Statin Side Effects are Plentiful and Serious
Taking a statin is a dangerous undertaking.
Study Title:Statin adverse effects : a review of the literature and evidence for a mitochondrial mechanism.
HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are a widely used class of drug, and like all medications, have potential for adverse effects (AEs). Here we review the statin AE literature, first focusing on muscle AEs as the most reported problem both in the literature and by patients. Evidence regarding the statin muscle AE mechanism, dose effect, drug interactions, and genetic predisposition is examined. We hypothesize, and provide evidence, that the demonstrated mitochondrial mechanisms for muscle AEs have implications to other nonmuscle AEs in patients treated with statins. In meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), muscle AEs are more frequent with statins than with placebo. A number of manifestations of muscle AEs have been reported, with rhabdomyolysis the most feared. AEs are dose dependent, and risk is amplified by drug interactions that functionally increase statin potency, often through inhibition of the cytochrome P450 3A4 system. An array of additional risk factors for statin AEs are those that amplify (or reflect) mitochondrial or metabolic vulnerability, such as metabolic syndrome factors, thyroid disease, and genetic mutations linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. Converging evidence supports a mitochondrial foundation for muscle AEs associated with statins, and both theoretical and empirical considerations suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may also underlie many nonmuscle statin AEs. Evidence from RCTs and studies of other designs indicates existence of additional statin-associated AEs, such as cognitive loss, neuropathy, pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. Physician awareness of statin AEs is reportedly low even for the AEs most widely reported by patients. Awareness and vigilance for AEs should be maintained to enable informed treatment decisions, treatment modification if appropriate, improved quality of patient care, and reduced patient morbidity.
From press release:
A paper co-authored by Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of UC San Diego’s Statin Study group cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), a class of drugs widely used to treat high cholesterol.
The result is a review paper, currently published in the online edition of American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, that provides the most complete picture to date of reported side effects of statins, showing the state of evidence for each. The paper also helps explain why certain individuals have an increased risk for such adverse effects.
“Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs’ adverse side effects,” said Golomb. “But cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy, or pain or numbness in the extremities like fingers and toes, are also widely reported.” A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur as side effects from statins.
The paper cites clear evidence that higher statin doses or more powerful statins – those with a stronger ability to lower cholesterol – as well as certain genetic conditions, are linked to greater risk of developing side effects.
“Physician awareness of such side effects is reportedly low,” Golomb said. “Being vigilant for adverse effects in their patients is necessary in order for doctors to provide informed treatment decisions and improved patient care.”
The paper also summarizes powerful evidence that statin-induced injury to the function of the body’s energy-producing cells, called mitochondria, underlies many of the adverse effects that occur to patients taking statin drugs.
Mitochondria produce most of the oxygen free radicals in the body, harmful compounds that “antioxidants” seek to protect against. When mitochondrial function is impaired, the body produces less energy and more “free radicals” are produced. Coenzyme Q10 (“Q10”) is a compound central to the process of making energy within mitochondria and quenching free radicals. However, statins lower Q10 levels because they work by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production – the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports Q10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.
“The loss of Q10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage mitochondrial DNA,” said Golomb, who explained that loss of Q10 may lead to a greater likelihood of symptoms arising from statins in patients with existing mitochondrial damage – since these people especially rely on ample Q10 to help bypass this damage. Because statins may cause more mitochondrial problems over time – and as these energy powerhouses tend to weaken with age—new adverse effects can also develop the longer a patient takes statin drugs.
“The risk of adverse effects goes up as age goes up, and this helps explain why,” said Golomb. “This also helps explain why statins’ benefits have not been found to exceed their risks in those over 70 or 75 years old, even those with heart disease.” High blood pressure and diabetes are linked to higher rates of mitochondrial problems, so these conditions are also clearly linked to a higher risk of statin complications, according to Golomb and co-author Marcella A. Evans, of UC San Diego and UC Irvine Schools of Medicine.
The connection between statins’ antioxidant properties and mitochondrial risk helps explain a complicated finding that statins can protect against the very same problems, in some people, to which they may predispose others – problems such as muscle and kidney function or heart arrhythmia.
Golomb BA, Evans MA. Statin adverse effects : a review of the literature and evidence for a mitochondrial mechanism. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2008 December 8(6):373-418.
Related Entries: The Many Faces of Gluten Intolerance
Supplement Quality - Are You Getting What’s On the Label?
Statin Drugs Cause Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure
Heart Disease and Depression: A Two Way Street
Broken Heart Syndrome
Ten Things that Interfere with Thyroid Function
Vaccine Injury with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
Bone Loss Caused by Thyroid Meds and Other Drugs
Five Key Tips for a Healthy 2015
Top Health Stories of 2014
Combat the Winter Blues
Carnosine – Amazing Benefits for Athletes, Heart, