Prescribed with ATORVASTATIN


My GP prescribed me ATORVASTATIN 40MG 2 days ago as my Cholesterol level is 6 and risk factor is 11.5.

After reading the side effects of the statins I am really worried . I am 42 years old male.

Please advise.


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62 Replies

  • Not everyone gets side effects. My husband has been taking that same statin 40mg for some years, and recently I have started taking 20mg. So far no side effects.

  • Thanks

  • Most people get no side effects BUT some do and these last even after you stop taking statins. But why take them in the first place / anything they can do can be replicated by lifestyle changes

  • Paul this isn't strictly true unfortunately :(

  • No not true for everyone. I've made very good lifestyle changes, good diet, kept my weight low etc but have familial high cholesterol which has not decreased on its own. After a variety of cardio and calcium tests, I have been recommended a low dose statin + aspirin indefinitely.

  • Do you have any medium or high GI foods in your good diet? If so, you could consider going to a better diet and go keto with exercise at a low level utilising only triglicerides- ie long walk runs or bike rides at 180 less your age - pulse rate. I have now been on this for 4 months and it is making a bid difference.

  • You are right if you have familial, you need to get satins .. i think satin made for them others can control by diets and exercises, reducing or eliminating trans fats and Carbs

  • Not true--- excessive cholesterol is produced in the liver by some people. Certainly diet improvement and exercise can improve levels of blood sugar and reduce weight and perhaps LDL cholesterol ( if you are lucky) but this doesn't apply to everybody. Re exercise - I have run around 100 klms per month for the last 3 years - this level of vigorous exercise did nothing for my high cholesterol levels. A change of diet and a 5mg dose of Crestor has halved it.

  • Unless you know the VLDL your reduction means little. Diet makes you healthier. Running - arguably - does not plus statins reduce the positive effects of exercise

  • I have been taking Atorvastatin 20mg for some time now with no ill effects.

  • I took atorvastatin 10mg for two months it brought my cholestral right down fron 7 to 4.5 but stopped taking it due to muscle pains and funny head I'm already on letrozole for breast cancer and in agony with it so don't need anymore pain will let doc know when I go again

  • What are your following readings




    APO B

    APO A



    I coulkd go on. If you do not know what these levels are then you need to find out. In the meantime I would personally stop taking Statins they are long term damaging and as another poster commented, you can outperform statins in terms of heart benefits via natural means

  • How do you know your risk is quite low ?

  • That is the opinion of my cardiologist taken from an ECG, a CT scan of heart / arteries, and a calcification score of zero. The only questionable fact seems to be raised cholesterol which I alone was unable to reduce significantly . I am 65, have a careful diet, walk an hour a day, and BMI of 22.

  • Ellie why would you want to lower your cholesterol when all the evidence suggests that, especially in a woman over 40, higher cholesterol suggests a longer life. By attempting to reduce your cholesterol you are quite probably reducing your life span

  • Thanks for that info but if "all the evidence " says this, then why did both my mum and dad have high cholestrol and heart disease in their fifties ( which killed my father at 59) . I have had consultations with three doctors and two heart specialists and both have felt it would be wise for me to reduce it.

  • Hi Ellie

    I doubt that their cholesterol levels caused their heart disease as would many other doctors. You are walking evidence that cholesterol does not cause HD as you have had extensive checks and little or none appears to be present. I cannot speak for your parents but I believe that heart disease is caused primarily, but not exclusively, by our dreadful western diet. A diet centred around sugar and processed foods has led us down this path. Cholesterol only gets involved in the whole equation as a repair element within arteries. On the other hand we need cholesterol to help fight against disease generally and lowering it is why we find people live longer with higher cholesterol levels especially in your age range. My advice to friends and family is lower your glycemic load as much as possible. Give up bread and pasta, if that is difficult switch to a lower glycemic bread. Increase fruit and veg intake and increase fish consumption and lower meat consumption unless you are eating pure grass fed forms.

  • I have just read your brief bio Elli and had to chip in on weight loss. I was 14st and within 4 months returned to my 20 year old weight of 11st 7lbs (I am now 60). This happened without a single calorie count nor was I really trying to lose weight. I simply ate as much as I wanted but only REAL food and no simple carb's. It was a real eye opener and confirmed what I had read in the scientific literature that weight loss is about what you eat and not how much. When you eat real food the how much takes care of itself

  • Yes you're right about diet and I have made significant changes in the past few years, but not so good for fity years, so previous bad habits had presumably already had an effect on my system. Apologies, but I just realise I omitted to say at the beginning that angina symptoms took me to the doc in the first place.... and although tests indicate nothing major is wrong, lowering cholestrol was deemed to be a sensible precaution

  • I fail to see how lowering cholesterol can help with Angina, if I was you I would change doctors.

  • It was angina "symptoms" that led me to see doctor, after two separate incidents in Aug /Sept of severe shortness of breath. I was consequently referred to hospital Cardio unit for further investigation, several tests etc. Unstable angina was suspected by the cardio unit (but not confirmed) and I was referred further to a consultant and subsequent CT Scan. While waiting for that ( one month) I was given a low dose beta blocker.

    Eventually had the scan and result showed no blockage, just some minor calcification.

    In the three months since my first app I'd had no further breathing issues or other symptoms of angina.

    However in the 3 blood tests over the 3 months my cholestrol was high 7.5 , and its for that reason consultant wrote to my GP recommending a statin .

    Since then, thankfully no further sign of possible angina . And its still early days with the statin , will give it three months.

    Thank you for your input.

  • I was 7.5 and after two months on 10mg atvorstatin came down to 4 but I was so weak on them so come off them and take my chances I was on simvastatin for a few months came off them in 2009 my choice and have been fine had breast cancer in 2010 so makes you think

  • Useful feedback thankyou.

  • My understanding is that Angina is caused by narrowing of a heart artery which is caused by an accumulation of plaque which is turn is caused by a number of things, one of which is cholesterol. They don't really know the complete reason as to why plaque forms - but having high LDL doesn't help ! :)

  • In which case Ellie should have lots of plaque but it appears she does not. As you can probably tell I dont buy this idea that cholesterol causes plaque or at least that we should be focusing on cholesterol to lower risk in the way that the industry wants us to.To me it is sad that people are lowering their cholesterol and then thinking job done, when in actual fact their arteries are receiving the very same onslaught pre lowering. Look to the populations that do not get heart disease, are they statin deficient ?, do they have LDL's at below 2 mmol ?. No they dont which gives us the clue that LDL levels are not the best indicators. Even voices in the profession admit that LDL is not the best predictor.

  • Elle has no calcified plaque - but she does have Angina and could have a minor blockage somewhere causing her pain. My understanding is that stress test, etc only show up large blockages ie over 70% of main arterials. LDL is only one factor but commonly it is the only one that Doctors have to work with. Some people will simply NOT change their lifestyle - while others have no other risk factors at all apart from family history and high cholesterol. This latter appears to be Elle's situation. - my situation is basically no risk factors at all except for high levels of cholesterol for decades and high level of arterial calcification. If you have any intervention suggestions for me other than taking a low dose statin and a baby aspirin, I would be pleased to hear it - no further esoteric blood "tests" are going to be of any assistance to me :(

  • There are a host of trials on supplements that show better results than Statins and although combining them does not mean you can add up the % benefits, it is likely that combinations will be greater than the individual parts. This swedish trial using Coq10 and selenium produced better results than can on average be hoped for with Statins

    Combine this with a Med' diet (shown to outperform statins) and you should be ahead of the drugs.

    There was also a novel study done on the stability of plaque comparing Portugese with Swedes and the Portugese had far more stable plaque which had constituents associated with fish consumption.

  • Chris Masterjohn gives an excellent account of the role of LDL in plaque and how oxidised LDL rather than simply how much LDL is the cause.

  • Plaques are formed by inflammation which is patched up with damaged cholesterol and then calcified to firm it up. Calcification also occurs due to statins.

    A new finding was published in March 2015, and it is not yet widely known.

