The can of worms that is Statins! - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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The can of worms that is Statins!


I have just had a discussion with mum about taking statins, she is going for a definite no to them (someone we know had bad side effects).

I know they are one of the most common drugs taken, and that they do have side effects, worse for some than others.

Has anyone not taken them when prescribed?

Has anyone not had side effects?

Looking for help - should I try to persuade mum to try them?

We know the benefits, the pros and the cons of them.

What does a daughter do? :) Thanks x

P.S a friend has been talking Plant Sterols as something to take instead! HAs anyone tried these in combinations with statins or on their own?

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69 Replies

Hello Daisydodah

Statins have been around a long time, but still get a bad press. As well as lowering cholesterol they also reduce risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Some people get some muscle pain after they start to take them but it tends to go away after a few weeks.

I was prescribed a statin (Atorvastatin) after my heart attack 21 months ago and haven't suffered any adverse effects.

Here's a link to the subject on the NHS website;-

Thank you for the link and thoughts. x

Statins have bad press but work there is no doubt about that. Many people have different side affects but I can only judge on my own experience. Not sure if high cholesterol caused my HA or blockages that required a bypass. But since then being on astros

Been taking 80mg atorvastatin for just short of 2 years now with no side effects at all.

What you need to remember is that "research" online tends to find two groups:

(1) People who've had bad side effects, and

(2) People who have problems caused by their underlying conditions which they blame on the statins because they've read so much bad about them.

What you DON'T tend to find are the literally millions of people who take them with no issues at all, because those people aren't newsworthy.

The question of taking or not taking statins comes up here once a month with the last being a week ago. Taking statins always wins.

It has now been found with research that statins prevent Covid-19 from escalating into the critical phase.

It is also well known to reduce and delay the effects of alzheimers.

It also acts on brain cholesterol to reduce anxiety and depression.

So apart from heart health it also has the above benefits.

If you want to believe that your mom has heard of someone that has a friend who heard that statins are bad then go ahead and support her.

MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Palpman

Recent research also suggests that statins help to improve the long term survival of women with breast cancer too.

Reduce strokes

Statins improve the function of the endothelium the inner lining of all blood vessels. A very important underrated organ of the body.

That's interesting 're breast cancer survival rate. I take statins. Have for many years. Had breast cancer before I reached the age when they often get prescribed. But, I had cancer 32 years ago when I was 39.

MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Lovetheoutdoors

I was surprised too.

It is great to hear that your breast cancer was successfully treated.

Here's a research article discussing statins and the reduction in the recurrence of breast cancer.


Silverfox2 in reply to Milkfairy

It's not as cut and dried as that. If you read that entire report you linked to it says far more research needs to be undertaken.

MichaelJHHeart Star

Hello and welcome to the forum!

As mentioned statins have other benefits. These include lowering irritation often a precursor to plaque formation and stabilising any existing plaque. There is a whole range of statins which include Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, Pitavastatin, Pravastatin, Rosuvastatin, and Simvastatin. Yes a few people do have serious side effects but if people do have side effects they are usually minor. A change of statin or dose often overcomes these. I was started on Simvastatin which caused some muscle aches but a change to Atorvastatin cured this. After bypass surgery or stents the usual dose of Atorvastatin is 80mg. My liver was keen on this but was fine on 40mg (I enjoyed my under and post graduate days 🤣🤣🤣). One cardiac nurse told me she believes many get side effects because they have read Dr Google!

Plant sterols do reduce cholesterol but by about 17% at most.

Hi Daisy

Hope this response to your question helps?

I have been a lifelong cyclist -70 now.

Competitive till age 45 and able to ride my bike at 25 av.

Then, of course! slightly slower each year.

So for example, I was able to ride at 20 av at age 60 and at 17 av in November 16 age 67.

This is my Statin Story -

I had a 'heart scare' climbing a steep hill, with my 17 av group, in May 16 - age 66

Many tests later, severe cardiac atherosclerosis diagnosed (familial atherosclerosis) Agatston Score 1315 - superhigh

And had a triple bypass in Feb 17, which went very well! thanks NHS!

