Thursday, October 18, 2012

Off the Statins


I've spent the last two weeks trying to figure out why my chest muscles are sore. I stopped exercising my upper body at the first sign of soreness  A few days ago the muscles in my shoulder and middle back started to hurt to the point where I had to take hydrocodone to be able to sleep. Then like a hammer over the head I remembered "duh, muscle soreness and pain are a common side effect of taking statins to reduce cholesterol".  I don't do we'll with drugs, my liver enzymes are way up with statins. I started a generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) 10mg about three weeks ago, the combination of muscle pain and my liver getting zapped is enough, I'm done with statins. My cholesterol was already in a good range and I know I can make some simple modifications to my diet to lower it naturally. Bottom line, after 30 days I'm now off the stuff.
If not monitored statin caused muscle pain can become a dangerous although rare condition known as Rahbdomyolysis where the muscles disintegrate sloughing off myoglobin from the muscle cells overloading the kidneys and causing them to shut down. I've collected a wealth of information via the Internet, an article by Stephanie Seneff  at MIT sums it up pretty well.
My next step is to find a general care cardiologist who is not accepting too many free lunches form drug reps and has a more integrative approach to heart health. My current cardiologist does research for drug companies (need I say more?) time to move on.

UPDATE 10/22/12
I've been off Statins now for 6 days. That is more then enough time to recover from exerciser induced muscle soreness but from what I'm finding recovering time for Statin induced muscle damage ranges from 1 month to 7 months with the average recovery time 2.3 months. A paper my a group of MD's "Outcomes in 45 Patients With Statin-Associated Myopathy" covers the topic pretty well. Once the decision is made to go off of a Statin drug it can take up to 3 weeks to clear your system. Recovery time for muscle damage is a matter of patience.

As with any drug the risks versus benefits of taking a Statin must be weighted. There is a wealth of information on the subject of Statins and muscle pain. To start off, here again are the links to two papers that will provide information on Statin induced muscle damage. Although they may get a little technical they're generally easy to follow. Use them to help guide you when asking your doctor questions.
1. Statins and Myoglobin by Stephanie Seneff
2. Outcomes in 45 Patients With Statin-Associated Myopathy

4 comments:

  1. Good--sounds like you are aware of the need to take charge of your own health, vs. accepting blindly what doctors say without fact checking. I was deceived and cheated by a doctor once; never again.

    I have enjoyed your blog for quite a while. Each day I "trot" our border collie Gracie 3.5 miles attached to my bicycle at about 5-6 mph after a .67 mile walk. Usually, I also tow her behind my recumbent tricycle in a trailer about 10 miles per day -- she loves to ride and provides more exercise for me.

    Keep on triking!

    Charles in Idaho

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    1. Charles, I get a lot of joy out of towing ma doggie, she's great company. I have it on my To Do List to some day come up your way and check out the Couer D'Alene trail.

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    2. Mark:

      You might wish to check the trike forum at bentrideronline.com--click the "Message Boards" link in the upper right corner and navigate to it from there. There is an annual ride event on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes called "TaterTOT" ("TOT" = "Trikes On the Trail"). In 2011, we had over 100 trikes and velomobiles on the trail. You can read about the 2012 TaterTOT by using the search function in the forum. I believe the Trail has its own web site at friendsofcdatrails.org/CdA_Trail/index.html

      The Trail of the CDA's is wide and paved; it is gently sloping as it was a railway. In 2011, I was able to photograph moose twice from the Trail.
      You will love it.

      Charles

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    3. Charles,
      The pics and vids on BROL inspired me to put the Coeur d'Alene on my to do list. Next year might me the year to get my rear end up to Idaho. It would be fun to ride with a large group of like minded pedal pushers. I'll keep an eye out for the next TaterTOT.
      Mark

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