    Research published in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology revealed that, in contrast to the current belief that cholesterol reduction with statins decreases atherosclerosis, the drugs may instead actually stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure.

    There were several physiological mechanisms discussed in the study that show how statin drugs may make your heart health worse, one being that they inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 protects your arteries from calcification. Without it, plaque levels worsen.

    Vitamin K2's biological role is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also plays a role in removing calcium from areas where it shouldn't be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.

    According to a 2009 Dutch study, vitamin K2 is associated with reduced vascular calcification even at small dietary intakes.

    Statin drugs inhibit the function of vitamin K2 in your body, which means taking them may put you at risk of vitamin K2 deficiency, a condition known to contribute to a number of chronic diseases, including:


    Heart disease

    Heart attack and stroke

    Inappropriate calcification, from heel spurs to kidney stones

    Brain disease


  • if you are taking statins, try to get CoCq10 supplements as well

  • Hear hear!

  • Possibly this woman is an example of why some of us prefer to be safe than sorry, although I admit that I would question the benefits if the side effects caused me problems

  • I fail to see why anyone would take Statins when there are a host of more effective and natural alternatives that do not cause side effects. One possible side effect of statin use is dementia. People who fall foul of this are not really in a position to come off the statin and reverse the dementia damage

  • familial cholesterolemia is a genetic condition that can not be controlled by own . these people needs satins as their bolies produce excessive cholesterol can be drained out by body itself.

    Normal people with elevated cholesterol can control through diets , exercises and supplements

  • One of the good things about a calcium scan is that they can reveal that a person with low risk factors (including cholesterol) can indeed need intervention -- BUT it can also show that a person with high risk factors (including cholesterol) does NOT need intervention - in your case at your age having a calcium score of zero would indicate to me that you have no need for statins?? You should discuss this aspect with your Doctor. At my age , a calcium score of over 600 meant that I definitely needed intervention!! :(

  • Thanks Bazza1234

  • Thanks Bazza1234 , it was you who spoke about calcium testing some months ago I didn't know then that I'd be getting one.

    I think maybe my outcome is partly down to the medics way of assessing risk factor - my family history and unexplained angina-like symptoms of last summer, plus my cholestrol level, have probably distorted my diagnosis, even though the calcium score was zero. Either that, or is mine a case whereby my expensive (to Nhs) consultant couldn't send me away with no real diagnosis, so recommended statin rather than nothing!!?

    I will review things with GP at the 3 month cholestrol meeting. Thank you

  • Hi, What are you lipid numbers?

    80 % of cholesterol is made by body on demand and 20% from what goes into our mouth.

    My GP wanted me on statin I refused and asked for 12-lead stress test an and an echo cardiogram test, this was five years ago, my question to the cardiologist was, any damage to the heart and do I need to go on statin, the answer to both questions were no.

    I am continuing with my life style change at 70 and only time will tell.

  • I had a printout of the readings , which I admit I haven't memorised ( ha, memory loss?) , but I'm actually away on holiday at the moment. .... will look into this when Im back. Signing off now until then but thanks for your interest.:)

  • My understanding of 12 lead stress test and echocardiograms is that they only show up advanced stages of arterial blockage - eg 70% blockage and above. BUT - we can have a minor blockage eg 30% which does not cause much stenosis ( narrowing of the artery) but which can rupture and cause instant death. This is why people have successful stress tests and have been known to have a heart attack on the next day.

  • Most of what we read is just theory --- it is not until they cut up a corpse can they really see what has happened - and even then they can only guess what caused it. Lots of "associations" - like a study has shown that drinking milk is associated with death. All subjects of the long survey who drank milk eventually died!! :) So - anyway, it is claimed that statins have other good effects related to arterial plaque. I believe that the medicos think that there are a number of good reasons why statins should be taken. Perhaps that is why you have been prescribed then even though you appear to have zero calcification - and hence next to zero plaque???