I was started on Simvastatin 5 mgs in Dec 16 and after just 3 doses I had muscle aches and my Av speed dropped straightaway from 17 av to just 12 av.

Told Dr about this and he changed them to Rosuvastatin.

However, the aches continued and I told him the aches were still there on rosuvastatin.

At this point, should he not have taken me off ALL statins?

As, the fact that the aches were still there after the change of statin, proved I was Statin Intolerant.

He didn't, so I stopped them myself at the 12 week mark.

However, despite stopping them almost 4 years ago now, the aches not only have NOT gone away, but have got progressively WORSE.

I still ride my bike though, every Sunday, a lifelong habit! NOTHING will stop that - at about 10 av - the speed of a leisure cyclist.

Reading extensively about the side effects (which are mainly muscle aches) of statins I feel these numbers are about right?

80% of people taking them will have no problems, so can continue.

19%, AFTER stopping them, will find the aches fade away

However, in the remaining 1%, myself included, even AFTER stopping them, the aches do not go away and may well be permanent?

Of course, in this last 1%, there will be some who just have to put up with very mild aches.

However, some of this 1% will find that their muscles are severely damaged.

Leading to high CK levels and some even have Rhabdomyolisis

And they are bedbound and need constant care!

Taking those statins, I can honestly say, was THE biggest mistake of my life!

All the best for Mum!


Vickyvix in reply to Alpsholiday

I was absolutely fine on statins until I had to take antibiotics which I reacted badly to which I believe in turn caused me to react to the statin causing rhabdomyolysis luckily a good doctor put all the symptoms together so was diagnosed quite early was very ill in hospital for a week but I've made a full recovery. Was immediately taken off the statin.

Nothing wrong with taking then for most people, just be aware of the potential symptoms of the side effects and don't let it drop with your doctor if things don't seem right

LadyLaTiLa in reply to Vickyvix

I noticed on some antibiotics it says to stop taking statins while taking the antibiotics, the doctor rarely mention this, your pharmacist might if you get your other prescriptions there. Glad you had no long term affects.

Vickyvix in reply to LadyLaTiLa

The dr knew I was on statin when they prescribed the antibiotics. I'm not against statins but I would just say be careful and know yourself and report to your doctor if things don't feel right

Alpsholiday in reply to Vickyvix

Sorry to hear about antibiotics exarcebating the side effects of statins and progressing to Rhabdo, which can be a finisher.

I was certainly not aware of the antibiotics connection.

Who put you on the antibiotics? Suggest tell them that they likely gave you Rhabdo?

You were lucky to be diagnosed by a knowledgeable doctor and treated.

All the best!


Vickyvix in reply to Alpsholiday

It was just the local GP it's extremely rare for it to occur so i don't blame them. But it is now on my medical file that i have an extrem reaction to statins so I'm likely to never be put on them again. I did contact the other doctor who picked up the symptoms to say thank you. A similar thing happened to a friend's mom and she was in hospital for a month still taking her statin before it was diagnosed, they were worried that she might never be able to walk again due to the level of muscle damage. I kind of feel I got off lightly

Alpsholiday in reply to Vickyvix

Sorry to hear about your friend's mum's very bad experience

And they kept her on statins! in hospital!

When it's 100% to blame for a muscle condition that you didn't have before! How is she now?

In my case, Thinking that the reason for my 'slower' cycling was clogged thigh arteries, I asked my GP for a legs scan.

And was very surprised that it came back not only as All Clear, but also the news that my leg arteries were 'megallic' at 1 cm! the normal is 0.5 cm

So, thankfully, just my cardiac arteries were clogged up.

And still my GP didn't take me off the statins!

All the best!


Vickyvix in reply to Alpsholiday

It was many years ago she did recover but has since passed (none rhabdomyolysis related). Its got to be difficult, as each symptom on their own has a much more likely reason, sprained muscles etc it's not until you have a couple of symptoms and you specifically mention them in totality that it becomes clear. The dr who diagnosed me over a telephone consult said it's very unlikely to be rhabdomyolysis but that she wanted that ruled out and for me to get down A&E to get my urine and bloods checked. A&E weren't impressed and were almost reluctant and thought she was over reacting until my results came back with ck levels of around 80k (normal is below 200)

I'm sorry you had such a bad time on the statin. Have you been referred for physio. I pushed while in hospital and that really helped as I got specific exercises to re build my muscles back up and coping tips to help while they were still weak

I was prescribed Atorvastatin which I took for 4 months, the muscle ache was so severe, especially in my legs, that I could hardly walk, I told the Dr I was stopping them, took a couple of months before the aches mostly disappeared. I was asked to try another statin, which I refused, the GP has recently suggested them again, again I declined.

