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Why your statin may not be causing your muscle pain

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Many people stop their statin due to statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS). However, the statin may not be the cause.

Read to learn what other medical conditions or medications could be contributing to the muscle pain.

Statins are the preferred class of medications to treat high LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol).

  1. Lovastatin (Mevacor)

  2. Pravastatin (Pravachol)

  3. Simvastatin (Zocor)

  4. Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

  5. Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

  6. Pitavastatin (Livalo)

  7. Fluvastatin (Lescol)

Decreasing LDL-cholesterol is necessary to prevent heart attack and stroke. Both events can cause death.

Statins are effective, safe, and prolong life.

"The prevalence of SAMS is estimated to be about 10% (range 5% to 25%), but more than 80% of cases are not caused by the statin." – National Lipid Association

If the statin is not the cause, what could it be?

Risk factors for developing SAMS:

  • Older age

  • Female sex

  • Asian ethnicity

  • Low body weight

Medical conditions that can increase the risk of SAMS

  • Hypothyroidism, including post-treatment of hyperthyroidism

  • Vitamin D deficiency

  • Musculoskeletal disease

  • Immunologic disease

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Organ or electrolyte dysfunction

What else can contribute to muscle pain?

  • New exercise routine

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Alcohol use

  • Cocaine and other stimulants

Medications that contribute to muscle pain

  • Fibrates (especially gemfibrozil)

  • Colchicine

  • Immunosuppressants

  • Antiarrhythmics

  • Antivirals

  • Antibiotics

  • Antifungals

  • Antiseizures

  • Other drugs that prevent statins from being cleared from the body

Did you know that changes in your DNA can also affect how well your statin works?

A variation in the SLCO1B1 gene can make it more difficult for you body to move the statin from your blood stream and into the liver, where it works to decrease your high cholesterol. If the statin doesn't get in the liver, it will remain in your bloodstream and can build up. This could also contribute to muscle symptoms.

The only way to know if you have a variation in this gene is with a DNA test.

Click the button below to book a call and talk with our pharmacist. Let's meet and see how your genetics may affect your response to medications.



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