  • I don't know doctor just said cholestral was 7

  • I think it's important to be aware of your own body, start to take the tablets, hopefully you will feel no side effects but if you do go back to your gp and they can try you on another type. Everyone seems to react differently and hopefully you will find one that works for you. Good luck - I know it's daunting, I'm the same age and only at the beginning of my journey too x

  • Thanks for the advise of all of you .

  • Good luck, keep us posted :)

  • Good luck cogent . So sorry my original post ended up highjacking your thread! It's obviously a complex subject and we each just have to weigh up the range of info available.😊

  • I was on Atorvastatin for about 15 years, my memory was getting worse and had various aches and pains, since I have given them up the side effects have either gone or got to an acceptable level. (I am one of the lucky ones) Instead I now eat a LCHF diet I no longer eat vegetable oils and eat butter and eggs, I have lost about 10kg so far and am feeling good for it. If you look on the internet there is some very interesting information, for instance the Lipitor advert states in the small print that in a large clinical trial 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking lipitor. (there was a 1.1% reduction which as a relative figure is stated as 36% - 3/1.1) Framingham showed their was no relation of cholesterol levels to cholesterol consumed, also I have seen no correlation between lowering cholesterol and better outcomes. If you look at the ONS statistics on all cause morbidity and morbidity as a result of CVD it has been declining over the years, probably due to the reduction in smoking in the population. If one looks at the number of prescriptions for statins, if lowering cholesterol was an effective treatment one would expect a change of gradient proportional to the number of prescriptions, There is however no proportional change in gradient (I personally can see no change at all)

    There are some very interesting youtube lectures by Ken Sikaris and many others which inform that it is damaged cholesterol (by means of oxidation and/or glycation that forms plaques).

  • Been taking them for over 5 years with no problems.

  • I have been taking 20mg atorvastatin after I had a cardiac stent fitted in 2013 my cholesterol was 7.4 in 2012 and the statin as of 2016 brought it down to 3.4 given my health problems 40mg seems like a rather excessive dose unless there ore other underlying health issues. I suggest you talk to the British Heart Foundation details can be found on this link

    I would also suggest you discuss the matter with your G.P and if you have not already done so make the necessary life style changes. As for side effects I have not had any yet.

  • Unit of medication ( 40mg not 40MG).!

    you GP has your medical records therefore you need to discuss all the three blood tests, blood cholesterol, BP and blood cholesterol.

    You total cholesterol is 6, did your GP offer to discuss life style change or to see a food specialist?

    You can control all your blood test numbers by healthy eating and regular exercise. Food and rinks intake control, watching out for hidden and free sugar, portion size and not having full meals. Try this, this may work.

  • Thanks for the advise again. I am feeling that I am not alone now .

  • My GP said the the government guidelines about cholesterol level has changed recently that's why if you risk factor is above 10 then you should take statins and change of lifestyle recommended.

  • WHO, NHS guide lines are man made for so many reasons. It is your body.

    You need to look after your body.

    There are two rick calculators, QRISK and JBS2, man made calculators.

    Statin as a primary medication is what the NHS wants. You can do your own research and make a decision on any medication!

  • What is your height, weight and waist circumference?

    What is your BP and resting heart rate?

    Statins are last resort meds while you begin lifestyle modification.

    Read all of my posts:

  • Try eating the right food there so much out there that gets your colestrol down Benacol Krill oil google What helps bring Colestrol down ...your be surprise

  • Having had a stent fitted in my heart with a cholesterol reading of 6 I was put on the same, i.e. 40mg which was increased to 80 mg, 2 years later my reading is 3 and no side effects,

    I know probably 50 people on statins all with no side effects, they only ones I know with issues are the few unlucky ones on here, and some issues may actually be caused by other things, such as age related wear, if you can quickly lower your readings by a major lifestyle and diet regime, then do it, if not take the statins and stop worrying

  • The debate raging in reply to this post can be settled with science. As human beings we have the tendency to utilize heuristics or mental shortcuts to understand complex subjects. It is the tool nature gave us to cope when we are overloaded with information and need to make a life-saving decision.

