Is Atorvastatin causing my anxiety? - Cholesterol Support

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Is Atorvastatin causing my anxiety?


Hi, I was happily on Simvastatin for years, then my GP changed me to Atorvastatin because a blood test showed that my cholesterol was high. A few weeks after starting the Atorvastatin I developed horrible anxiety, bad dreams and my husband says I spend all night jumping around and twitching (no wonder I wake up exhausted!). I've also been suffering from excessive sweating first thing in the morning. Atorvastatin does list depression, nervousness and bad dreams as being extremely rare side effects. I'm also aware that mental health issues, for all sorts of reasons, are extremely common and I don't want to come off my statins unnecessarily. Has anyone else suffered anxiety/depression etc as a result of Atorvastatin and, if so what should I do? Should I half my dose from 20mg to 10mg to see what happens. Would be really grateful for some advice/reassurance if anyone can offer any. Thanks.

44 Replies

Have been reading through your posts on Thyroid UK and can see that your Ferritin was not optimal. Am wondering if that has improved - which in turn would improve the conversion of T4 into T3. Low T3 could be behind the raised cholesterol. I would lower your statin dose and ask your GP to show you the research that indicates statins benefit women. There is none. The brain NEEDS cholesterol and blocking it is not a good idea ... Cholesterol does not cause heart disease ...

Judthepud in reply to Marz

Been suffering from anxiety since the beginning of the year and thought it was due to my thyroid meds which had been increased around about the same time that I went on Atorvastatin. When I asked if this could be causing my anxiety/depression, my doctor said no. So I took her word for it and have been playing about with my Levothyroxine all year. Thyroid function has been within normal range for a while now, but the anxiety/depression is still there.

It was only today that I started googling Atorvastatin, and it would seem that, although not common, it can cause anxiety etc. Should I half my dose to see what happens, and do you know how long it will take for me to be able to judge if the anxiety is due to Atorvastatin (how long will it take for the drug to reduce in my system)?

Have you heard of anyone else having side effects like this?

Thanks for your help.

Marz in reply to Judthepud

We are two hours ahead here in Crete so will reply in the morning. 😊

Marz in reply to Marz

I am sure someone will be along soon with more knowledge about statins than I have. I have not read anything about statins causing low mood and anxiety. Albeit your brain needs cholesterol so blocking it is not a good idea.

Statins also block CoQ10 - which is needed in every cell of the body acting as a spark for energy. Also VitK2 uses the same pathway as CoQ10 . K2 needed to direct calcium out of the arteries and into bones and teeth. Low Iron could be causing your restlessness and of course statins affect muscles. I would also test VitD and Calcium. I once read Dr Myhill saying that a statin worked like VitD 'anti-inflammatory ...

How do your last thyroid results look ? Where is the FT3 ? Is your TSH 1 or under ? FT4 & FT3 towards top of the range ? Do you have Hashimotos ?

Raised cholesterol can be linked to low T3 ... years ago people with raised cholesterol had their thyroids treated. 😊

EDIT : Looking at your thyroid results on another thread - it would appear others also mention the T3 could be better. Raising Ferritin may help with the conversion of T4 into the Active T3 ...

sos007Ambassador in reply to Marz

FYI, the brain produces its own cholesterol and statin-induced cholesterol suppression in the bloodstream does not impact the brain. The blood-brain barrier prevents brain-cells from taking up cholesterol from the blood.

Hypothyroidism is often caused from a lack of exercise and excessive sugar and simple carbohydrates in the diet.

Genetically-caused hypothyroidism tends to be exaggerated by the medical community. Front-line doctors tend to have severe time limitations with patients so they generally don't pursue the 'why' when they identify a condition, they just merely try and treat the acute condition.

Marz in reply to sos007

Thank you ... I will take a look at brains again ! Yes but it seems statins can penetrate the blood brain barrier - see link below ...