My attitude is, as someone who has always been into fitness and still is, I would rather live another 10 years doing what I love, than live another 20 years sat in front of the TV, unable to walk never mind exercise.

Hi gaz

Just read your 'My Story' just now

It's a miracle you're still here - amazing!

All good fortune to you from now on


Cheers Alps

I've been on 40mg Atorvastatin for about a year with no adverse effects.

No side effects for me at all- I’m on atorvastatin - I know someone who has had side effects with simvastatin - but I believe there are around 7 types so it may be trial & error!!

My experience is one of dose intolerance as opposed to outright intolerance. I take 40/80 atorvastatin on alternative days. In effect i can tokerate up to 60 mg of atorvastatin. I supplement with COQ10. Anything more and i have side effects.

Hi Daisydodah,

ANY drug can have a side effect on one person and not on another. Your mum could react to aspirin or bisoprolol- who knows until they have tried them.

The good definitely outweighs the bad, and if your mum does for some reason not react well, she CAN stop. Not taking them would be foolish. I have been taking them for 12 months now, I don't even know I am on them 🤗

I take the statins I've been prescribed and have had no side effects at all.

Hi, this is the first time I’ve replied or posted at all on this forum.

I, like your Mum, was reluctant to take statins. In March this year I had a major heart attack, was very lucky, straight into hospital and stent fitted within 2hours. Outcome very good and now on maximum dose of atorvastatin, along with many other meds(!), with no side effects.

But I now suffer dreadful anxiety and depression. If only I’d taken the statins for the last 15 years, this wouldn’t have happened and I’d still be going about my normal life quite happily. My cardiologist said if he had his way he’d put statins in the water like fluoride!

I’d say to your Mum, try the statins, there are many different ones, if one doesn’t suit her, try another. Even a few muscle aches must be better than being blue lighted into the CCU with a full blown heart attack!

Best of luck to your Mum.

I have taken statins for about 8 years at first I had aching joints for about a year but it gradually went away that's all I've been fine ever since ime on 80 g

I think you need to be very wary of a friend's experience. Best to start on the statins given medical advice then if there are side effects (listed in detail on the leaflets inside all tablet boxes) speak to pharmacist /GP.

I think everyone gets a review of the tablets they are on at certain stages. I certainly did.

I always follow the medical advice - they know more than I do. But I do log any issues eg what triggers my angina. So I can then discuss this with GP/nurse or modify my activities at certain times of day.

My surgery uses "Patient Access" app so when I order repeat prescription I can always leave a message of how I'm doing on the tablets too.

Good luck in pulling all this information together and helping your mum.

Like Alpsholiday, I'm a life-long cyclist, though not at the same speeds. After my double bypass just over a year ago, I started on 80mg Atorvastatin. My GP reduced it to 40mg after blood tests showed that my chloresterol levels were still fine on the lower dose. But I've had no problems and I've not considered stopping them. I'm probably fitter now than before my "incident", and I'm certainly 2 stones lighter.

I have asked doctor's to takE me off stati ns for years but they don't

The overall benefits of statins led to a serious discussion nearly 20 years ago as to whether they should be put in the water supply. In addition to lowering cholesterol they have a preventative effect for HA (plus others have mentioned conditions above)

Clinical trials identify side effects but a drug is licensed on the basis that the benefits outweigh these and are not common to everyone (could be 1 out of 1000s of people but will still be listed as a side effect) I took Simvistatin for 18 years at one point I started to have joint pain but started yoga and it went away so don’t think that was the drug. Now am on Atorvastatin as more effective at lower dosage (according to doc) and have not had any noticeable side effects.

