©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

High Cholesterol: Medications to Lower

Question:

Please describe your experience with cholesterol lowering medications. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: s. magus, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 09

I used to take rosuvastatin for a year to lower my cholesterol, when I was in my mid-forties. I would get out of bed in the morning and the pain in my ankles would be unbearable, at least for the first couple of minutes. My fingers also felt too weak to turn the key in the lock. I stopped taking the medicine and the pains gradually disappeared. But, ten years on, those same pains visit me when I go running. I get awful soreness in my ankles from very moderate jogging that no amount of rest can prevent from returning.

Comment from: MsMiracle63, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

I have recently started atorvastatin for lowering my cholesterol and I've been having left facial twitches. Wonder if this could be a side effect. Thank you.

Comment from: Boone, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 02

I was on 10 mg atorvastatin for a number of years without any serious problems. When my cholesterol numbers eventually went up, my general physician suggested upping the dose to 20 mg. This apparently triggered or caused polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR); very bad large joint and muscle pain. I could barely walk. I was prescribed low dose prednisone. No one suggested PMR was caused by the increased dose. Took a year to realize this (via online research). I am going back to 10 mg to see if that works.

Comment from: BG, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 12

Shortly after starting atorvastatin 10 mg for lowering my cholesterol, I began experiencing constipation. I could only eliminate once a week with the help of over-the-counter medicines, teas or suppositories. Even then it was difficult. Not hard stools mind you, just not able to go. My doctor told me to eat prunes. I do, and a full fiber healthy diet, plus water and lots of exercise. I have lost a significant amount of weight recently through diet and decided to stop my statin. Bowel habits returned to normal in one week.

Comment from: Still hurting , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 07

I was put on medicines to lower my cholesterol. I took it for 6 months and the pain in my legs became so severe I was using a cane and walker. It has been 18 months since I took any statins and I am still in severe pain. I have seen 5 different doctors who say the pain goes away once you stop the drug so the pain I am experiencing is not from the statins. I don’t believe that. I am still searching for help to stop the pain.

Comment from: Dan, 65-74 (Patient) Published: January 28

I take 25 mg of atorvastatin for lowering my cholesterol. I have been on it for approximately 4 years. The last 18 to 24 months I’ve noticed forgetfulness, muscle soreness (legs), and some confusion. Research has found these symptoms can come from its use.

Comment from: Jars, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 12

I was on 20 mg of atorvastatin to lower my cholesterol, for 6 weeks. I had horrible leg pain and cramps in my legs and feet. Also, I developed tingling and numbness in both feet. I stopped taking the medicines and within 10 days, all of my symptoms were gone and I felt normal again.

Comment from: Gerldine, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 10

The general physician insisted that I take statins to lower my cholesterol. About 2 weeks after starting statins I began to faint without any warning, and with no aura. It always happened early morning and often I fell hitting my head and cutting it open. I had emergency admissions to Accident and Emergency with very low blood pressure. No cause was ever found and I was sent home. After about 6 months of this I was sent to see a geriatric specialist who listened carefully to what I had to say. He said to stop taking the statins which I did. I have never fainted since.

Comment from: Suze, 65-74 (Patient) Published: December 03

I started taking pravastatin at the beginning of November to lower my cholesterol. I was fine at first, then after about 10 days, my left leg and foot became unbearably sore. The sole of my foot is very painful, feels swollen and I am having trouble walking any distance without limping. When I mentioned it to the nurse, she prescribed rosuvastatin 5 mg, but am very wary about starting any further statin medication.

Comment from: thepixinator , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 03

I’ve only been on 20 mg pravastatin a week to lower my cholesterol and my legs are so weak I went to the emergency room today. The doctor told me to stop taking it and talk to my general physician about it this week. I was terrified and I’m still scared I might have permanent damage from it.

QUESTION

What is cholesterol? See Answer
Comment from: Mindtrekker , 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 14

I stopped taking pravastatin cold turkey. Haven’t felt better in years! Depression and general tiredness gone. Statins are garbage!

Comment from: Hoser, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 14

I took simvastatin for three years, for lowering my cholesterol. First was right rotator cuff pain. Doctor suggested surgery. Next left rotator cuff pain. And tennis elbow in both. Then, I found that I needed help getting up off the ground. Next came suggested carpal tunnel surgery on all ten fingers, due to extreme pain. I couldn’t hold onto anything. Almost ruined my construction career. Investigated statins and immediately quit. It took 30 days, but have been pain free for four years now. No, no, no to statins!

