Atorvastatin : Anyone had any issues... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

28,438 members18,645 posts


Foxtrot07 profile image

Anyone had any issues taking atorvastatin?

I've been taking them since my ha and stent since January

I was getting aches and pains in my chest, under my arms (like someone was tugging my armpit hair out), my left elbow joint and back pain. After an x ray they found I had 2 x compound fractures too two vertebrae, which I go for a scan to see the cause of it. But I'm convinced that the statins are causing most if the aches and pains.

Has anyone had similar issues?


65 Replies

Yes! - I've tried 3-4 different statins but keeping to Atrovastin at the moment.

Lot of aches & pains especially after things like walking shopping housework. I had the symptoms while taking all if them so changing made no difference for me.

I was advised by a medical rep that a lot depends on the brand and the fillers used in them.

It seems some are more exoensive than others and at my surgery they only prescribe certain ones due to the costs involved.

Will be interesting to hear from other folk experiences

Foxtrot07 profile image
Foxtrot07 in reply to Gowers

Thanks for your reply. I'll see what comes of my scan on my back before I mither the Dr again 😂

Osidge profile image
Osidge in reply to Foxtrot07

Unless you have had an injury, you may need to have your bone density checked.

Foxtrot07 profile image
Foxtrot07 in reply to Osidge

I went this morning for a dexa x ray. Managed to get a cancellation. No results yet though

Rosei profile image
Rosei in reply to Foxtrot07

Atorvastin did damage to my liver, was tried on another one and that too started to do liver damage, so no statins for me.

Tombob profile image
Tombob in reply to Rosei

How could you tell you had liver damage?

Rosei profile image
Rosei in reply to Tombob

A routine blood test showed that my liver had been damaged with the 80mg of Atorvastin, the Dr waited for my liver to repair itself ( the liver is a very obliging organ ) I was then put on another statin but 10mg with a blood test at the end of the month, again it showed that all was not well with my liver. No more statins for me,and my liver has returned to normal.

Tombob profile image
Tombob in reply to Rosei

Thank you for your reply,I haven't had a blood test and have been on 80mg for 2 years!! I am on 10mg bisoprolol and 10mg ramipril a day and 40mg furosemide with no side effects as far as I know. I am waiting for a replacement mitral valve operation.

Prada47 profile image
Prada47 in reply to Gowers


Not looking to pick a fight , but I thought the Surgery had to prescribe to the NICE or Local commissioning group recommended medications ?? I know with Entresto it can only be issued after the Hospital/Heart Nurse had prescribed it. The Chemist told me it is on an Amber list anyone shed any more light on this ??


christy1952 profile image
christy1952 in reply to Gowers

Same thing all the pain could hardly walk, now back on Simvastatin 40mg and pain is gone not any at all.

Many people report the same muscular and joint pain as a result of taking Statins, some of them then decide to stop taking Statins.

Personally I think that would be a big mistake. I'm not a proponent of Statins based on their headline function of lowering cholesterol, more that they have a proven role in stabilising plaque (which in turn prevents heart attacks) and also reducing inflammation. If you're interested and want to get into the science you can read more here,

In any event, it can take six months for your body to get used to medication. So grit your teeth and hang on for a few more months at least.

Foxtrot07 profile image
Foxtrot07 in reply to Chappychap

Thanks for your reply

The Dr said about 6 months for the meds to settle. I'll see how I go cheer

Been in them for 20 years no problem. Recently got pains in upper arms. Dr recommended Q10 enzyme which counteracts effects of aches. I haven't tried them yet though. Atorvastatin is a fairly good cholesterol tablet I have always been told.

Foxtrot07 profile image
Foxtrot07 in reply to Caitlyn6

There are different types of statins, are they all virtually the same ?


Caitlyn6 profile image
Caitlyn6 in reply to Foxtrot07

No....are all cars the same? Atorvastatin is like a decent car, but not a Rolls Royce.

in reply to Caitlyn6

What is the Rolls Royce of statins then? My GP also recommended Q10 and said it should really be prescribed alongside Statins.

Caitlyn6 profile image
Caitlyn6 in reply to

Rosuvastatin I was told but I don't know anything other than what a dr told me years ago

Hi Foxyrt07 I was prescribed them for high cholesterol as it was 6.8. However from day 1 of taking it I had insomnia. I petsisted taking it for 3 weeks but was so sleep deprived by then I was worn out. I rang my doctor who called me back after surgery. She just told me to stop taking them. It took me 6 months too get my sleep pattern back. My sister was also prescribed them and she had severe symptoms of arthritis and could hardly walk. She was in her early 60s but felt in her 90s so she couldn't take them either. Her Dr prescribed a lower dose but it still had the same effect. So now neither of us are taking statins because of the side effects and are trying to reduce our cholesterol with exercise and diet. However as our age goes up so does our cholesterol but the tablets have too many adverse side effects.

Osidge profile image
Osidge in reply to Veggie66

I have been on atorvastatin 10mg for 20 years with no ill effects other than good cholesterol levels. The usual side effect is muscle pain but a lot of people, myself included, have no side effects. Osteoarthritis is a bony problem and not muscular. Many people have very bad OA without taking a statin.

You had a heart attack presumably because you had a blockage in one of your coronary arteries.

The cause of these blockages are many and varied:


High blood pressure

High cholesterol

Diabetes or insulin resistance

Sedentary lifestyle

High cholesterol is one of the main elements inextricably linked to plaque build up, one of the precursors of coronary thrombosis.

You should have been prescribed various meds which will reduce the symptoms, lower BP, thin blood, open arteries etc, but Statins are one of the medications which will hopefully reduce plaque build up and the chance of future HA's.

Statins have had some bad press because of some people having muscle problems, but not taking these meds means one of the major contributors to your original HA has not been addressed, and plaque build up will continue. Have regular cholesterol checks and minimise the dosage to keep total levels to just below 4 mmol/l.

You should persevere and try different brands, take Ubiquinol, a more bioavailable form of Cq10 and see if this helps, but you should resist to temptation to stop taking Statins.

Good luck

Hello Foxtrot07 I too had severe joint and muscle pain with Atorvastatin. GP reviewed and switched to Rosuvastatin. Things have certainly improved and l believe statins are worth taking. I hope this helps.

I used to have such pain with most of the statins (3 different types) I took but after HA had a long discussion with Cardiologist over refusing to take any and he managed to convince me to take a low dose of 10mg of Atorvastatin. While I still have some aches, mostly in the morning, they are nowehere near as bad as those I had on a similat dose of Simvastatin.

My advice, for what its worth, is to get your Dr to try a different type as we all react somewhat differently. Good luck and I hope it gets sorted.

On Avorasatin since November but at 64 I never know whether my aches and pains are from the gym, running, age or the statins!

Been on them since April last year and have had no problems with them whatsoever, the good thing is it bought my cholesterol down to 3.2 which was fantastic as it peaked at over 6.5, it could mean that this particular statin just doesn't suit, there are many different ones out there, hope your back heals soon, i have back problems too.


I’ve been on this medication for three year now no problem.

Hi Foxtrot, all the more recent studies involving stains are not so good. They can have bad side effects including diabetes. Just published that they only work on 50% of patients. Have a google about statins and calcification. Here is just one

What annoys me is that they “ presume” the fact that statins causes calcification in your heart that “ might” be what is stabilising the plaque. Calcification is what was called “ hardening of the arteries” it’s best read up and make an informed decision. It’s generally accepted now that it’s inflammation that causes heart disease not cholesterol. It’s so hard now to go against what’s been drummed into us all.

Russ65 profile image
Russ65 in reply to Adaboo

Adaboo, could you put the full link address up, as I've just tried and it says the page no longer exists.

