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What are the side effects of statin drugs?

John M. Kennedy, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Side effects of statin drugs include muscle weakness and inflammation, as well as liver inflammation and cognitive impairment, in some cases. In this video, preventive cardiologist John M. Kennedy, MD, describes the symptoms statins may cause.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, all statin drugs have been associated with reports of a rare and potentially fatal muscle condition called rhabdomyolysis, which causes muscle cells to breakdown and enter the bloodstream.

A much more common side effect is benign muscle pain, which often responds to supplemental Coenzyme Q10.

The risk of rhabdomyolysis increases with higher doses of statins and when statins are used in combination with certain drugs, such as the fibrate gemfibozil (Lopid), and cyclosporine (Restasis), a drug used to suppress immunity in people who undergo organ transplants and for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

The most common side effects associated with statins are upset stomach, gas, constipation, abdominal pain or cramps and muscle pain. The effects are usually mild to moderate and fade as your body adjusts to the drug. However, if you experience brown urine or muscle soreness, pain or weakness -- possible symptoms of rhabdomyolysis -- contact your healthcare professional immediately.

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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.