My take would be that a) drugs wouldn’t be prescribed unless there was a good reason; b) we are all individuals and therefore many variables that may or may not lead to side effects; c) make sure you can attribute a side effect to the drug but if one statin doesn’t agree with you try a different one.

About half the people that have heart attacks have low cholesterol. It's no coincidence that statins use is on the rise as is Alzheimers, the brain thrives on cholesterol. As you age you need cholesterol in your body. Statins for me are a no no, I spoke about it with my doc and he was happy for me not to take them. The research now shows they do more harm than good, a small minority of people need them but most don't. Google cardiologist Azeem Malhotra and statins.

Beith in reply to Bicyclist

Thanks for the pointer to Dr Malhotra. Interesting ... but of course there are many opinions, even among cardiologists. Who is a lay person to believe? There are lots of videos of Dr Malhotra - here's a link to one I've viewed: 18 minutes in for his views on statins. One of the key points he is making is the need for more open and honest discussions with patients about risk - couldn't agree more; the challenge is that many patients don't want to hear that the doctor may not be able to offer you a 'cure'. He also says that risks are being misrepresented and points out the perils of confusing relative and absolute risk. My statin was recently increased from 20mg to 40mg; I know that muscle aches have increased and I am considering whether to go back to 20mg, in spite of the advice from the GP that I 'should' be on 80mg following a triple bypass last year.

Bicyclist in reply to Beith

Thanks Beith

My experiences (the shorthand version), I'm retired.

On atorvastatin for over a year, then the muscle pain started, particularly in my left calf muscle.

Talked to doctor, stopped statins entirely, pain went.

But it could be just caused by atorvastatin, so the went on to pravastatin

All OK for a while, but I started feeling different in my chest; it was slight, a tightness more than pain; it just didn't feel right. Cholesterol had risen, just a little, too, but not a lot to be concerning

Then that same leg pain returned

Conclusion with doctor, I cannot tolerate statins so put on Ezetimibe.

But this was far less effective as cholesterol not really lowered a lot (now >5) and niggly chest pains were still there. I still had a tightness that hadn't been there when on atorvastatin which had started when on pravastatin.

Then the calf muscle pain came back in spades - that wasn't meant to happen! So the pain isn't linked to statins; It cannot be as I haven't taken any for many weeks.

So back to the doc (a month ago now) as now it seemed there was no link between the calf muscle pain and my pills. It was a difficult discussion with the doctor as neither of us knew really what was going on. Effectively, the choice was mine, he would accept what I wanted to do.

Now, I must mention I had been reading about the problems with all statins all this time. I had also been following the discussions here that bubble up - it's a regular topic. So I know statins may not be trouble free in the long term. But I didn't like the way my chest felt; it was far too much like the period before I had stents.

I don't know yet if I have made the right decision, but I am back on atorvastatin (40mg) and my chest feels a lot better. The next cholesterol test will be interesting!!

The pain in my leg comes and goes - I now just try to ignore it. there are other things that might cause it - the exercises I do, for example; doc seems not too concerned now about it. I also know many people who are on statins and have been for years.

Statins aren't suitable for some, yes; I thought I was one of them, but it seems highly likely I actually wasn't. If I had rejected them without trying them, I would have to accept the consequences. But trying them and listening to what my body told me and continues to tell me has been my chosen path. Having a doc that listens is useful too. For me, taking statins hasn't been a once and for all decision; it isn't necessarily the final decision. I've wobbled on statins and come back.

I have also learnt that I cannot learn enough about medicine to necessarily be able to take a properly informed decision. I have also learnt that we all react differently to drugs; just because one person reacts badly, it doesn't mean I will; so I must listen to my body and medical opinion. I also know that I can challenge medical opinion if I want to, whenever I want to. (My issues are probably genetically based, but that is very recent information).

Beyond that, I have also discovered more about diet and exercise. Virtually all I eat is fresh, cooked in the kitchen. I watch my sugar intake like a hawk. I do cardiac exercises 2-3 times a week.

You can tell your Mum about all on this site and elsewhere, but it must be her decision about what to do. I suggest the best you can do is to ensure she feels informed as fully as possible, and then support her in that decision.

