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Statins can cause muscle damage

I know a lot of people that take statins. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world!

The side effects from taking statins include muscle aches and pain. A small study has shown that muscle pain may be causing structural damage to muscles, even long after the patients stopped taking statins.

The researchers stressed that those not experiencing pain should continue taking the medicine. However, if you do have muscle pain you may want to discuss this study with your doctor.

The statins and muscle study

Study aim: Many patients who take statins complain of muscle pain and weakness. The researchers wanted to find out if the muscle pain reflected muscle injury.

What they did: The researchers took a biopsy or sample of leg muscle tissue from 83 patients. Of the group:

  • 44 took statins and had serious and persistent muscle pain.
  • 19 took statins and had no pain.
  • 20 did not take statins nor have pain.

What they found: The biopsies showed that 25 of the 44 patients taking statins with muscle pain had muscle damage, which was defined as injury to 2% or more of the muscle. They also found that patients showed signs of muscle injury even after they’d stopped taking statins for 3 weeks.

The conclusions

Currently, patients who have muscle pain when taking statins have their creatine phosphokinase (CPK), levels measured. If CPK in the blood is high it can mean the enzyme is leaking out of the muscle cells, indicating muscle damage.

This study showed that CPK levels do not need to be high for there to be muscle damage. Persistent muscle pain in those taking statins reflects muscle damage. Normal CPK levels does not mean that a person is not suffering muscle injury.

The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Note: This article is a study review and not intended to offer medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your medications.

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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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