The biggest cause of Hypothyroidism is Hashimotos - so nothing to do with lack of exercise and sugar consumption in my opinion. It is an auto-immune issue. I have Hashimotos - Crohns and a B12 issue due to gut surgery removing the Terminal Ileum. Have never taken sugar - was at County Trials level for Tennis - Hockey and Swimming and still at 72 swim a kilometer a day in the summer months. I also teach yoga twice a week having started to teach at 65. I have been a member of the Thyroid UK Forum here on HU where I have learned a great deal. You may wish to pop there and read the posts by diogenes - an Independant Analyst involved in Thyroid Research - and view the research papers he has been involved with explaining more than you may have read about the thyroid ! My diet has always been one of prepared from scratch - and in my house growing up the pantry was larger than the kitchen - with preserves of our home-grown produce lining the shelves. The only container/product that had a label was the Tin of Curry Powder. If it didn't grow in the garden then there was not a lot to eat. We had chickens and pigs - ducks and geese. i guess I am only as healthy as I am due to a strong foundation and now I live in Crete it is still the same. Hubby shops and I chop - and chop - and chop !!

My problems began in my early teens with a BCG vaccination - and then went on to have Ileo-caecal TB at 27. Ummm ! Rather unfortunate but after six months in hospital and five surgical interventions - I pulled through .... You can read my Bio if you wish to know the Edited version of my journey.

As you are so well informed you may know or remember - that before Thyroid Testing became the norm in the early 70's - anyone with raised cholesterol had their thyroids treated :-) With 89K plus members on Thyroid UK here on HU there is a wealth of information from a broad spectrum of folk. Maybe you should run your ideas past them all in a Post ... it would be interesting to read the Replies :-)

Judthepud in reply to Marz

Thanks Marz, the Psychology Today link is very interesting

sos007Ambassador in reply to Marz

While the article you linked to clearly states 'statins penetrate the blood-brain barrier' - the author of the article is a trained psychiatrist and dietitian, not a lipidologist who specializes in the field of cholesterol and how lipids function within the body.

Thomas Dayspring, MD and Peter Attia, MD are doctors who have studied this issue in great detail and differ with the opinion of the Psychiatrist who authored the article that you linked to.

I understand that there is such a thing as professional differences of opinion but the penetration of the blood-brain barrier sounds too much like science and less like editorial opinion.

For now, I will accept the views of Thomas Dayspring who has spent 3 decades studying this subject and teaching it to other doctors.

Nonetheless, it is always interesting to see other view if only to see how complex these subjects are and to realize that we cannot accept everyone who has a credential and writes an article on the internet as the gospel truth.

I just finished listening to a 7-hour podcast that examined lipidology in great detail and if you are interested you can listen to it here:

sos007Ambassador in reply to Marz

While in your specific case an inflammatory diet may not be the cause or catalyst in autoimmune disease, in general, it is a plausible source of risk.

The cause of hypothyroidism, is a complex field of study and, as in all medicine, there is an evolution of understanding.

Accepting auto-immune diseases as entirely genetically-predetermined eliminates the possibility of environmental (i.e. dietary and lifestyle behaviours) factors.

As you know from your own life-experience, diet and lifestyle do in fact impact our health. There is a field of study called 'epigenetics' which has determined that even genetically biased conditions can be offset by diet and lifestyle choices.

It is more than just home-made food, which is wonderful, it is also the avoidance of insulin response triggered by the ongoing consumption of simple carbohydrate foods, including sugar. Cow dairy and the consumption of animal proteins from industrial farms may also trigger an inflammatory response by the body.

I have indeed taken time to read about the thyroid function and have learned that a lack of exercise and increased consumption of sugar and simple carbs do indeed slow your metabolism and function of your thyroid.

As noted, we are constantly learning. Here's an interesting excerpt from a dietitian and link to her article:

Role of Inflammation

"A hot topic on the autoimmune disease front is the role that chronic inflammation—present in many autoimmune diseases—plays in its development. In rheumatoid arthritis, the damage to tissues is caused by an inflammatory reaction to the presence of antigens. Which brings to mind the old “chicken and the egg” question: Which comes first, inflammation or autoimmunity? “In rheumatoid arthritis, is it caused by inflammation and autoimmune disease comes secondarily, or is it caused by autoimmunity? The evidence is unclear,” says Noel R. Rose, MD, PhD, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology and director of the Johns Hopkins Autoimmune Disease Research Center.

