I came across this article on statin drug use and excessive fatigue. If you are taking statin drugs and feel fatigued you should contact your doctor. Please enjoy.
Study links statins
to excessive fatigue
By Susan Perry | 06/12/12
Widely prescribed statins like Lipitor may
reduce overall energy levels in patients.
There have been many reports of statins
— drugs used to lower cholesterol — causing excessive fatigue. No randomized controlled study (the gold standard of clinical trials)
had examined, however, whether the link between statins and fatigue was real.
Until now. On Monday, the results of a
randomized trial that studied the effect of moderate doses of statins on energy
levels and exertion fatigue were published online in the Archives of
The study found that people who take statins are more likely
than those not using the drugs to experience an increase in fatigue after mild
physical exertion and/or an overall decrease in energy.
“These findings are important, given the
central relevance of energy and functional status to well-being,” the authors
of the study conclude. Doctors and patients should consider fatigue when
weighing the risks and benefits of statins, the authors add, particularly when
the drugs are being prescribed for primary
prevention — in other words, to people who have high cholesterol but
no history of heart disease.
Some background: About 25 percent of
Americans aged 45 and older are currently taking statins. Among people who have
previously had a heart attack or stroke, statins can be a lifesaver, reducing
the risk of dying within the next five years by as much as a third, according
But many other people — those who have risk
factors like high cholesterol but no personal history or symptoms of heart
disease — are also prescribed statins. This use is highly controversial, as many studies have shown that statins
do very little, if anything, to prevent heart attack or stroke when used in
otherwise healthy people.
Previously identified health risks associated
with statins include muscle pain or weakness (in about 5 percent of people who
take the drugs) and diabetes. Research suggests that for every 167 people who
take statins for five years, one person will develop diabetes.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug
Administration added another potential side effect to its safety alert
regarding statins: cognitive problems, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and
The current fatigue-related study, which
was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, San
Diego, recruited 1,016 people (692 men, 324 women) aged 20 and older. All had
elevated low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), the so-called “bad” cholesterol, but
were otherwise in generally good health. None had heart disease or diabetes.
The participants were randomized to receive
either a placebo or one of two statins at moderate-level doses: pravastin
(Pravochol) at 40 milligrams or simvastain (Zocor) at 20 milligrams. According
to a UCSD press release, the researchers said the doses of these
two statins would be similar to that expected with atorvastin (Lipitor) at 10
milligrams or rosuvastatin (Crestor) at 2.5 to 5 milligrams.
The study was double-blinded, which means
both the participants and the people conducting the study did not know who was
getting the placebo or the drugs.
The study ran for six months. Participants
rated their “energy” and “fatigue with exertion” at the start of the study and
again at its end, using a five-point scale that ranged from “much worse” to
The study found that participants on
statins were significantly more likely than those on placebo to report at the
study’s end that their energy levels had worsened and that they were
experiencing greater fatigue after physical exertion. The effects were stronger
in women and among people given simvastatin (which also was found in this study
to lead to a greater decrease in cholesterol levels).
Of the women in the simvastatin arm of the
study, for example, 4 of 10 cited worsening in either energy or exertion
fatigue. Two in 10 said either both symptoms were “worse” or one was “much
worse,” while 1 in 10 said both were “much worse.”
Although the study didn’t ask participants
whether the decrease in energy caused them to be less physically active, that
is, of course, a possibility — and a concern. Regular exercise has been linked
to a long list of health benefits, including a reduction in
cholesterol and a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke.
As the authors of the study point out,
their findings are based on relatively small numbers and, thus, should be
considered provisional. Additional studies are needed. Those studies must be
long-term, they add, because the side effects of statins — like their benefits
— may take some time to develop. Such studies are particularly important, they
point out, if the use of statins for primary prevention is to be expanded to
include a broader (and younger) group of people, as some doctors are
“Meanwhile,” the authors advise,
“physicians should be alert to patients’ reports of exertional fatigue or
diminished energy during statin use.”
We are all looking for ways to eat healthy, now there is another reason to eat fruit.
Eating dried or fresh apples each day may reduce cholesterol levels by 23% in women. The study did not include men but It would not hurt us men to increase our apple intake. Please enjoy this article published in Women’s Health, April 13, 2011
An apple a day may do more than keep the doctor away — it can lower levels of bad cholesterol and improve levels of good cholesterol without causing weight gain in women, according to a new study.
Women who ate 75 grams of dried apples every day for six months had a 23 percent decrease in bad LDL cholesterol, said study researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, professor and chair of the department of nutrition at the Florida State University.
Their levels of good HDL cholesterol, also increased by about 4 percent, according to the study.
To see the effects apples had on women’s health, Arjmandi and his colleagues randomly assigned 160 women ages 45 to 65 to one of two groups. One group ate 75 grams (roughly 2.64 ounces, or about a one-third of a cup) of dried apples every day for a year, and the other group ate another dried fruit for a year. Their blood samples were taken after three months, six months and then at the end of the study period.
At the end of the year-long period, the women who ate the apples had lower levels of bad cholesterol, lipid hydroperoxide (the product of toxic free radicals, which cause cell damage and death in the body) and C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation in the body, than when they started the study, researchers said.
Researchers also found that the extra 240 calories per day consumed from the dried apple did not lead to weight gain in the women — in fact, they lost an average of 3.3 pounds over the year, the study said.
Even though the people in the study ate dried apples, the effect would likely be the same if they ate fresh apples, too, said Keri Gans, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, who was not involved with the study.
Though it’s hard to make an exact comparison, one cup of fresh apples would be about equivalent to a quarter cup of dried apples, Gans said. Their cholesterol-lowering benefits likely come from their high fiber content, which past research has shown can lower bad cholesterol levels, she said.
The study was presented April 12 at the meeting Experimental Biology 2011. The study was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Pass it on: Eating an apple a day for a year can decrease levels of bad cholesterol and won’t lead to weight gain.