Adaboo profile image
Adaboo in reply to Russ65

Try this one

If you google statins arse calcification. . There are loads of studies. Remember to check on every study if big pharma have financed it though.

Adaboo profile image
Adaboo in reply to Adaboo

Oh I do love spellcheck. The word should be “ cause” not arse! Although Freudian slip comes to mind 😂😂

Russ65 profile image
Russ65 in reply to Adaboo

🤣 I did wonder if that's what you meant. Thank you for the swift reply as well.

Yes it can give you aches and pains especially in the joints ... most statins seem to do this but you need to refer to your specialist to find ones that dont effect you so badly I now take Atorvastation and Ezitembe and my cholestrol has dropped to 0.87 from 10.8 .This has been over a period of a few years but it shows they work ( even if they cause some side effects) Regards

Hi Foxftrot, I was taking statins for a year after a HA in June 17. Started to get muscle aches, no energy, nightmares, anxiety, flue like symptoms. I decided something had to be done as I couldn’t go on like it. I had a couple of classes of Tai Chi for gentle exercise and a reason to get out of the house, my upper body ached for a week afterwards, when I went to the doctors he said do you need to do it, to which I replied no, and stopped, not the answer I was expecting!

I have stopped the Statins for 6 months and feeling so much better, still getting the odd muscle ache and not a good day but generally I can do nearly everything that I want to do.

I am taking COQ10, vitamin D, C,K,Magnesium, Krill Oil, to help my recovery.

There is an interesting group on Facebook called Stopped our Statins which has helped me make my decision to stop taking them.

Best of luck

Hi, I was started on Atorvastatin 80mg in November 2018. I was previously on Simvastatin as my cholesterol was 6.1.

I was unwell in November, taken in to hospital, had an MRI of my head. The scan showed that I had small vessel disease in my brain.

I was then started on aspirin and the Atorvastatin 80mg. Shortly after starting the new statin I began to get really bad headaches. I stuck it out for 6 months, really couldn’t take any more of the headaches, I’m now on Atorvastatin 40mg and the headaches have gone.

I do have pains and aches first thing in the morning, but I have put this down to age, 62.

This is just my findings of Atorvastatin.

I’m being investigated for high blood pressure and had to see a renowned cardiologist. When I said I was on the same statin as you, he said “How old are you? Stop them immediately. They are of no use after the age of 65. I’ll tell you what you are experiencing. Tiredness, pains in legs and arms and a feeling of fuzziness, having a problem with concentrating.” So I stopped them and I must admit I do feel better. He didn’t tell me to stop the Ramipril or Moxonidine, though!

Foxtrot07 profile image
Foxtrot07 in reply to Violymay

I'm only 49 😂😂

Yes lots of muscle pain and over all body pain. That was my sister, brother-in-law and my self. We where all prescribed the same atorvastatin. My doctor put me back on simvastatin and all is well now. I even called the manufactory and they took a report because there are a lot of complaints.

You could ask your doctor about coming off the statin and replace them with nuts. They work just as well and no side effects:

These videos are all about medical evidence from tests and trials. You could email these links to your doctor to back up your case.

tunybgur profile image
tunybgur in reply to jimmyq

There is absolutely no clinical proof here and suggesting coming off statins to someone who has suffered a heart attack is reckless. I hope it's a joke.

Prada47 profile image
Prada47 in reply to tunybgur

Not out to defend Jimmyq but he/she did say consult your Doctor not just come off the statins !!! but I agree it is reckless to say to anyone stop this or that medication


jimmyq profile image
jimmyq in reply to tunybgur

Watch the videos for the clinical proof. All the videos from Nutrition Facts are about clinical proof.

tunybgur profile image
tunybgur in reply to jimmyq

These are interesting, but fall far short of proper clinical studies.