According to researchers, examples of autoimmune disease exist in the absence of overt inflammation and inflammation exists in the absence of autoimmunity. “Most autoimmune diseases aren’t caused by inflammation, although many autoimmune diseases cause inflammation,” Rose explains. “Some inflammatory processes may enhance the possibility of autoimmune disease in individuals with a genetic predisposition. Having inflammation may raise the likelihood of a subclinical autoimmune response reaching clinical thresholds. For example, this may occur in thyroiditis. We know that inflammation is caused by the same mediators often involved in the autoimmune process.”


In summary, we can only control our behaviour, not our genetics, so it is logical to focus our efforts on diet and lifestyle behaviour. If it helps to alleviate the autoimmune responses, great, if not, then at least you are minimizing the risk of developing other chronic illnesses.

Please do not view this post as a criticism but just a further discussion to enhance our learning in general.

I enjoy the discourse and hope to learn from others such as yourself.

I wish you and all on this forum 'good health'.

P.S. I'm a Greek national living in Canada and envy your choice to live in Crete - its a beautiful place as is the rest of Greece which I visited this past summer.

'στην υγεία σου!'

Judthepud in reply to sos007

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I agree that it's important to remain skepical about much of what is published and I thank you for your input. All the best to you too :-)

Marz in reply to sos007

I have read before that you are Greek living in Canada in another of your posts - I also recognise the Greek style !! Yes I am well aware and have read loads and loads of books/articles about inflammation and auto-immunity ( although my markers are very low ) - however as mentioned my issues began AFTER the BCG Vaccine for TB. So although I believe in the total lifestyle to keep well - I also believe in the damaging effects of vaccines and am well read on that too ! I was diagnosed with Crohns after the TB at 27 - and having had endless surgeries for Crohns - mostly with complications - I have found wellness without medications for 45 years. So I must be doing something right ! I won't bore you with my healthy way of eating !

Regarding your put down that the article I posted was not from a credible source - I would like to mention that his information must have come from a source - he didn't dream it.

I also understand that Greek seem to have a pre-disposition to thyroid issues ! There's a lot of it about ... ;-) - but from what you are saying it is all down to the baclava :-)

Londinium in reply to Marz

Marz, it might be best to ignore those who constantly lecture that the fault is with our "lifestyle". With regard vaccines, will such people also allege that the side-effects are our fault too? 🤔 Strewth. 🙄

Anyway, Marz, here's yesterday's C4 News for you.

Marz in reply to Londinium

Poor man. He could also be Hypo and if it's Hashimotos then it could have made him more susceptible to vaccine contents. Just saying ...

Londinium in reply to Marz

If he was ok before that vaccine, he certainly wasn't after that vaccine. 🤔

Marz in reply to Londinium

..... yes but having one condition could weaken your resistance due to a compromised immune system busily working elsewhere !

Londinium in reply to Marz

The stuff that's in those vaccines is of concern. People assume that vaccines contain only good stuff. 🙄

Judthepud in reply to sos007

sos007, does FY1 mean your a recently qualified doctor of medicine? Although the blood brain barrier prevents cholesterol from the blood being taken up, I understand that that all statins cross the blood brain barrier, to a greater or lesser extent, which reduces the cholesterol levels produced by the brain. See link

sos007Ambassador in reply to Judthepud

Judthepud - are you a qualified doctor? Read my response to Marz above.

Judthepud in reply to sos007

No, I'm a nurse

Londinium in reply to Marz

Hi Marz, re your comment: "I have not read anything about statins causing low mood and anxiety" - yes, statins are known to be able to cause an array of physical/mental/emotional issues. You can do a word search on SpaceDoc.


Londinium in reply to Judthepud

Statins are known to cause all sorts of negative side-effects.

Bet117 in reply to Marz


Thanks for the great insight.

Last blood work via my GP showed Ferritin, and all iron related very normal. CBC all well normal.

My TSH and T3 were absolutely normal; best in months. However my T4 elevated to slightly above normal. At present, she is not concerned and is monitoring.

I have been off all statins for a year now and feel so much better.

