The truth about statins

Part 3: Statins' adverse side effects

Because statins inhibit the production of several different essential compounds, it should be no surprise that there are many adverse side effects associated with statins.

The uncontrolled cell death is potentially most important. Most body cells have a programmed life. It doesn't matter how many birthdays you have had, very little of you is more than 8 years old; a good deal is far younger than that. At the end of this life cells die off and are replaced. This is a normal and natural event.

However, if the inhibition of isoprenylated proteins disrupt the timing of this process, two scenarios are possible: Either cells would die off early, leading to such diseases as rhabdomyolysis; or cells would continue to survive past their programmed life. This is a definition of cancer. Neither of these is desirable.

Below are 25 of the most common side effects caused by statins.

  • Gout and/or elevated uric acid
  • Peripheral Neuropathy (numbness and/or tingling of the hands or feet)
  • Myopathy (muscle weakness, cramps, spasms, stiffness)
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of libido
  • Impotence
  • Heart palpitations or arrhythmias (irregular heart beat)
  • Depression
  • Memory loss, either long-term or short-term
  • Transient Global Amnesia (TGA)
  • Chest pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Fatigue
  • Migraine headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Trouble walking (either shuffling or balance)
  • Hand tremors
  • Slurred speech or trouble finding the right word
  • Dizziness
  • Sciatica-like pain

The problem with many of these symptoms is that, if you tell your doctor, he is likely to dismiss them with the comment: "You are getting older; what do you expect." Doctors, it seems, refuse to believe that such 'safe' drugs as statins could possibly have any side effects. [1] Because of this, these effects, which are frequently due to statins, are not recorded as side effects.

This is why, if you look on the Internet for adverse effects of statins, you will probably be 'reliably informed' that there are very few side effects; and that 'statins are very safe'. You need to know that this in untrue!


1. Golomb BA, McGraw, JJ, Evans MA, Dimsdale JE. Physician Response to Patient Reports of Adverse Drug Effects: Implications For Patient-Targeted Adverse Effect Surveillance. Drug Safety 2007; 30: 669-675.

Part 1: What are statins? | Part 2: How statins work | Part 3: Statins' side effects |
Part 4: Statins, women and the elderly | Part 5: Statins or sunshine? | Part 6: Conclusion
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Last updated: December 9, 2011