Statin Side Effects: Weigh The Benefits And Risks

Mayo Clinic
Oct. 30, 2008

Because of their effectiveness, statins are often prescribed for people with high cholesterol to lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. Most people who are prescribed statins will take them for the rest of their lives, which can make statin side effects difficult to manage.

For some people, statin side effects can make it seem like the benefit of taking a statin isn’t worth it. Before you decide to stop taking a statin, discover how statin side effects can be reduced.

What are statin side effects?

Muscle pain
The most common statin side effect is muscle pain. You may feel this pain as a soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles. The pain can be a mild discomfort, or it can be severe enough to make your daily activities difficult. For example, you might find climbing stairs or walking to be uncomfortable or tiring.

Very rarely, statins can cause life-threatening muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis (about one case for every 15 million prescriptions). Rhabdomyolysis can cause liver damage, kidney failure and death. Rhabdomyolysis can occur when statins are used in combination with certain other drugs. More…

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