My Triglycerides and HDL are perfect, however my stubborn LDL is 1 point from high normal.

She and my nephrologist have me on 1400mg of plant sterols and 1200mg of Lecithin along with my vegetarian diet to reduce that cholesterol.

I have also added in a tad of smoked salmon two or 3 times per week to raise my albumin and sodium levels.

I see my nephrologist in March and GP is running labs in late April.

Any thoughts?



Marz in reply to Bet117

Hi Bet - I have been a member on Thyroid UK - here on HealthUnlocked - for over seven years. You can click onto my name above and read my Bio - doesn't take long !

There are over 94,000 members and some very knowledgeable folk. One thing we always say is - normal/fine/OK is not a result but an opinion ! What are the actual results with ranges ? Do you have Hashimotos ? You are only over-medicated if the FT3 is over range. How is your B12 - Folate & VitD ? How much Levo are you taking ?

I once read that in Eastern Medicine the kidney and thyroid are on the same meridian ... The nodes on my kidneys match those on my thyroid 😊

Come and join us on Thyroid UK. Am afraid I am not knowledgeable about albumin and sodium but there will be others who will help.

Speak soon ..

Bet117 in reply to Marz

Hi Marz,

Thank you so much for your kind words and immediate response.

I will read your bio as suggested and look into the thyroid community as you suggested.

In response to your questions.; yes I do have Hashimotos Disease, and take. .112mg of Synthroid. I take 1 tablet 6 days per week and 1.5 tablets on Sunday. I was also diagnosed with Membraneous Nephropathy in 2017, where I am considered in the smoldering level.

After a horrid experience with statins and refusal to investigate a sudden rise in my TSH to substantially above normal, combined with unprofessional demeanor from my endocrinologist of 14 years and I parted company in September.

My GP is very thorough and willing to consult, so I decided to let her cover the thyroid.

From memory, my TSH and T3 levels are dead center of the norms, but my T4 went slightly above the high end of normal this past test, which will be repeated in 3 months.

I have no nodes on either my thyroid or kidneys.

My B12, Ferritin, Folate and D3 levels are also dead center range.

I can get back to you in a private message.

My blood albumin level is slightly low as I am a vegetarian and sodium as well as I am very mindful of my sodium consumption.

Both my GP and nephrologist attribute the albumin and sodium to I am very contentious.

My new nephrologist reviewed my diet with me and was pleased. He advised the adding of Chia Seeds daily and fish once per month at least to my diet. A tad of smoked salmon every few days would work with the albumin and sodium levels which I have done.

I see him in March and will have labs completed prior to my appointment, so we will see.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Hope to speak soon!

Again, thanks!


I've had side affects been on Atorvastatin around 4 years and in similar state to yourself lowered my dose recently and told I'm alright to take it every other day ?!! Keep on at your Doctor ! !

Judthepud in reply to Madamh

Thanks for your reply Madamh. Have your side effects reduced since reducing your dose and, if so, how long did this take. Also, how's your cholesterol on the lower dose?

I was diagnosed with FH and put on 40 mg atora , almost lost the plot !! Had crippling anxiety for weeks ended up counselling/therapy. Had a break from statins and it got better not instantly though , now on rosuva lower dose wuth ezitimbe and everything is rosey :-)

I know how you feel about atorvastatin, I was taking them for 3 years and I felt horrible the worst pain for me was stomach pains, after speaking to a different doctor at my surgery who knew all about statins, she did not like them if they weren’t required, I decided to do something about it, I’d lost the weight I had to about 4 stone and I agreed to another blood test which came back satisfactory for cholesterol, she was happy for me to come off them after agreeing to have another test in 12 months, if I had not talked to her I would still be talking them as the other doctor and nurses said I would have to be on them for life. I now feel great no pains and I think my brain is more alert, I’m 65 year old and eat what I want within reason and go for walks to keep weight down.

Judthepud in reply to Tasv33r

Thanks for your reply :-) Good luck with everything.

Consult with your doctor who prescribed it.


Statins can indeed cause anxiety. Brand and dosage both play a role.

Your optimal solution is a dietary and lifestyle modification in order to reduce the symptoms (elevated cholesterol) of coronary artery disease.