If you understand the difference between Relative Risk Reduction and Absolute Risk Reduction you can see the "benefits" of Statins are a massive statistical misrepresentation of benefit, and in my opinion not worth the affects on your muscles ( the most important muscle being your heart) . Please ask your Doctor to speak to you about Absolute Risk, not Relative Risk Reduction of Statins, so you can have a true understanding of Statin use to affect your risk reduction of CAD. this reference is one of many,

tunybgur profile image
tunybgur in reply to Jack2019

For people who have suffered a heart attack, statins are essential to reduce the risk of further attacks. I agree some research suggests statins are prescribed to people who don't really need them, but there is a huge amount of evidence to show statins significantly reduce the future risk for people with existing heart disease.

I know there are people with entrenched views on this, as there is on MMR vacination, just hope too many people don't suffer through ignorance of the evidence.

The stats from say that statins are effective for 450 heart or vascular events in 10,000 . That's 4.5%; not really massively beneficial, just overstated by people with a drug to sell.

There are studies which show statins reduce future cardio events in patients with existing CVD by 37%......there is a mass of conflicting evidence out there, who to believe?

I do believe the MHRA stats. They prove that the performance of statins is pathetic. Would you like to have an operation where you only stood a 4.5% chance of survival for instance? These are the most widely prescribed drugs on the NHS.

When pharma puts out stats like 37% improvement, we need to know what the absolute amount was. Remember those 450 in 10,000 represent all CVD, heart attack and mortality events, so if CVD was two-thirds of those, it would only be 37% of 300 in 10,000. That would be just 1.11% in absolute terms, or 111 people in 10,000. Now, for those that it helped I'm sure it would mean the world, but statistically, at such a low impact it could be down to chance, just dressed-up to sound impressive.

I also suggest you read Dr Malcom Kendricks blog and his Book the great cholesterol com.

tunybgur profile image
tunybgur in reply to pgb266

The Framingham heart study is the largest study of heart disease ever carried out and is ongoing.

It shows cholesterol (HDL and LDL) and triglyceride levels are significant indicators or future CVD risk.

Not necessarily how you've been told

I'm just stating facts, I'm not suggesting any particular hypothesis is right or wrong. What's your point?

That by focussing on cholesterol, we've been missing the elephant in the room for decades; insulin-resistance

That's an opinion, valid as any other....personally I think the widespread use in our diets for the last 40-50 years of hydrogenated fats did huge damage to my generation.

Before trans fats were shown to be so dangerous to our vascular system, one estimate said they made up to 7% of our diet.....they were everywhere, cakes, pastries, pizzas, biscuits, chocolates, crackers and virtually every restaurant, fish and chip shop, fast food outlets used them, and many still do.....why not, they do a great job, stay fresh for longer and are cheap....trouble is it blocks our arteries.

The ancient Egyptians had a high-grain diet that predisposed them to the conditions associated with chronic ill-health.

good article! It is hard to know what to think when you're coming across conflicting information on LDL and what you should do about it.

Jack2019 profile image
Jack2019 in reply to tunybgur

If you google the recent updates on the framingham study you will find that cholesterol levels have proved a poor gauge of CAD, in fact it showed the lower your ldl the more at risk you are.

tunybgur profile image
tunybgur in reply to Jack2019

I'm not saying you're wrong, all I'm saying is that there's arguments both ways.

I had a heart attack, was prescribed statins (amongst many other things), I questioned this as like you I was sceptical and worried about side effects, but every cardiologist I've spoken to says they save lives.

I'm 71, still here 7 years after my heart attack, no muscle pains, fully fit and taking 40mg atorvastatin every day....I guess I'm a statistic, but I've just had a MIBI scan and my heart was pronounced to be in excellent condition.

I'll keep taking my statins....they may just be having a placebo effect, but...