Good luck to all


Your mum could try statins & see how she gets on but something depends on her age & the starting dose. A lot of people after a heart episode are started on the maximum dose of 80 mg of Atorvastatin which can lead to problems - in my case a 'deranged liver'. Age comes into it since drugs are metabolised less easily the older we get & few have been tested on anyone over 65 - or women. So if your mother's doctor can avoid a one size fits all approach & start with a low dose would your mother reconsider for a trial period ?

And I'm sure the very commonly used Aspirin has killed at least one person but he cannot complain about them or try to ban them.

I had to take 3 types of statins until I found the right one. Atorvostatin seems to agree with me but even initially with this I had severe muscle pain, particularly in my neck and shoulders. This has now stopped and I feel ok now. Took a couple of months to bed in. I also take Q10 which seems to help. The Cardiologist recommended I take it.

Hi Daisydodah, I think your mother should try statins. It is correct that some people can’t tolerate them , myself included.There is a very small number of people who get these severe side effects. I was admitted to hospital with severe liver damage, I was immediately taken off them I had Rhabdomyolisis . My liver did recover.

I had been telling my GP that my arms and legs had been aching and painful, terrible night cramps. He did a blood test then admitted me to hospital. That was Atorvistain, he tried Simvastatin with the same side effects . After 6years with no statins my cholesterol was 6 . I had my second HA after 11 years . I am now on ezetimibe ( which was recommended by the cardiologist) it has taken a few weeks to bring my cholesterol to 4.4 , but I have no side effects and it’s not effecting my liver. Your mother should try them , if she has side effects ( she may not, lots don’t) she can change them or stop.

I hear people denying the side effects of statins , but believe for the small percentage people who get rhabdomyolisis the side effects are very real and dangerous .

I am 75 and have been taking Simvastatin for about 10 years now, I never had any problems with them. My sister who is 2 years younger than I am, can not tolerate any statins. I guess it`s trial and error (or not). x

I don't know why they get such bad press. Yes I had problems with the first ones but they were changed ( Plenty of alternatives ) and I have no problems at all with the second ones. I had a heart attack and two stents and have 2 more blockages not yet bad enough to stent so I know they are helping to keep me alive. My diabetic husband has high cholesterol and NEEDS to take them but won't because he had ONE that gave him leg pains. He's playing russian roulette with his life. Just because one person had problems or one type of tablet caused problems is no reason not to try them. The worst they can do is make someone ache so you simply get them changed but remember it does take up to a month to get the first one out of your system so improvements won't be instant. Sorry forgot that they can cause liver problems in a few people but you automatically get a blood test to check

I was put on max dose statins in April following a HA. I took them for 2 weeks and had to stop due to nerve pain. I have done a lot of research to find what else I can do instead, and my conclusion is that I will never take a statin again, but it's personal choice.

What I found:

Statins will reduce the risk of death from a heart event in 1% of people. This mechanism is due to its anti inflammatory effect.

You probably need to increase your HDL and decrease triglycerides. Statins will not help with this.

LDL is made up of regular LDL and small dense LDL. The regular LDL is good, the sdLDL is bad. Statins lower the regular LDL, they do not reduce sdLDL. sdLDL is reduced by increasing your HDL.

Statins increase your risk of developing diabetes by 12%.

Statins promote the calcification of arteries.

These is my own research. Don't take it at face value, but instead, start researching it and make your own choices. I hope that helps a little. At the moment I'm trying to convince my own parents.

Dovaston in reply to Supafil

Good to see a factual response Supafil 👍

Supafil in reply to Dovaston

Thanks Dovaston. I'm by no means a medical expert, but I do like to research and understand things in intricate detail.

Dovaston in reply to Supafil

Good for you I do the same as there are so many conflicting views surrounding statins and both sides believe they are in the right !

StupidDrugs in reply to Supafil

Good post Supafil! I would concur with the summary of your research.