However, an important point to remember is that the treatment target for the medical industry, LDL-C, is a crude bio-marker.

The state of the art bio-marker is LDL-P (Particle number). I strongly suggest that you get your LDL-P measured or its surrogate, Apo B.

Until you do so, see your doctor about a lower dosage and different brand of statin and combine it with ezitimibe. This approach with a low dose statin combined with ezitimibe has proven to be just as effective at lowering LDL-C as higher dosing with a statin alone.

If you don't want to experience the side-effects of medications than you must commit to dietary and lifestyle modification.

Start by eliminating all sugars and packaged foods from your diet. Avoid fruit juices and severely restrict alcohol consumption. Try and walk daily and build up to one hour per day if possible.

Good luck.

For what it's worth I have been on atorvastatin, 20mg, for many years and have had no real adverse effects. I had a diagnosis of anxiety very many years ago, long before needing to go onto atorvastatin, I have not found atorvastatin to make any difference to my anxiety condition whether I'm on or off my anxiety drugs. I do think you should be very careful when reading so many comments covering such a range of information and the advise they contain. However, I do know the mg a person takes, particularly say 40 or 80mg, can occasionally cause some outbreaks of blood leakage from small capillaries. This is the only slight adverse effect I've ever had. Good luck.

Judthepud in reply to sargrith

Thanks for that sargrith. I'm aware that most people probably do take Atorvastatin without any adverse effects and I know that anxiety, low mood etc are very uncommon side effects, but they are nevertheless a problem for some people. I'm only on 20mg, but the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety (panic, shaking, sweating, loss of appetite, weight loss) kicked in within a few weeks of starting Atorvastatin. Prior to that I was on Simvastatin without any problem, except that my cholesterol was still on the high side.

I've now been off Atorvastatin for two days and I feel slightly better. Obviously it's early days, and this improvement might be psychological. I'm thinking of cutting down to a tablet every other day, or possibly going back on Simvastatin, because the change in my cholesterol levels are negligible. Different medications affect everyone differently, it's all very complex. I agree that you have to be skeptical about some of the stuff that you read and thank you for your comments.

sargrith in reply to Judthepud

Hi Judthepud Why did you change to Atorvastatin if being on Simvastatin was giving reasonable cholesterol reading. Did your doctor say whether your level without statins were particularly high. I think it is possible to make too much of cholesterol readings. It's what the state of your arteries that counts, as I believe the effect of cholesterol varies greatly from one person to another. I have always been told that ideal total readings should be: Total reading 5.9; LDL3.7; HDL 1.52. With this last HDL reading anything above 1 is good as it is cholesterol being taken for discharging out of the body. Whereas LDL the lower the reading the better as too much not required by the body cells remain in the blood and can build up in the arteries. I expect you know much of this but no harm done if you don't. Keep positive, I've always done that, even with my occasional severe anxiety and have always enjoyed my life overall Bye

This is interesting to me as I also have Hashimoto and recently prescribed atorvastatin at 80mg. In common with others chest pain, breathlessness, angiogram, angioplasty (1 stent) and a cocktail of drugs.

I have always had raised cholesterol 6.3 to most recently 7.9 and also struggled with thyroid levels particularly T3 and thought it was symptomatic of that.... My journey through this cardiac episode has been swift and now 2- 3 weeks in from starting atorvastatin I can’t sleep. Again initially thought anxiety or other meds but it seems Atorvastatin has got form.

In desperation I decided to miss one dose I usually take it 10 pm and I slept 😴 Back on the tablet the next night and insomnia again - not tormented but unsettled and unable to sleep, then I fill ill the next day before we start the whole cycle gain.

My inflammation level was raised (cRP) but not picked up , I get the whole inflammation and cholesterol response but I can’t start trying to analyse the detail of the whole for and against statin treatment. My instinct is not to take them but I’m too new and levels too raised to be able to cut it out completely.