If you've had aheart attack you need statins. Simple. I started on atorvastatin and couldn't tolerate them at all. I've lived with severe chronic pain both muscular and nerve pain for over 20 years so it's hard to tell if the statins were making it worse or not b ut atorvastatin was obvious. I suggested rosuvastatin but GP wouldn't prescribe it. He had to prove that oters had been tried first before itw odl be allowed. I'm now on simvastatin with no apparent problems although my pain has been worse bu I don't know what's causing that. My husband couldn't tolerate either atorvastatin or suimvastatin so, as he had no heart problems, he came off them.

I think we all have to make our own decisions after researching as much as possible. I have personally stopped taking Statins due to some of the side effects already listed along with the fact I just do not like the way they mess with your liver. I am following a very strict diet and decided to see what my cholesterol was at my annual review, it it is too high I will probably go back on them, but I have also based my decision on the fact that I have also come off all all the other "blanket" dose of drugs, along with my GP's support, that I obviously did not need to be on in the first place. I have seen no evidence that we are treated in a subjective way, and I am also very sceptical that they actually reduce deposits that have already accumulated. For those that are able I think a plant based diet and as much exercise as possible is the way forward - obviously the anti-platelet drugs are essential but that is all I am on presently and feel great. I will have a look at that facebook site.

Hi there, I’ve been taking atorvastatin for about 5 years and have never had any problems with it. Hope you find out what’s going on and feel better very soon.

About 5 years ago I was prescribed Simvastatin lower too my Cholesterol, after a few months I experienced severe aches and pains. My legs were weak could not walk for long distances, in my early 60,s this was really worrying. I later found out that I was suffering from Myalgia. I stopped taking Statins and the symptoms disappeared.

Nine months ago I had open heart surgery at Harefield this was to replace a damaged Mitral Valve.

Two of my arteries were bypassed at the same time. I was told that I would need to take Statins again and I have now been on Atrovastatin since the op.

I am pleased to say I have had no side effects or pain whatsoever.

So ask your GP for an alternative.

Best Wishes

Hi. No issues at all.

One of the findings from the PESA study was that around 50% of people with an average age of 45 had sub clinical atherosclerosis.

This sub group not only had normal cholestrol they had NO traditional risk factors for heart disease but still half of them developed it quite young.

I had a stent fitted at 51 and have always had normal cholestrol levels so maybe the levels are wrong, who knows.

What statins have done for me is reduce the highly athogenic ApoB cholesterol which I'm hoping will slow any future progression.

As others have mentioned inflammation is now being seen as a main driver for athersclerosis. Whilst insulin resistance can be greatly improved by dietary changes, lipoprotein associated philophosphase a2 is a plasma biomarker strongly associated with inflammation within coronary plaques.

I strongly believe that if you can reduce this plaque inflammation you will reduce your risk of heart attacks and rousovastatin and atorvastatin have been shown to decrease lipoprotein associated philophosphase a2 by 25 - 30%.

Whilst you can debate the usefulness of statins in people with no pre existing coronary heart disease, for people like myself who have the disease I believe that statins are an essential treatment and I will hopefully continue to take them for many years.

Hi Foxtrot07. Since my HA 13 weeks ago I’ve been taking high dose of Atorvastatin. I have osteoarthritis so am used to aches and pains and didn’t notice any worsening of symptoms until I was in a car shunt three weeks ago. I was dubious about using statins and always refused them when offered. Maybe if I’d taken them then I wouldn’t have had a heart attack. I’ll find out how effective they’ve been when I see cardiologist in a couple of weeks.

I found out 2 weeks ago that I have 2 compound fractures to two vertebrae.

Not sure how I did this or when, but the pains could be related to that. Although one Dr told me that it wouldn't cause ashes and pains in my arms, but they seem to come on when I've got back pain. Waiting for results of a dexa x ray and see the cardiologist next Tuesday so hopefully more answers soon and remedies. 🤞hope you get good news from your visit to the cardiologist.

Yes same pains but doctors can't seem to fix it over the phone its been a year now I just stopped taking statins for a month. To see what happens

You may also like...