Comment from: Zanza, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 01

I took statins for years to lower my cholesterol, because my doctor said my cholesterol was too high. I started feeling sick, muscle pain, mental confusion, and the doctor said it was because I was middle-aged, overweight, female, and I was in menopause. I felt like my body was crumbling away in great pain. I told him how I was feeling, and I trusted him. Not once did he consider that the statin was causing my symptoms. I stopped the statin when I read research about terrible side effects and now I feel much better.

Comment from: Chris, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 27

I have been on atorvastatin for lowering my cholesterol, for nearly two months. I had to go on a lower dose as it was affecting my asthma. The last few days my feet feel like the soles have been beaten and it is agony to walk. I'm coming off these statins as they are ruining my quality of life!

Comment from: Jay, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 24

I have been on Lipitor for lowering my cholesterol, between 30 and 40 years. I developed pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, nerve and muscle pain, aggression, depression, anxiety, skin lesions, COPD, and extreme brain-fog. Doctors prescribed medicines for all symptoms never once mentioning Lipitor. Finally I had an episode where I thought I was dying, and quit all medicines. I still have serious brain-fog after 2 weeks cold-turkey. In my opinion it’s pure poison! I imagine many auto accidents, heavy equipment and public transportation are at risk!

Comment from: Madame Louie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 24

I have tried 4 different statins for lowering my cholesterol. The muscle weakness is real. Doctors don't want to listen to your experience. I've had hot flashes with sweats, trouble swallowing, weakness in muscles, muscles that bounce, and loss of memory. I'm working on my diet and exploring other options for high LDL levels. I'm 70 and not willing the go through life half alive.

Comment from: Some Guy in Atlanta, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

My doctor started me on 40 mg of atorvastatin. My LDL cholesterol is 123 and we want it to be under 100. I have not been able to consistently take the prescribed dose for more than a week because of the side effects. I've experienced almost everything listed as 'the most common.' At first glance, they don't sound like a big deal. Well, they are. The worse being muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. I feel like the walking dead on this medicine. No more. I'll take my chances.

Comment from: Marg, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I have extreme fatigue and joint pain after taking cholesterol lowering medications.

Comment from: Kate , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I am 53 years old and have been prescribed Crestor to lower my high cholesterol. I have never been the same since taking them. I’m on 20 mg which is double the dose of others I know taking it. I’ve been told from friends and family that I’m always angry and snappy and that my personality has changed. I also feel very angry and depressed all day every day. I’m losing my family and friends; they want to keep their distance from me because I say harsh things and hurt their feelings.

Comment from: DK, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 03

I just started simvastatin 10 mg tablets for lowering my cholesterol. I wake up every morning with migraine headaches so bad that I have to take a pill for that now. Wondering if it is because it's such a new medicine that my body needs to get used to that, and hope they will go away soon.

SLIDESHOW

Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Heart See Slideshow
Comment from: bjdm829, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I've been on atorvastatin for years for lowering cholesterol and about 3 weeks ago went off to see if my muscle pain decreased. I've been having intermittent chest pains now during that time, but didn't realize it was related until I looked it up on the internet. It said not to ever go off without help of a physician because withdrawal can cause heart problems. Now I've started it again but not sure if it will stop the pains. Be careful going off them!

Comment from: Reva, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I'm on cholesterol lowering medications for my small vessels in my brain from years of smoking and aspirin. I'm telling my doctor no more, I can't do anything because it makes me feel that bad! I have dizziness, feeling of passing out spells; it is just awful.

Comment from: Laurel, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I was put on 3 different statins for lowering cholesterol and they made my face and foot numb so I stopped taking them for a while. Then a recent trip to the doctors and I was recommended to go on them again. I was given a new one, ezetimibe, and 5 months later I had numb foot, muscle pain in neck and hands, and stabbing pain in my thigh, always in the same place. I went to the doctor, came off the tablets had tests. My creatine levels are high and more tests to go, but I won’t use them again. I am heading to a dietician. I still have numbness and leg pain after 2 weeks of it.

Comment from: One, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 16

I woke up one day in extreme leg and arm pain. It literally was overnight. I went from walking multiple city blocks to not being able to walk at all. The pain was horrible, and my muscles also twitched. My body felt as if it was shutting off. I was told I developed chronic fatigue but my gut kept telling me it was the pravastatin that I was taking for lowering my cholesterol. I stopped taking it after consulting my doctor. My cardiologist knew nothing about the side effects. I am now fine. No pain.