I see GP on Monday and so hopeful she will acknowledge it’s the drug and not me - I really, really can’t stand this sleeplessness

No sleeplessness is awful. Poor you. Maybe ask to try a different statin because they all presumably work slightly differently, I was fine on Simvastatin. When I first developed anxiety I mentioned it to my cardiologist who quickly glanced through a list a of side effects and said that anxiety wasn't on the list. I took her word for it and suffered for months (playing around with my levothyroxine thinking it was probably due to over-medication with that). Then I came across an article citing anxiety and depression as a side effect of atorvastatin (and probably other statins too in some people). I cut out my atorvastatin last Monday, but I'll need to go back to my GP to discuss coz my cholesterol was 7.7 before I went on simvastatin. They do say that hypothyroid raises cholesterol. Unfortunately GPs are quitel cynical about patients who present with uncommon side effects and want to try different approaches. Good luck and keep in touch to let me know how you're doing :-)

Find this so interesting.Not your side effects.🙈

Must read it all with interest .

I have just requested my GP to increase from 10-20 mg Simvastatin following MOT/ cholestrol LDL 2.0 ish result.

Changed to LiptorAtorvastatin 20 mg and found out from the chemist I could take this one at any time of the day , but just stick to evening after meal.

My GP assessed my risk of heart attack as 25% but mainly due to my age 75.I started running 10 months ago and I am flying.My mind is blown with the medical research and how wonderful our bodies are at accelerating repairs through running , abdominal breathing, modest fasting etc.

In fact 1 hour of running is 7 hours of life. What is not to like.🤔

Not trying to promote or influence you to run , but please google, “Get Fit in 6 mins “ just for the medical facts/understanding and mitochondria renewal/ VO2 max/menopause, and more.

I can run everyday and 50-60 km a week, and have a reasonable diet and very little alcohol.So I think I cannot do very much more.Sleep better, hydration better , everything really.Running also lifts the mood and can be life itself.We were born to run.🤔

I am attending my GP to change my Chlopidogrel also.All to reduce my risk.

Will not bore you with medical history but suffice to say incurred some losses on the way.Some sight, some hearing.

I am not a medic,a retired chartered mechanical engineer.I rightly or wrongly take the simplistic view, that if this reduces my risk and I can cope taking the meds, then that’s what I will do.

It is a huge drain on limited resources to get all the correct tests and apply all the leading edge research.Can be very confusing to a lay person and who knows what is for the best.🤔

We are all responsible for ourselves and hopefully the professionals can assist us make the best decisions.

Take care of you and I will observe and read thoroughly and try and understand the advice given with lots of interest.

Atb with your choices.Take good care of you.🌟👏👏

Our situations are all uniquely different also.💥👏👏

Judthepud in reply to Tbae

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and wise response.

Tbae in reply to Judthepud

Our choices are not easy.🤔

But whatever you do enjoy it all.

Our bodies are amazing pieces of kit to do as we wish.

Brillantly so clever,so do not worry, be kind to yourself, and always believe you will amaze yourself.

Visit other communities of HealthUnlocked.🤔

Take care of you.🌟👏👏💥

Tbae in reply to Judthepud

I am a week in changing over from same as you and a modest 🤔

10 to 20mg increase in dosage.

Getting modest headaches and constipation as highlighted in paperwork.

I will just need to stick with it for a little while, first 28 days.

I now question when I was first put on statins years ago for life, why my logic lowered to 10 mg from starting with 20mg and now I really should be on 80mg.

Only reassurance is that apparently my readings have been fairly stable which may mean a further build up of plaque has been minimal.🤔

Hope you are coping and getting the answers you need.


Judthepud in reply to Tbae

Good luck to you. Hope your side effects fizzle out soon. They usually do after a while. You're probably right to give it 28 days.

Another bit of anecdotal info, from my experience. I started after a stroke in my 30s - no cause ever found, cholesterol no worse than expected for my age (if I remember right) plus Type 1 diabetes since childhood. I wasn't well enough for a long time to read research, let alone understand it.

My cholesterol has always hovered around 5.5 ish. Maybe around 6, sometimes in the past - this is from memory and being tested yearly or more all my life (because diabetic).

