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British Heart Foundation
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Update on statins and muscular pain

Hi all. So approx. a week ago I wrote regarding the pains I am experiencing in legs which I thought were down to statins. I telephoned my GP practice and was told that I would receive a call back and because it was non-urgent, the Dr would ring me. Six days later!! Dr rang me today. Told me that he was also on statin and also experienced the "aches and pains" but as they "did not stop him from doing anything" it is better to stay on them as the good 36outweighs the bad. Also told me that I could request a CPK? blood test when I next have my cholesterol tested which is in August. Any idea what a CPK blood test is and what it is for? My GP was at best rather impatient with my explanation of the leg pain and quite abrupt when telling me that I should stay on the Atorvastatin due to my heart history. So, I will continue on the recommended dose and hope that my symptoms improve. Fingers crossed. I do hope that all you other hearties are doing okay and that you are getting the help and support you need. Take care and will let you know the outcome of next blood test. Til then xx

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My husband is having similar problems on the same tablets, his view is to stop them all, unfortunately our GP is quite supportive of this as a longer term goal (I'm less than happy about this). But the initial plan is to reduce the dosage. We are only 6 weeks in and I hate seeing him suffer still but I'm terrified of the implications if he stops. We have talked about this but I'm not able to sway him otherwise.

It's strange how Drs all have such differing outlooks to this.

I hope it all works out for you

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Thanks for your reply. I know that taking my tablets is a long term thing but oh! just to stop these aching legs. I wish your husband a speedy recovery.

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Cpk is a muscle enzyme in the blood

Statins can raise this level which causes cramping

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Thanks for that. At least now I know what it is. I appreciate your response. Take Care

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CPK is Creatine Phosphokinase, which is an enzyme that can be raised by many conditions such as stroke, myocarditis and taking cocaine. In people taking statins it could be released by the muscles if the statin is causing muscle damage. Other drugs can also raise CPK. Anybody on statins should be tested for this a few weeks after starting and regularly thereafter. My understanding is that although statin A may cause a problem may not and vice-versa.

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Can I ask what may be a silly question MichaelJH, Reading about raised creatinine levels which can be caused by certain conditions, could a significantly raised creatinine level be recorded after an apparent angina attack ? I am convinced I have microvascular angina and after an attack when I went to A&E the only thing I was told was these levels were raised and to visit my GP. When I did this she said she would repeat the test but I had probably eaten too much meat ! Result of repeat bloods for creatinine was ‘satisfactory’. I asked the receptionist if she could tell me what my level was and she was able to tell me it was 91, it had been 138 some weeks earlier in A&E. Could there be a link to having had the angina attack and raised creatinine ?

Sorry if all this seems rather long winded.

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Whilst raised CPK can indicate a heart attack it has also been linked with angina particularly microvascular angina that you mentioned. I would speak to your GP again.

At times diagnosis of heart conditions can be quite tricky. I had four blocked arteries (70% - 85%) with normal resting ECG. A friend had an issue with resting ECG and with ongoing investigations it appears only one artery is narrowed. Barely seems logical.

Good luck with GP.

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Thank you !

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Thanks for response. Will have the blood test in August. I will continue with statins but may ask Dr if I could perhaps try another. Take Care

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I would like to think that, if the pain/aches became more noticeable after taking statins, that is a clear indication. Mine pre dates my HA &Ca. I'm currently being tested for Psoriatic arthritis, which matches all the key indicators for my symptoms, whilst also being capable of instigating atherosclerosis. I've had a slight improvement after being off statins for a month, but not enough to outweigh the potential benefits. I've tried Pravastatin, Artorvastatin and Simverstatin. I've had mild Symmetrical Psoriasis for 30 years.

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Try Brazil nuts, they are as effective a statins, without the side effects.

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My GP has (reluctantly) allowed me to halve the dosage of atorvastatin to see if my muscle aches improve. However, I do know a few people in my cardiac rehab class who just stopped taking them years ago and don't appear to have had any adverse problems.

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Take the statins but start eating Brazil nuts and you might be able to stop the statins (with your doctor’s agreement):

nutritionfacts.org/video/fo...

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Thanks Jimmy. I have dabbled but will up it.

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Warch the video: you only need 4 a month. Being a pig, I have them every day.

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Thanks for post. I am closely investigating if they need to be wrapped in chocolate..

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Hi. Perhaps talk to your GP about having a different statin to see if that helps.

Personally, if I was offered statins I’d give them a good try because I have a friend who was offered statins by his GP but declined them as he was borderline for needing them and healthy. A couple of years later he started getting indigestion, particular when walking up hills. He sensibly went to the GP and before he knew it was in hospital having an angiogram and a stent fitted. He was lucky he didn’t leave it any longer as he had a huge blockage and could have had a serious heart attack.

As an aside, have you seen an article by Michael Moseley in Daily Mail about the research into drugs and side effects? It shows how we can get side effects we expect, even when we take a placebo. I’m not saying this is you or cause any offence, I just found it fascinating that we can truly believe we have side effects when actually we don’t. Here’s the link

dailymail.co.uk/health/arti...

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I totally agree. I think often the media sensationalise anything they can for a good headline. They can sometimes distill a message to grab more attention, and I think possible side effects fall into this. The majority of common side effects are not only manageable but also, when compared to the alternative (raised chance of another heart attack) seem pretty mild. My beta blocker is definitely making me feel colder. But it’s doing it’s job of stopping my heart going into tachycardia, which combined with everything else, could lead to a nasty arrhythmia, as well as my heart working harder than it should.

