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How common is muscle pain from cholesterol- lowering drugs?

Some patients with high cholesterol levels are afraid to take statins because off fear of developing side effects such as muscle pain. A study from Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego reviews the latest data on side effects of statins (The American Journal of Medicine, May 2006). This review found that statin- induced muscle damage is more common in Asians, people who exercise, have had recent surgery, have kidney, liver or thyroid disease, or have high triglycerides. The incidence of muscle pain and damage from statins is extremely low in non- exercisers, three to ten percent in those who exercise, and very high in competitive athletes.

Most athletes refuse to take statin drugs because they train by taking a hard workout that damages their muscles. Then they must take easy workouts until the soreness disappears and muscles heal. When statins prevent this muscle healing, the athlete must train at reduced intensity for a much longer period of time. Brand names of statins include: Altoprev, Crestor, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol and Zocor.

Checked 6/15/06

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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