After seven years I saw a different GP (at the same practice) who said that the cholesterol hadn't changed in the last 12 months which showed that the statin wasn't working, so changed me to Atorvastatin. At follow-up a few weeks later, I said I thought I was less clear-headed, but couldn't be sure as I also have some cognitive problems and fatigue, from the stroke and from fibromyalgia - a few weeks worse could have been the usual fluctuation of these symptoms, normal for me. He said come back after a few more weeks.

After a few more weeks, I was too fuzzy-headed to remember about going back. Too fuzzy-headed to make the appointment in the first place, or get there on the right day. Definitely wasn't seeing that this was getting worse beyond doubt, and to see that it had been many weeks.

Now, I had brain fog anyway, fatigue anyway, etc. I also had tendon problems in my hands from years earlier. This got worse gradually - with hindsight, it got worse FAST when on Atorvastatin.

At the time I didn't see any pattern, the overall picture of getting consistently worse. In summary, I lost a year of my life to Atorvastatin. It was so gradual, but within months I couldn't function, was barely managing to keep enough food in. I was as confused and forgetful as in the early days after the stroke. My hands got so bad that I couldn't use scissors, couldn't slice cheese, without extreme pain. I just thought it was the old problems getting worse with age, didn't see the "overview".

Eventually by chance I found a list of side effects of statins, and realised that lots of things had got worse all together over the same period (hands and thinking being the worst), I called the GP and was told to come off the Atorvastatin immediately and have blood tests. Low ferritin showed up which was more urgent; the doctor said we'd find a statin that suited me after dealing the anaemia, but she forgot me! And I didn't remind her! No way am I ever going on a statin again.

What concerns me is that I was foggy and achy for so long, and put it down to the stroke. And to being less active because I was weak, making me ache. What if it had been the statins all along and not the stroke? How much sooner would I have regained my independence?

How many older people are put on statins and the effects are vague, and mild (to begin with at least), and gradual, and they put it all down to ageing and never notice that it goes with the statins...?

PS. I've noticed that when my iron is low, I get jittery - if I start waking in the night frightened and worried, unable to get back to sleep, I now know it's an indication that I need to up my iron intake. It works every time. (And there I was thinking it was just about having too much on my plate to deal with this year. ;) ) It's interesting to see that anxiety is a known effect of low iron.

Judthepud in reply to muddlemand

I feel as though I too have lost almost a year of my life to Atorvastatin. It took around three months after starting the Atorvastatin for extreme anxiety to kick in. It happened really suddenly and for no apparent reason, but it was crippling. I thought it was coz I was over-medicated on Levothyroxine for my thyroid and have spent months playing around with my dose of Levothyroxine to no avail. I've been off Atorvastatin now for 11 days, and I'm feeling much more clear headed and I think my anxiety has gone!! I spoke to a pharmacist over the phone who said that anxiety and depression are not side effects of Atorvastatin, or if they are the frequency is unknown. However, confusion is listed as a side effect, and if Atorvastatin can cause confusion, I would have thought it could also cause anxiety in some people (the two conditions aren't a million miles apart).

Thanks for your tip about iron, maybe I should have that checked. Thanks and good luck with your health issues

muddlemand in reply to Judthepud

Your thinking makes sense about confusion and anxiety, they're sort of out of "the same stable", aren't they. Glad you're off the statin now!

It's odd about things that aren't "known" side effects. I once searched on anaemia and statins - people all over the internet asking if statins can cause anaemia, and getting the answer, there's no known link. But so many with the same question, makes you wonder.

Oh, another thought - my first thought (usually) if people are waking in the wee small hours and feeling anxious, is low blood sugars. A tip is to have a small slow-acting carb snack at bedtime, say a piece of fruit or toast. Worth a try, and if it helps you've solved the question. :)

Blood sugars naturally hit their lowest levels around 2-3am in "normal" people (I'm not normal, I'm diabetic! lol) - the circadian pattern. One symptom of hypoglycaemia is anxiety/panic (clammy skin is another which I imagine would worsen anxiety if it's already there). Because I'm type 1 diabetic I could check my sugars and when it wasn't that, I realised it's the iron - in my case. I suspect that any "lack" may give similar symptoms. Just a theory of my own but its a thought. :)

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