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Thanks Shar for you response and advice. I am thinking that I may ask my Dr for a different statin. I am more than happy to stay on the statins and am hopeful that the effects might lessen. Appreciate the link. Take care

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Some interesting comments on this thread.

My story, HA eighteen months ago then on 80mg Artorvastatin, presumably for life. Last Christmas my aches and pains were so bad I could not sit down and relax when with company. The pains then were in the testes, after tests that led nowhere I eventually saw a doctor and asked him to consider these body wide aches and pains. I work out daily with light weights, walk on 10 mile hikes once or twice a week and play badminton. Every activity was leaving me in agony. He immediately told me to stop taking statin, "are they not keeping me alive" I said. His answer was no, dissolved aspirin is doing that. This left me totally confused and we agreed a 75% reduction to 20 mg. Three months later the aches and pains are there daily, but at a level I can live with and I hope the cholesterol levels stay low.

Good luck to all who negotiating this labyrinth.

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Hi,

I thought I would add my experience with statins, I tried three which all gave me muscle and leg pain to various degrees. They usually seem to start you on the cheapest but there are different ones so quite often one will suit you.

I finally tried Ezetrol which I believe works in a similar way I have no side effects and it has lowered my cholesterol. Suggest trying a different one to your GP it is worth trying, why live with extra pain if there is a possible alternative. It is usually trial and error as we are all different and maybe on different medications. You are your best advocate.

Good luck

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I was advised by my Osteo to take Q10 along with stations helps combat side effects. Worth a read up.

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I'm presently having the same problem, made more complicated by the fact that I have severe spinal issues which might also be causing nerve pain in my legs. Last week they were unbearable so I stopped my statins for just 3 days which is he length of time it takes to get this particular one out of your system. I saw an improvement the first day and by day 3 I had NO pain. I'm restarting the statins tomorrow to see if it comes back and will see my GP on Monday. Statins deplete an enzyme in your body that affects muscles so it may be worth taking a supplement of co enzyme Q10. Ask your GP. I had to stop atorvastatin and was given simvastatin which has caused all the problems. Don't just stop statins without your GPs advice .

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Hi Qualipop and thanks for your response. I mentioned co enzyme Q10 to my GP who said that as this is not NICE approved he advised against it. I may ask the Dr to try me with another statin. Take Care

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Hello again. My husband takes Ubiquinol which is a form of Q10. He’s mentioned this to his GP, his Cardiologist and his cardio surgeon who all said that if he feels it benefits him and it doesn’t cause an issue with his prescribed drugs, that they’re happy for him to continue it. He does and it doesn’t so he continues to take it. He’s on Warfarin too but as he has a regular dose it’s ok.

The GP made the point that they can’t and don’t know everything and that everyone’s different so it’s always trial and error to see what works for each individual.

Good luck in sorting something out that suits you.

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I had a similar problem and spoke with the GP and he ordered bloods to be done to check my CPK levels (Creatine Kinase) . Apparently this enzyme becomes elevated when the muscle is under stress, so has been used as a test for heart attacks too. I had my levels checked and all is good. But my GP did say to take CoEnzyme CQ10 as a supplement and this will help with the symptoms.

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My husband was put on atorvastin years ago, not because of any heart problems but because he is type 1 diabetic and once he got to 60 the GP said that he should take it as a precaution. Soon after taking them he began to get leg pain but mostly in his groin, so much so that he thought he had pulled a muscle whilst in the gym. He reported this to the GP, who told him to stop taking it for a week and if the discomfort stops to go back and see him, he did, it stopped and was then put onto simvastatin, which suits him better. However every now and then he gets groin pain so stops taking it for a while then continues but what I do find interesting is that statins can give you leg cramps. This has never been mentioned to my husband and he’s been taking quinine for over two years to combat it! I feel that he needs to mention this to the GP after reading this.

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Hi All,

I've been reading your posts about statins and your concerns, including side effects.

Just a reminder - the benefits of taking statins usually far outweigh the risks (having a heart attack or stroke) so you should always discuss your concerns with your GP.

I like the posts about discussing changing to a different statin if the one you're taking doesn't suit you - there are several to choose from!

You may also find this article and current trial about side effects interesting:

bhf.org.uk/informationsuppo...

Do call our Helpline if you'd like to chat through any of your concerns.

Best wishes,

Julie

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The MHRA stats from .gov.uk state that statins are effective for up to 450 cardiac, vascular or mortality events in 10,000; that's 4.5%

How much less than that are the incidences of side effects please?

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Thank you for the link, very informative

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Im glad you reminded us if the benefits of statin use. I was skeptical of starting them a year ago but so far no problem. I have cholesterol issues plus a fib. Ive not had an a fib episode in over a year. Im wondering if the statin is helping me out with that. I love that statins have an anti- inflammatory effect.

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Since my bypass three years ago I've been taking Atorvastatin 40mg amongst other pills. I've always had niggling aches and pains in my muscles but as I believe they are doing me good I've stuck with them. However, the feeling of ripping tendons when I stretch my fingers leaves me with a numbness in the tips of my fingers and it's getting worse. I went to the doctors Tuesday and he's sent me off for a "Total CK" blood test. Could this be the same one for the creatine tests I wonder?

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Went to doctors today with same complaint.She told me to lay off my statin for 2 weeks to see if pain subsides.Said it won't affect my cholesterol at all.After 2 weeks we have to decide on a plan. X

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Been 4 days since I stopped my statin and am happy to say my leg is pain free for the first time in a year.I am over the moon.x

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