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Can muscle damage from a statin continue after I stop taking the drug?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Statins can damage muscles, but the effect should fade once you stop taking the drug.

Statins can cause a type of severe muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis. It is characterized by the rapid and extensive destruction of skeletal muscle, with the release of muscle breakdown products into the bloodstream. These can overwhelm the kidneys, and sometimes cause them to fail.

Statin-caused rhabdomyolysis can be deadly. It is also rare, occurring in about four of every 100,000 people who take a statin for a year. In many cases of drug-induced muscle breakdown, other factors also contribute to the illness. In contrast, many people who take a statin have vague muscle aches without evidence of rhabdomyolysis.

Harvard Medical School Heart Disease: A guide to preventing and treating coronary artery disease

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Harvard Medical School Heart Disease: A guide to preventing and treating coronary artery disease

Most people who develop heart disease at least 8 in every 10 have one or more major risk factors that are within their power to change. These include lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.