Comment from: KK , 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 06

I take Crestor 10 mg for primary prevention of hypercholesterolemia. Myalgia, mild liver transaminitis both resulted on halving the dose. Mood symptoms became progressively debilitating: waves of anxiety, loss of interest in hobbies, some paranoia and significant nightmares. Stopping medication to see if things improve.

Comment from: Vic M, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 24

I have had excessive sweating from the base of spine since taking atorvastatin for lowering cholesterol. All strong antiperspirants tried with no result, even one from the doctor.

Comment from: Vulpine, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

I started taking Livalo a few days ago for lowering my cholesterol and now I can’t sleep at night and can’t stay awake during the day. I am bone tired. Wondering if anyone else had this problem, and if so, how long it lasted.

Comment from: Michelle H., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

My doctor prescribed simvastatin for my cholesterol. I took it for about 45 days and started having terrible muscle pain through my whole body. She took me off it and didn’t prescribe another one. She said if you have bad effects from one type of statin, then you will have them from the others. So no statins for me, period.

Comment from: Statin-pain, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 15

I've been on statins for almost 20 years for lowering my cholesterol. First Zocor and then Lipitor when I joined Pfizer and got them for free (8 years ago). After 20 years I found that I was taking longer and longer to recover from my runs, injuries initially masked the increased muscle pain and weakness I was having. So I stopped exercising, I even stopped stretching, because I thought I was causing the pain. The pain continued. I stopped taking statins, and within 2 weeks the pain and weakness was gone.

Comment from: Cinewriter, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 09

I took 5 mg of Crestor for a month to lower cholesterol, noticed weird pain in my thighs, and quit immediately. I took a very low dose, for only four weeks. The pain increased until it was in my wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, and knees; basically my entire body. The pain was so intense it woke me up every night. I have seen three rheumatologists, been on a steroids (tapered off) and now take meloxicam. I have severe low back pain, and a herniated disc in my neck. I was healthy until I took those statins. Beware!

Comment from: Wally, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 17

I was put on Crestor for 14 years to lower my cholesterol and experienced aches in my legs. Eight years ago my knees started hurting and I was told I had osteoporosis and arthritis. Five weeks ago I had to undergo a total knee replacement and will need to replace the other knee as well. I believe that Crestor caused the deterioration of my knee cartilage. I’m 63 and the problem started in my 50s. Nobody else in my family has had this problem. The only difference was I was put on Crestor, a muscle soluble statin.

Comment from: GioC0064, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 05

I have had numerous issues with statins for lowering cholesterol, I am currently trying my 5th one, Livalo. I was taking two 2 mg pills per week as my doctor was trying to wean me on, then increased to 3 per week. That’s when the house caved in, zero energy, want to go to sleep if I walked across the house, back pain, muscle aches, confusion, and memory loss. I certainly want to lower my cholesterol levels, but at what cost! I wonder if anyone else is feeling like me. At 2 pills per week my overall cholesterol was 176, HDL 73 and LDL 91.

Comment from: Terri, 55-64 (Patient) Published: April 05

I have been on pravastatin for many years for lowering cholesterol. I did ok, then developed muscle cramps, fatigue and joint aches. I took a holiday from them, felt much better even energy level. The doctor said I should be on a statin. The one recommended by him was not covered by my insurance (Livalo 4 mg). So I started back on pravastatin and took a better CoQ10 product. I was ok for about 6 months. I felt really fatigued, short of breath, no energy, terrible joint aches, muscle cramps, and depressed even. So I have stopped them again, not worth it.

Comment from: Polly, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 12

I have been put on atorvastatin 20 mg by my doctor for lowering my cholesterol, but I must say I feel very well on them with no side effects. I have been reading the reviews and surprised with most of them being bad. So any new readers, don’t be put off as I’m feeling better than I’ve been feeling in months. Perhaps it could be that this is the only medication I’m taking. My age is 81.

Comment from: Roxy, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 29

I am a 72 year old female on atorvastatin over 2 years for lowering cholesterol, now having awful muscle/tendon pain in the back of my legs, arms and upper back. Feeling miserable. I walk 3 miles/day and it is painful. I am stopping the drug today and leaving message with my doctor.

Comment from: Rizzo799, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 02

I’ve been on pravastatin for about 10 months for lowering my cholesterol. Recently I started having trembling, wobbly legs, spacey feeling, severe shoulder pain and elbow pain and the last straw for me was this month I started have muscle twitches everywhere. I thought I had some terrible disease or I was losing it. I decided to not take the medicines for the past two days. I already feel clearer and steadier on my feet. The twitches have diminished greatly. I’m never taking that medicine again! Horrible!

