diagnosed with M.E / CFS some 7 yrs ago it’s something I’ve learned to live with but depresses me because I used to be so active. I’m skinny 5 ft 11 weigh 9 stone just recently gotten over clots on my lungs no explanation for them so scary.
    I’ve been reading up on my illness and lots of conflicting stories on theory behind M.E but reading your article makes sense I’ve reduced the simvistatin to 10mg a day but before I got the clots I’d stopped the statin all together without telling Gp now I’m being told that stopping the statin like that caused the clots is this right ? Because I want off them for good but if my bloods going to cause me p.e’s by stopping then it’s a no brainer.
    I recently had an angiogram and it showed fairing of arteries along with calcification in the lower left decending coronary artery a 40% narrowing so I’m being told to up the statins so you can imagine how confused I am after reading your article so please feel free to email me some advice if I’m allowed to publish my email.
    Kind Regards

    William King

  19. Melvin Wilson says:

    Im a 54 year ild Man and is here to report that I have been taking statins and othet heart and cholestorol medications since September of 2004, after having undergone the placement of Stent into one of my heart arteries through a heart catherization procedure. I now suffer with problems of tingling and numbness of my right arm that travels down to my hand, and I have also been experiencing severe pain under my left foot at the toes area whenever I walk for a distance of nearly a mile or less. I would like to receive information regarding treatment or a possible cure of these reoccurring symptoms or problems as soon as possible. I also woulg like to know more about Co-Q10 and where it could be obtained. Thank you very much.

  20. Julia says:

    Yes as ever who is making money?

  21. Julia says:

    O K Dish the chemicals and eat healthy food.

  22. Lynn says:

    I’m 41 and I had a heart attack 3 months ago due to a blood clot. One stent was placed. They have me on atorvastatin and tell me I have to take it for life “just in case”. My cholesterol wasn’t high even at the time of the attack and my diet has changed considerably since then….plus I’ve lost 20 pounds!

    I feel like I’m 90 years old! Everything is an effort. I’m tired even after a full night’s rest and just want to go back to bed for the day. My muscles ache constantly and my mind feels like it’s in a fog. I told my nurse from the cardiac rehabilitation program that I want off this statin and she said “if we can reduce the side-effects, would you still take it”…sounded rehearsed. I told her no I would not and she asked why. I replied “I don’t want to take a pill on the basis of “just in case” when I can control my cholesterol with my diet and daily half hour exercise”.

    These doctors and nurses don’t even want to allow a patent a chance to correct things naturally….all that’s important is that you don’t go off their statin under any circumstances! Makes me highly suspicious. It’s all about money, it seems to me. I wonder if these doctors get financial bonuses from the drug company for every patient who takes a statin!

    My body is telling me it doesn’t like this drug and I will take matters into my own hands, if necessary. No doctor is going to destroy my body so he can drive a Mercedes! My muscles ache daily and when I walk, if feels as though I’m walking against a strong wind…so much effort. I’m not as mentally sharp as I was before either. Can’t remember stuff and have to write everything down.

    I’m getting to hell off this poison!

    • karen says:

      hi lynne, im 51, also had a heart attack 3 weeks ago and had a stent put in one of my arteries. i was put on statins, rosuvistatin 20 mg. and like you, told i would have to take these for life. after 1 week. i was so confused, waking up not knowing where i was for a minute. my legs and back ached. so i told my doctor i wasnt going to take them anymore, she was disgusted, basically told me i was a fool , and that they would save my life. mmm. well after all ive read about statins, i think my quitting smoking, and healthy diet and exercise will save my life before any statin does!

    • Semma says:

      I am no doctor.
      But doctors don’t earn money by prescribing or or not prescribing statins!

      • Alee says:

        That may be true, but they often get “perks” from the Pharmaceutical companies. I was chatting with a young lady on a plane whose husband was a medical intern. She was saying how these companies wined and dined them and they received perks. She didn’t think this was right, but it was part of the medical culture.

      • Jose says:

        Semma, they might not make money by prescribing statins but they will make more business by all the health problems they will cause

      • Dr. Philip Blair, MD says:

        Doctors are often clinically rated by oversight organizations on how they address heart disease, diabetes and elevated lipids. Cardiologist in particular. Prescribing a statin is a quick and easy checkmark for this rating.

      • Bob Wysocki says:

        actually they do !