I work in research and if I reported the results of my trials in the same manner some medical trials are reported I would be metaphorically put against a wall and shot. The standard of reporting is frankly appalling with the biggest issues, particularly with statins, being the use of relative risk being used to show supposed benefits and absolute risk being used to report claimed side-effects. In short, this makes benefits appear much better than they are and side-effects appear much less prevalent than they are. In reality, statins do appear to provide a benefit, but only for a tiny proportion of people (though this translates as many, many thousands when considered on a national population basis, i.e. they do appear to help save many lives). On the flip side, even when you consider that many people who suffer side-effects are wrongly eliminated from trials, the side-effects are much are higher than reported with muscle issues being the biggest definite problem (more side-effects do exist, particularly diabetes, but it is hard to pinpoint their source with absolute certainty).

What is rarely mentioned is that what type of heart disease you have is also a point to consider regards to any benefits they provide. For me, the 'benefit' of calcification and so-called stabilisation effects actually contributed to my heart attack. In 2016 I had ~40-50% blockages in three vessels and considerable atheroma, but no restrictive narrowing, in the middle of the RCA and LAD. Despite a healthy lifestyle, jump forward three years and the daily taking of Atorvastatin (with severe muscle and back issues) and then Rosuvastatin (with less muscle and no back issues but deep joint pain), my LAD (i.e., the widowmaker) had progressed to a 95% calcified blockage where the atheroma was and a 99% calcified blockage in the middle of the RCA were the other atheroma had been found - and consequently a heart attack! Notably, when the heart disease was found my cardiologist was vert confident that finding it early and getting me on BBs and statins meant that he "probably would not see me again for at least 10 years". Clearly he had/has more faith in the benefit of statins than I now have (based on my own experience and reading of dozens of peer-reviewed articles on their use/efficacy).

I still take them, reluctantly, but I am seriously considering stopping them. What you have to consider is whether you are likely to be part of the 1-2% who generally benefit from statins and are lucky enough to suffer any unwanted effects. If you are not able to live a healthy lifestyle and suffer no obvious effects, than they are probably worth taking. Otherwise, unless or until manufacturers start releasing trial results and report results in a vaguely objective manner, there is little evidence to suggest that their mass prescription is sensible. Indeed, half the issue with suitably determining their real value, which we all have a vested interest in, is the appalling level of mass prescription of these drugs to people who point-blank do not need them!

Supafil in reply to StupidDrugs

It sounds like you've had a very scary time. You seem a knowledgeable guy and I'd suggest that before giving them up, be sure you are certain you know what a healthy diet actually is, because I think there is a little more to it than 'Mediterranean'. I used to think I knew what a healthy diet was before I had a heart attack, but I was wrong. There are some doctors out there saying that by following a very specific diet which isn't too hard (and supplementing where necessary) they have seen patients reduce their coronary artery calcification. The diet we are advised to eat here in the UK from our National Health Service would never be able to achieve a reversal, in fact, I think it is positively harmful.

StupidDrugs in reply to Supafil

For me, one of the most infuriating things is the amount of conflicting stories on both sides of the debate, both of which have huge gaps in their very blunt recommendations. More annoyingly, the extreme arguments on both sides are usually made by people who are not on the end of their opinions and decision-making, i.e. people like us. I literally change my mind every week over whether I should continue with some of the more personally debilitating drugs or not.

I agree with your point on diet. I am an engineer but, up until this week, I have been working in the country's No. 1 food science research department and my colleague is one of the world's leading researchers on carbohydrates. Rightly or wrongly she will happily tell you that the diet prescribed by our government comes from select group of people and the methods they use for their recommendations lack any grounding in the real world or application of common sense in regards to being healthy (indeed, the last dietary guidelines included an increase in daily calorie 'needs' to reflect people getting fatter, i.e. current guidelines crazily support people becoming obese!!).

I think what is specifically missed in respect of the Mediterranean diet is the associated benefits of living in the Mediterranean, i.e. though it is healthier than eating junk food 24/7, you can't replicate the irrefutable health benefits of living in a beautiful part of the world with a glorious climate that facilitates a more outdoor lifestyle and generally laid back attitude to life.

There are some obvious and distinct heart related issues that absolutely benefit from the use of drugs and invasive procedures (I would be dead without some of these!). However, for someone like me who is largely asymptomatic and suffers drug side-effects, once my DAPT is over, my research and a discussion or two with colleagues in food and medical departments suggests my newly propped open arteries would benefit as much from consuming everything in moderation, being more active and, most importantly, avoiding stress, as they would taking BBs and statins.