    The answer to this debate is this - there are several different 'genotypes' - genetically determined physiological pre-disposition to diet, exercise and other environmental factors. This is why medicines impact some people one way while others have a different physiological response.

    60% of the population has normal cholesterol production that can be controlled through diet and exercise, but the remainder have genes that will not respond to lifestyle modification.

    Read more about this here:

    There is also the issue of stress - stress causes physiological responses that can manifest in disease. So even those who have the genotype that is responsive to lifestyle changes, may be negatively impacted in their atherogenetic predisposition due to life stressors.

    So while we all want to help people who seek help on this forum, the answers are not simple.

    Everyone must test lifestyle changes and their impact on their cholesterol levels. Where this doesn't work, I'm afraid only statins can help this group.

  • I would love to be blessed with a cholesterol reading of 6. At the worst mine has been 12.1 and latterly 10.6 and with niacin I have managed to get it down to 8.8 in less than one month with only extremely moderate lifestyle changes.

    Because of my high numbers (I have FH), I was put on 40mg Simvastatin and had a bad reaction. So I have tried about six different ones, going down to a really small dosage and still had problems, mainly joints hurting. Simvastatin had me losing hair, my balance, I now have tinnitus (the balance problem and tinnitus haven't gone away even after 8 years) and in pain with the leg cramps. I vowed never to touch another statin as long as I live. I've tried bezofibrates, ezetimibe and omacor, and all of them gave me side effects of one kind or another. Niacin is working nicely and has other benefits besides.

  • I know one chap who swears by these drugs after suffering a heart attack. My brother on the other hand had developed fibrosis of the lungs and it has messed his life up beyond repair. I also have a raised level of cholesterol of 6.3 and my doctor wants me to start taking statins, but there is no way I shall do that. There are other ways to control your cholesterol levels and maybe you would like to visit, as they have some better ideas than statins in my opinion. Good luck.

  • Hi Cogent my cholestrol was 11 over 30 years ago taking statins gets it down but the last few years muscle pain was to much I stopped taking them and pain stopped I watch what I eat I take Benacol Plant Sterols and Krill oil and Vitimins I refused to take so many STATINS so recently I'm on ONE a week ROSUVASTATIN 5mg and 2 per week EZETIMIBE 10mg I got my cholestrol down myself to 6 .5 before taking them again I can't see such a low dose working can't wait for next months hospital appointment to see results I'm 80 next year .

  • Neither your doctor nor anyone else knows what you cholesterol level ought to be; cholesterol is an important component of the blood acting as a repair mechanism on the site of any injury. Rather than go into a long description I would recommend that you read what a heart surgeon says when he admits to having been wrong over 25 years. Go to:

    There are also a couple of articles about Statins on the same web site which you can read at: There is an update at: And finally not wishing to give you indigestion on the subject if anyone suggest that you lower your saturated fat intake have a look at:

    Make no mistake about it, in my view the Statin drug is only of good for one thing and that is the profit made by the pharmaceutical companies.

    Now to blood pressure whch is better controlled by increasing your intake of water. A litre bottle with about ¼ teaspoon of salt added (you shouldn't be able to taste it) drunk every day over a period of time will help. The drugs can have unexpected side-effects. Have a look at:

    In all you should watch your intake of sugar not from fruit but in cakes etc.

    I am sorry to have given you so much to read but if you understand a condition you will know how to treat it without recourse to a doctor.

    I wouldn't go within 100 miles of Statins and told my doctor so and why; she diidn't reply!

    Best of luck. Tibbly

  • 'The Great Cholesterol Con.' By Dr. Malcolm Kendrick. I recommend this book, but his website has all the information too. I had side effects of statins and stopped taking them 12 months ago after reading this and much more. Side effects went. My cholesterol did shoot up again briefly, but then I started eating low carb, high fat and now it's gone down to an acceptable level. Too high for some doctors but all evidence shows low cholesterol levels cause majority of deaths in total, including heart disease and stroke. It's obviously your choice, but read all the evidence so you can make an informed choice. I've never felt better! I lost 32llbs eating like this too! is a great site too. Good luck!

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