  23. Carol says:

    Maybe fifteen years ago my mother informed me she was suffering from the inability to raise her arms above her head because of her shoulder pain. Also she was having panic attacks regularly. I also had a friend who had such severe back pain…she thought it was her mattress, so bought a new therapeutic one (didn’t solve the problem), and yet another friend who was having massive anxiety attacks. These two friends were both on statin drugs and when they quit taking them, the problems went away. So when my mother told me of her problems, a light went on in my head and I asked her if she was taking a statin drug. She was. So I began reading up on it and convinced her to get off them. She did (although my sister was furious and said if our mother had a stroke it was my fault). Her shoulder pain went away as did her anxiety attacks. Unfortunately, she has severe leg and foot neuropathy which is apparently irreversible. We are sure that is a result of those blasted statin drugs. I wouldn’t touch one of those, no matter what any doctors said. I may choose my poison, but statin drugs won’t be it. By the way, my mother is 92 and has not had a stroke.

  24. isaak dostis says:


  25. R kaluza says:

    I am 69 an been on statin abd aspin regament for over 35 years. This year I developed macular degeneration in both eyes. Almost losing my vision. I have been receiving Avastin injections monthly which have some what helped. I ran out of my statin and in 3 weeks my vision totally cleared up. I have cut my statin use in half take vitamin k and stopped my as pin intake.

  26. Alee says:

    My husband had a heart attack and quadruple bypass in February of this year. He was a heavy smoker, but otherwise healthy. His cholesterol levels were good and blood pressure excellent previous to heart attack. We have been eating a mostly mediterranean type diet for the last 5 years using whole fat milk, butter, eggs, coconut oil for cooking and olive oil on salads. My husband had been hiking about 5 miles 2 times a week. Our only diet sin is probably too much bread, as his culture eats a lot of bread. He does have a family history of heart problems so this was not totally unexpected. I have been studying natural health since at least 2000 and this site was one of the first I visited. Our problem is that my husband’s cardiologist wants him on statins for life due to his “heart disease”. I dislike this term, since he had an event most likely caused by inflammation due to smoking. His cholesterol & BP are still excellent. BTW, he stopped smoking in the hospital and does not plan to start again. I have not seen proof that this is a disease. I would prefer to use diet, exercise & supplements to keep his inflammation down. The doctor says despite good cholesterol levels, he still has “fat” circulating that could cause problems. He did not say triglycerides. We’re not certain what he is talking about. Being cynical, I think that this is just a way to scare heart patients into being statin customers for life. I am afraid of potential side effects as he is already having pain. He stopped for two weeks and was very energetic. Back on the medication he is drowsy, naps a lot and just not his usual self. Our sons say to follow doctor’s orders. Thanks so much for this article as it provides us with ammunition. Any suggestions?

  27. LINDA says:

    I was diagnosed with a 90% blockage in my left artery. Now the Dr’s want to install a stent with all the above medications. I do not want to do it. Any other choices?L

  28. Adrian Molenaar says:

    I wrote to Dr David B Agus, Professor of Medicine and Engineering, University of Southern California, who gave a very interesting interview about a year ago or so on National Radio New Zealand, asking if his positive opinion of statins had changed. He wrote back “Statins have been shown in the best medical journals to make people live longer and better with no side effects in most people.”

  29. Lee Forbes says:

    I have recently stopped my last statin drug, Livalo, with my doctor/friend’s permission.Tried them all with the usual problems listed in the reports. I took Livalo the longest ( a year plus) before it began to give me pain, confusion, spelling problems, dizziness, word recall, etc.. I was told that my profiles looked good and to continue to exercise and eat low carbs. I now feel great! No more statins for me at age 74. No dizziness (I have low blood pressure) or falls.
    My mother was 90 when she died of a stroke. She never took statins and only one drug for night terror. My father took twenty-one pills a day and died of an afib attack at age 87.5, after his usual three miles a day walk. I prefer a clean life style, walking, jogging, swimming and my body as drug free as possible.
    No more statins!

  30. Laurence Almand says:

    I was recently diagnosed with mild carotid artery plaque – not enough to interfere with blood circulation, but its there, nonetheless. My cardiologist wants to put me on 10G of the drug Atorvastatin to keep my cholesterol below 70. My HDL is 35 and my LDL is about 100, and I have moderate triglycerides since I like my pastries.
    I would like to hear any comments from people who have had bad experiences with Atorvastatin, and carotid plaque. What was your experience after the plaque had been removed? Did the statins help the condition, or do nothing?
    What side effects did you have from the statins? I have heard many horror stories.
    Please let me know your experiences after carotid artery surgery. ldanv99@gmail.com

  31. Carm white says:

    I have been taking pravastatin for several years. I changed pharmacy and they gave me Dr Reddys pravastatin. I did not take it until I called and was told it my dosage and it just a different manufacturer. Sooo I started taking it. Within 5 or 6 days my world fell apart. Horrible aches All over. Pain, nausea, loss of appetite, weak, low potassium, liver enzymes up. My urine was so dark. Holy cow. That started about May 10th. I am just beginning to feel like myself. My new symptom is planters fasciitis!! It is now June 17th. In all of this time I have read such horrible reviews on this drug and the many many many recalls that I cannot believe they are still allowed to sell their poison! I contacted the food and drug administration and filed a report . I also sent a letter to the company! It has been s horrible experience for me. I am a retired teacher, 65 years old and I have enough energy to put A 25 year old to shame! I have had to miss time with my beautiful grandchildren because of someone’s poor practices!! More than any feeling I am angry!

  32. evid@rocheter.rr.com eugene vis says:

    i’m 92 started with lipator.. musclepblem so seversl other sttins used. finally zetia. problems wirth ll quit and was told ide effects would gradually disappear. I>ve waite 30 yeas and stil can’t walk. er hab doesn’t help.

  33. Marian o Callaghan says:

    I have been on colestrol tablets for several years. High colestrol runs in family ,mine was 10 5 Have had se real ones ,Recently I have been in agony at times near to tears ,my go gave be pain killers and eat this has made no difference .Today have been to lipids clinic she thinks it’s the statins causing the problems ,have taken me off them for 3. Weeks ,said to stop tablets from go as I will have. Ore problems with kidneys and liver if I keep taking them At wits end at moment so much pain putting weight on as its so difficult .i could walk miles with no problems I’m 62 yrs and want to enjoy life not sit in a chair and vegetate ,thank you

  34. Kristina S says:

    Hi. I haven’t read all posts word for word, but I have not seen anyone mention the difference between LDLc and the NMR measurement of LDLp. One can have low LDLc and high LDLp. The newer research says LDLp which is the measure of particle number of LDL is the better predictor of heart disease, plaque build up. I have read and done the low carb, Weston price diet for years, am now in my 50’s and was puzzled why my LDLc was high when eating low carb. Many thing influence LDL levels including thyroid levels, LDL receptor function, and APOE. Thru genetic testing I found I have one of the worst APOE genetics, 2 copies of APOE4 which leads to high LDLc and LDLp. So the high fat low carb model, increases heart disease for me, and can increase it for 20-25% of the population which have only one copy of APOE4. Everyone is genetically different and you have to find out what a diet does to your numbers. Scarey thing for me, a lower fat, low carb diet did decrease my LDLc from over 200 to 130 but my LDLp stayed in the stratosphere of over 2000 where under 1000 is considered good and over 1600 is considered very high. I had carotid imaging done and found significant plaque build up. As much as I do not want to go on a statin, I am now on atorvaststin 20mg, plus zetia (did 6 month trial,of zetia alone first) and my LDLp number is now 1020 down from a high of 2500. My lipidologist will be checking carotid plaque build up every 2-3 years because statistically cannot see changes over time measured closer together than that. Hopes are for a slight regression. I am suspicious of the drug industry, having read about the corruption and misleading data that is out there (I am also a pharmacist). I went to a lipidologist expert and have chosen to take his advice on starting a statin because I have clinical atherosclerosis and am at high risk of stroke and heart attack with LDLp sky high not on treatment. I maximized my diet with low carb, lower fat and exercise and it was not enough. My father died of congestive heart failure at age 61 and his grandfather at age 49 of a heart attack. I do not think everyone should be on a statin, but if you have ASCVD get more information before assuming statins are a conspiracy by your doctor and drug company.
    Most statins, even Crestor now are available generically, and if the generic has been out for a while it is inexpensive. I was one of those dead set against EVER taking a statin, but an expert doctor on the cutting edge of research, my own research, trial and error with diet, changed my perspective.

  35. Mary Brammall says:

    I have been on and off statins of one sort or another since the 1990’s. At one point, while off them, I started the Atkin’s Diet (lots of meat, fats, green veggies…but no carbs)…my cholesterol level went down considerably. Since 2000 I have been back on statins and suffered several bouts of muscle weakness and pain, to the point that my arm seemed to take leave of the rest of my body. For the past 10 years I’ve been plagued with swollen feet and ankles, seemingly one of the things about living in hot and humid FL. Most recently, my primary doctor expressed concern about the heart murmer that I’ve had for at least 65 years (I’m 71) and sent me to a cardiologist. She did all the tests, changed my BP med to slow my heart rate, gave me a very mild diuretic…and increased my Pravastatin. Feet and ankles continued to be massive…and then my knees started to give way and I was having trouble doing stairs and walking normally in general. My work requires that I am standing the entire time! So a visit to an orthopedic urgent care indicated arthritis in my knees that would require replacements in the near future – and cortisone shots. At about the same time I stopped taking the Pravastatin. Within a week I was walking almost normally, could climb stairs and actually bend my knees…and I have veins and bones in my feet and ankles!! I have also dropped at least 10 pounds. The local medical profession seems to deny that my symptoms/side effects are related to the statins but in conversation with others suffering similar problems there is a common thread. I think I’ll give the Atkins program another try.

  36. JOSEPH says:

    Thanks so much for this article! I’m a 71-year-old male posting in the hopes of helping someone else. I take 80 mg of Lipitor (generic) plus 3,750 mg of Welchol daily. (yes, it’s true,as I have a genetic problem and my cholesterol has twice gone over 600, and several times over 500). I had a coronary triple bypass in 2003, and was placed on these meds. Yes, my cholesterol is in great shape now, but I’ve had buttocks/lower back pain for eight years, as well as shoulder and upper arm pain bilaterally for about a year. It goes well beyond ‘muscle soreness.’ I had no idea what was causing these symptoms. I had two months of physical therapy, which did nothing. Then I was sent to an orthopedist who tried Lyrica and other meds, which didn’t help either. The orthopedist gave up after testing my nerves and finding nothing. I was sent to a hospital for vascular testing, which found nothing wrong. (My MRI showed no problems). Then I went to a pain two different pain clinics, received injections in my buttocks and around my spinal column seven different times, which did nothing either. The pain dr. asked if I would like to see a surgeon, and I said yes. The surgeon found absolutely nothing wrong, and said there was nothing he could do. ”You’re a 71-year-old with the bones of a 31-year old”,he told me. He knew nothing else to do but go back to the pain clinic. (I didn’t). I found out on the internet that statins cause coq 10 depletion, and ordered some. It’s still experimental, but by taking this supplement, my pain has decreased by about 50% in the hips, and the shoulders and arms pain has almost ceased. Now I learn I’m not taking the best coq 10, so I have ordered the best one. Ubiquinol,I learn, is superior to the Ubiquinone I have been taking, so I’m excited that I may be able to get even more relief! I went through years of pain pills and trials and tribulations of all kinds, so I understand those who are in my shoes. BTW I had started having cramps in various body parts, and twice I had what could only be described as a muscle seizure. The muscles on my right this started quivering involuntarily, and I couldn’t stop them. It only lasted about 20 seconds, but it was the worst pain imaginable! I screamed and cried and prayed for God to help me. I think I would die if this ever happened again. I would RATHER die than go through another 20 seconds like that. I don’t know if Lipitor is responsible, for the cramps and muscle seizures, but I’m convinced it is responsible for the lower back/hips pain and the arms and shoulders pain. I am hopeful that a new chapter of my life has started since I found out about co-enzyme q10!!

  37. Dax White says:

    I had a heart attack at 32yrs and ended up with 3 stents. Was put on plavix 75mg daily and lipitor 10mg increased to 20mg after 3yrs and then also blood pressure med after about 3 years. I stopped the lipitor without doctors advise because of the weight gain and muscle soreness. Now 45yrs old still taking the plavix and blood pressure meds daily….moved to Thailand when i turned 40 to change my life completely….i have been training Muay Thai in Thailand for the past 5years every day for a min of 1.5hrs. last year i fought professionally in my first full contact fight and I can say I feel great. My diet has changed dramatically but Im still 100kg (but Fit or fatfit). I try to eat fresh good food, eggs, salads,lean meats,lots of fish,lots of water,nuts, But hey I still enjoy a beer and pizza to….I feel you need to enjoy life but stay informed as to what your body needs and I think exercise is the key.

  38. Suzan says:

    Everytime I was prescribed a statin I developed terrible constipation. Within 4-7 days after stopping the statin I’d go back to normal. Three years ago after the last time I was put on statins I never recovered. I suffer from chronic constipation. I’d like to know if others have developed constipation issues from statins. I’d also like to know if there is a way to reverse it. I also developed leg cramps that last time. The leg cramps went away when I stopped the statins but the constipation hasn’t. I believe the statins did something to my colon. Can they cause chronic idiopathic constipation?
    Thank you.

  39. Sue Sanders says:

    can Zetia cause muscle pain ? I have been taking it for almost 5 or 6 months and can hardly walk for hurting in my buttocks and top of legs and lower back I have quit taking it for a couple of days and feel much better Aleeve helps with pain but not completely painless still feel some pain but at least can walk better and longer Had to sit on a pillow to ride for long rides and still hurt all the way???

  40. harold tempelhagen says:

    my heart specialist put me on statins without divulging their side effects and only thru my research have discovered the myriad side effects affecting me after 2 years of problems that were sloughed off by the specialist i decided to discontinue there use. all my symptoms are slowly disappearing and hopefully eliminated. the take away from this don’t take any doctors word as gospel. thoroughly research any medications prescribed, and be persistently vigilant in discussing problems with your doctors

  41. Cindy Johnson says:

    A young friend of mine who is only 19 years old and otherwise very healthy had a panel of blood tests 6 months ago and found that her cholesterol is high. High cholesterol runs in her family. She exercises regularly, and if anything is under weight at only 105 pounds. For 6 months she has been following a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fats in an attempt to modify her cholesterol through diet. I live with her and have never seen anyone so careful about what she eats. She just had her blood work redone (at the community health center – whose doctors are barely competent) and it came back even higher. They are telling her she MUST go on a statin drug or face inevitable heart disease. Because she is a full time student, with limited finances and insurance that doesn’t cover prescriptions, she cannot afford the medication. And I am not convinced that at this point in her life it is the best thing for her. I am not medically inclined and your article went over my head. What can she do and is her life really at risk if she doesn’t take Statins? Sounds to me like her life may be more at risk with them.

    • Randy Clark says:

      Your body produces cholesterol. If your diet restricts cholesterol the body will make more. Sugar, Breads, Grains, Pastas, are all inflammatory and insulin raising foods to avoid. Have her eat some eggs, poached or scrambled or boiled. Look up Dr. Darren Schmidt on youtube, and contact him or find a practitioner in your area like him and take her.

  42. lori decker says:

    Wow!!! thank you all who wrote about their experiences on Statins! (I need to remain off of my atorvastatin a few more months before its been a year, but I will stay off of it and continue my Co Q10

    what ai want to know is has anyone heard of a connection between long term statin use and early onset dementia or any dementia ??

  43. Bee says:

    I have been taking Atorvastatin for nearly one week now and have developed two problems I didn’t have previously. I keep getting a ‘headache’ which seems to surge and stop in seconds. (I don’t usually suffer from headaches) The second problem is I have had a rectal bleed with no precipitating condition. No constipation or diarrhea. If the statin has caused the rectal bleed I am wondering if the headache could be leading up to a cerebral bleed.

  44. Cheryl says:

    I am 58 years old and heart disease runs in my family. I received a stent in 2015 after a heart attack and was prescribed 50 mg of Atorvastatin and one baby aspirin a day. It has been a year now and I have started to gain weight and recently started having unbearable arm and shoulder pain. I told my doctor and he advised me to stop taking the Atorvastatin. I had already stopped before he suggested it and I notice that I started to lose weight immediately and the pain in my arms started to decrease. He then prescribed Crestor. I took two doses and my arms began to ache again. I did not take it again. I have read of other ways to decrease my HDL and I will do this on my own. I will get another blood test soon to see how I am doing with the information I have learned from this site and WEB MD.

    Thank you all for your post and may God bless you all with excellent health!

  45. loreen basinger says:

    i’ve been on statins for 10 yrs. i’m at the point where my muscles are gone, and my joints ache, i definetly
    have all the symptoms. if i stop statins will my strength come back. cant take much more

  46. Ruthie says:

    Really enjoyed all the comments about these articles. I too used to take statins and finally quit them. Do not like all the side effects of it. Thanks so much for info.

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