As you say, its a personal decision and people have to do what they think is best for them. It is a shame, however, there is not more dependable and objective information out there, in an accessible form, that will allow people to make more informed decisions about their personal circumstances. I include a lot of medical professionals in this statement, i.e. the people most of us rely on to make decisions for us.

Dovaston in reply to StupidDrugs

Great informative post

I was given statins in hospital. Was given them to take at home. I kept fainting and ended up back in hospital. It turned out that the statins had destroyed part of my liver and l was taken off them immediately.

I had hepatitis but I will try again with a different statin when Covid dies down. I had Atorvastatin but there are plenty of other options.

If there is one thing I would do differently if I had the chance it would be to take statins rather than resist taking them. It was almost certainly a big mistake that I made.

Hi Daisydodah. Looks like you've plenty of advice on this already. I have been on 80mg of Atorvastatin plus other heart drugs for 7 years. I avoid reading all the scare stories and just get on with the treatment. Regular blood tests check on any liver issues. My plan to avoid any muscle issues was to keep exercising all my muscles and it seems to work. Swimming twice a week, Phase 4 Cardiac rehab group at the gym and Ramblers walks help me maintain the discipline. Reason I am on all of this was an MI (heart attack) followed by cardiac arrest, stenting and I was left with a form of heart failure. Like many men I rarely visited my doctor before this happened and on a rare visit 6 months before for various symptoms the doctor's famous last words were "we don't need to put you on any tablets yet". My heart attack was caused by progressive athlerosis showing no symptoms which statins could have reversed. I wish I'd started statins before this all happened. My sister with a totally different lifestyle had a heart attack 6 months after mine also caused by athlerosis. Our father and his 2 brothers died of heart attacks at a premature age. Tell your mum to get on with it before it's too late. My children have a note in their digital diaries to start having checks in their 50's. Don't forget to think about your future health as well.

I would not discount taking them as a smaller percentage of people have problems and there are great benefits to taking them. This is from someone who does have a problem with them. If you have a problem take this up with your doctor and they will perhaps try a different type or cut the dosage. Years ago I had Polymyalgia and I was fine on a statin for a couple of years before I had bad muscle and joint aches. It hit the same areas as I had when I had the Polymyalgia. I suspect this may have had a bearing on having the side effects. I’m now on a different statin which acts on the body in a different way. Unfortunately it’s not going well although not as badly as the first statin I was on and I’ll be contacting the doctor to discuss it soon after giving it another week. However at the back of my mind my father had 3 heart attacks from the age of 40 and eventually a bad stroke and he died aged 67. If a statin and the range of medications had been available after his first attack I wonder if things would have worked out much better for him. I’ve been diagnosed with angina 3 years ago with a couple of problem arteries and now 70 and had the benefit of the last 3 years on a statin which gave me great peace of mind given my family history. However the drugs I’m on enable me to have a normal lifestyle and I’m able to walk a few miles with no problems. I would recommend anyone I knew or loved to take them and not to assume the worst will apply to them.

StupidDrugs in reply to Cairny

For what it is worth, my outwardly healthy grandad had a massive heart attack at 42 and was told he had about six months to live and should get his affairs in order while he still had chance. He plodded along with little further care until dying at 75! His son, my outwardly healthy uncle, had his first heat attack at 42. He's had a quadruple bypass, numerous stents and, although still active, spent much of the last 25 years suffering from drug related health issues. Believe it or not, I had my heart attack at, yes, you guessed it, 42! By fluke, I was diagnosed as having heart disease at 38/39, was put on strong statins, and still had a heart attack. Three generations, three different care regimes, same result. I knew enough about the symptoms of a HA to probably get treatment quicker than my grandad and uncle, and hopefully have a better post-HA lifestyle, but it puts the treatment we each get into some personal perspective and maybe helps with your thoughts about your dad. That said, I lost my dad to a very nasty disease which could have been stopped with better/timely health care, so I appreciate it is hard not think about "what ifs".

