Ethics in Medicine

Do Statins Make It Tough to Exercise?: More Statin Problems

Kristen Sparrow • March 14, 2012

To be tossed into the “First Do No Harm” file. I don’t know what to make of the rat study, but it still amazes me that statins are the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. I’ve discussed some of the problems with statins, diabetes risk here, cognition problems here, and here. Link to the article if you are on statins, or know someone who is.

March 14, 2012, 12:01 am
Do Statins Make It Tough to Exercise?

For years, physicians and scientists have been aware that statins, the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, can cause muscle aches and fatigue in some patients. What many people don’t know is that these side effects are especially pronounced in people who exercise.

To learn more about the effect statins have on exercising muscles, scientists in Strasbourg, France, recently gave the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to a group of rats for two weeks, while a separate control group was not medicated. Some of the rats from both groups ran on little treadmills until they were exhausted.

It was immediately obvious that the medicated animals couldn’t run as far. They became exhausted much earlier than the rats that had not been given statins…

Statins’ safety has come under considerable scrutiny in recent weeks. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration added safety alerts to prescribing information for statins, warning of risks for memory loss and diabetes, as well as muscle pain.

More than 20 million Americans are taking statins, and by most estimates, at least 10 percent of them will experience some degree of muscle achiness or fatigue. That proportion rises to at least 25 percent among people taking statins who regularly exercise, and may be 75 percent or higher among competitive athletes…

“Statins are anti-aging for arteries,” he says. “If you take them, you’ll have younger arteries. Unfortunately,” he adds, “they are not anti-aging for muscles.”

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