Comment from: Dave W, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 24

I had terrible low back pain, couldn't bend or lift anything. Then suddenly I had excruciating pain in my left wrist. I couldn't think what I had done to make this happen. I suffered for 8 months, then read about statins causing muscle pain. I spoke to my general physician and he confirmed it was a well-known side effect of cholesterol lowering medications. I have been off them for only 4 days and already my pain is easing. Hoping the improvement will continue. I'll never take another statin ever again.

Comment from: Sal, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 23

Cholesterol lowering medications caused me very bad shortness of breath, sleep apnea and cramps. I could not walk 50 feet without resting from the shortness of breath. CoQ10 helped with the cramps. I tried different statins and they all did the same thing to me. For 6 months doctors tried to find a cure. I stopped taking the statins and the sleep apnea and shortness of breath went away in 5 days. Doctor had a hard time believing it was the statin. I hope this helps someone.

Comment from: KayKay, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 01

I have tried atorvastatin and pravastatin for lowering cholesterol. Both had the same awful side effect, so much so that I have stopped taking statins. Major issue was sweating; clothes-drenching, hairdo wrecking, dripping off my face sweating. It was worse than any menopausal hot flashes. Makes it hard to get dry after a shower or put on makeup (with a wet face)! I change clothes in the middle of the day if I can. Funny thing is I had no night sweats! I have to find something else that works, I have high cholesterol and fatty liver.

Comment from: Marie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I'm only 56 years young. Due to taking cholesterol medications, I cannot walk up or down steps, I look like I'm 100 years old. I have been off medicine 2 weeks and only took it for 10 days. My pharmacist said it breaks down your muscles when my prescribing doctor had no clue. Thank goodness for the pharmacist who saved me from further damage.

Comment from: ohio, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I think I have tried every kind of statin at some time, for lowering my cholesterol. They have all affected me adversely that I quit taking them after a short time. Four of my 5 siblings have been on statins and all 4 of them experienced transient global amnesia as a side effect. I have told my doctor that I will not take statins even though my numbers are high.

Comment from: Skye, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I've been on cholesterol medicines since January this year and I've had terrible muscle soreness and joint pain. I decided to cut the pill in half, 80 mg atorvastatin, and the muscle and joint pain is mostly gone; that was 3 days ago. I just found out about muscle soreness and pain with cholesterol medications today on another website and I realized I've been pain free for a couple of days, probably because I cut back on the medicines. I'm not suggesting you do that, I'm just telling all that I've noticed reduced pain.

Comment from: Esperanza, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 26

I too have had the symptoms other people have mentioned because of cholesterol lowering medications. I've tried simvastatin, atorvastatin and most recently pravastatin, all with similar results; that is, shoulder and wrist pain, weak and wobbly legs, short-term memory loss, cataracts, dry eyes, loss of balance, muscle cramps and numbness in legs and feet. My usually equable temperament has disappeared. I'm anxious all the time and find it difficult to even walk round my garden let alone venture farther afield. I have alternately felt anger and despair and the final straw, so depressed that I've contemplated doing something drastic. I've tried talking to my doctor and he's decided to have me tested for diabetes! The difficulty is that you only get a maximum of ten minutes with a doctor which isn't enough time to discuss the whole picture. Anyway folks, this patient's had enough and as of now I'm taking myself off the darned things. I know it will take a while to get them out of my system but I'm hoping to get back to being the healthy person I once was. I'll let you know how I get on in a few weeks’ time.

Comment from: Carol, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

I went back to statins after having problems the first time my doctor put me on simvastatin. I was off it for a year and after a cholesterol check my numbers were high so my doctor decided to try pravastatin 10 mg. After a few days on it I developed muscle and joint pains. My doctor took me off it again. It has been one week since I stopped and I am still miserable. My fingers hurt so badly and my back aches. I have sent away for red yeast rice which lowered my cholesterol years ago. It has co-enzyme Q10 in it. I will try that next. Never again will I take a statin!

Comment from: Graham, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 28

I am experiencing pain in my lower legs especially first thing in morning. I wonder if this is an effect of taking my pravastatin at night.

Comment from: Woollywonder, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 10

I started taking Simvastatin with Ezetrol a few months ago, having previously been on Lipitor. I am not sure whether my symptoms are due to side effects but I do recognize some similarities with other comments. For instance, whilst out walking my legs suddenly felt as though they didn't belong to me, and I feel as though I am made of cotton wool. I cannot concentrate and feel very apprehensive. My visit to the local walk-in centre suggested that I should visit my GP to have my back assessed. The GP was bewildered and I am waiting for him to determine what needs to be done. In the meanwhile I have made an appointment with a chiropractor to see if this could be the problem. I suffered the 'inner trembling' sensation some years ago when on another cholesterol lowering drug, the name of which I cannot remember. I have yet to ask the doctor if my symptoms could be drug related, but after reading some of these reviews, I think that I ought to.