Hi Daisydodah , I have taken statins - Astorvastatin for 10 years without any side effects whatsoever. I am 76 now and to be honest I think the positives in taking them, far far outweigh the negatives. If your Mums doctor is recommending them, do encourage her. Of course there will always be a patient who cannot tolerate them, but they are a highly effective drug.

After having 5 bypasses in 2013 i changed from Simva after 3 years and have been taking Atorvastatin for 4 years, no issues....however I am going in for 2 stents next week, not sure if statins have assisted or not in my case...

I've been on them for 3 years and I honestly think I don't have any side-effects. Your Mum's doctor will try a low dose first and then review.

Atorvastatin 40 mg for a year, so far no side effects at all, except a drop in cholesterol, mainly the bad type ! Like all medication no one size fits all but there are several types and if they are recommended then I guess you need to weigh up the alternative side effects of NOT taking them as well as those taking them. She could discuss the concerns with her GP but also take a look a the NHS website and NICE .

I have them on my repeat prescription even though I’ve told the doc that I won’t take them, and they aren’t bothered and never question me. One side affects enough for me ... Dementia

However if you watch Dr David Diamond on YouTube neither would most people.

Eat balanced eat well and excercise is a better prescription

I was prescribed statins a few years ago, high collesterol s m colestarol l but I had to stop taking them as they gave me really bad have heart valve problems. I

My doctor was keen to have me take statins when my blood pressure was high. I didn’t want to as I’d heard bad things.

Roll forward to June & my first cardiac arrest (they still don’t know why it happened), drugs but no statins. Then a heart attack in September brought on by damage to arteries from June’s CA & plaques in my arteries. Then on more drugs & statins. Then another CA in September & they threw their hands up at me.

Still on statins & nothing by way of side effects but very productive board meetings.

Good luck.

I have taken pravastatin for 9 years and not noticed any side effects. My mother, grandmother and great grandmother all died relatively young of heart attacks. All had raised blood pressure. My bad cholesterol levels were raised. I felt taking statins was a lower risk than not taking them.

It's a dilemma but if your mother's bad cholesterol levels are high - as opposed to the good cholesterol levels - then maybe give the statins a try. But have a good look at her blood test results first - the HDL/LDL /lipid levels. It's not just the overall number. I have a friend whose level is 9, but the good cholesterol level is brilliant so no statins for her! Also look at other risk factors, eg is her blood pressure high? Did she ever smoke? Did her parents have heart problems?

It depends on her attitude to risk. For me there's a small chance statins will help, so I take them. The side effects of statins are obvious aches, so if I ever experience them I will stop. I have yearly blood tests. But your mother's attitude to risk and her family history may be different.

Good luck!

Hi, I’ve been off statins for six months, partly because of lockdown. A recent blood test I managed to get via my GP revealed my LDL had gone up from well below 2 (where they like it to be) to 3.7. So have decided to try a lower dose of Atorvastatin to see if that reduces the side effects.

I have a genetic condition that leads to a high lp(a). My level means that I’m v high risk of HA. There is no treatment except to lower LDL as much as possible. I started out at the beginning of 2020 on Atorvastatin 20mg from the heart institute but it has been raised twice by the lipidologist to help reduce further risk of atherosclerosis. I’ve had to 2 stents after a CTO was discovered. I also take plant sterols and CoQ10. Heaven knows if it’s going to help but my mother had her first HA at 55 and died of another one at 63. She never saw her grandchildren. I intend to!

Hi, I have been on statins for over 20 years, i get muscle aches from time to time but could be from the cocktail of meds i'm on anyway. you just get used to that,at the end of the day they keep my cholesterol low and after heart attack in 1994 and 6 stents 2 year ago i wouldn't be without them.

I was was prescribed Simvastatin a few years ago when my cholesterol was 6.4. I suffered terribly with aching muscles and weakness in my legs. My GP agreed this was a side effect and I decided to try a healthy diet and just about all the plant sterol products. Six months later my readings hadn't changed. I decided to give statins another try and was prescribed Atorvastatin. I've had no side effects and my last blood test came back at 3.1.


Hi all, we're now closing this thread due to a rising amount of reports. Thanks all.

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