Comment from: wbond2, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 14

My experience with cholesterol-lowering medications was horrible. The pain in my wrists and hands gets so bad I can't hold onto anything.

Comment from: linmass7, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I have tried three times to take privastatin and simvastatin, but I had memory problems muscle shaking when going down steps. My friend saw it and was like, “Why is your legs doing that?” Now I know. I also had very bad consitation, also. My throat closed up at night couldnt swallow then gagged. I’m wondering if anyone may have had theses symptoms too.

Comment from: disteel, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 21

My husband has been on many statins and anti-clotting medications. The results have been the same with all the drugs: extreme muscle pain, joint pain and stiffness, popping and cracking noises, and his hands swell like sausages every morning. Sleeping through the night was impossible because of the pain. The heart problem is less of a problem than the drugs.

Comment from: Dayna, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 24

I took Lipitor and had weakness and muscle cramping and then tried Niaspan and had terrible hot flashes and burning that I could not tolerate at all and had to stop. Presently looking for another solution.

Comment from: lorraine, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 15

As a result of my cholesterol medications, I have muscle pain in my shoulders. I have read that some statins can cause muscle pain.

Comment from: sheila, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 25

I recently came off statins after years of use. I’m 69 years old, slim, and 5’ 2” tall. I drink skim milk, and I’ve given up smoking. I eat very little cheese; I don’t eat meat, and I eat oats and bran every day, winter or summer. My cholesterol count went up from 4.7 to 6+. The reason for my asking to come off was the fact I have osteoarthritis and have read that statins do not help if you have this. My late husband had a very low count and ate chips meat steak every day.

Published: September 10

I have tried all the medications with statins to lower my cholesterol....I absolutely cannot tolerate the statins in the medications...My cholesterol is 301 and I have had carotid artery surgery and a pace maker...needless to say I need to lower my cholesterol and when I take Welchol or Niaspan it doesn't help at all. I am thinking about homeopathic medicines to turn to, but I do not know what to do and my doctors just say I have to go on low doses of statin meds, but even at 10 mgs. Every other day makes me lethargic and achy...even to a point of affecting my thinking. I feel 200% better when I am not on any of the meds...but...I need to do something.

Comment from: texasagape, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: January 26

I have taken several different medications and only the pravastin was tolerated. Other statins caused aches and fatigue, muscle weakness and anxiety. My memory was also affected. I now take niacin and omega-3 and also working to get more fruit and vegetables along with more exercise. If I had to live with all the side effects of the medication to lower my cholesterol and feel like hell I think it is safe to say I prefer a quality of life or a longer life.

Comment from: shari, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 19

I tried pravastatin 10mg for 4 days and felt so bad that I thought I was going to have to go to the ER. I had shakes and trembling, light headedness, headache, fumble fingers, and constipation. I felt like a limp dishrag. The shaking and trembling were horrible. It was as if your body was reacting to "cold" and your insides were shaking to warm up....even though you were not cold. I stopped after 4 days and it is 2 1/2 days post medication and the effects are finally starting to wear off. I am still a little shaky and weak, but getting better. I NEVER want to take anything like this again. I was fine the day before this medication...and now am getting back to before. The effects started the very first day of the medication. I kept thinking it would pass. It only got worse with each day. Be very careful trying these statins and be aware of anything unusual, especially if you were fine right before starting it.

Comment from: Sue, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

My physician has tried several different methods to lower my cholesterol. Each of them causes muscle and joint pain, the most extreme reaction was brown urine while taking Crestor. Side effects include short-term memory difficulties, joint pain to the point where medication is required for normal activity and mood changes-which all affect my ability to work- so I stop the drugs after a few months. I have history of Epstein-Barr Virus and lyme disease.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 02

I was diagnosed with EBV virus and then lymes disease. I could hardly walk because of Lipitor. I am still suffering with EBV and my liver enzymes have been elevated on and off for over 2 years. My Doctor is sending me for a liver ultrasound and my cholesterol levels are high since stopping the Lipitor 4 months ago. I don't know if there is a drug that would lower my cholesterol levels without crippling me. I've tried changing my diet and that hasn't worked. I'm taking 1200 mg of fish oil twice a day hoping that, that will help. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors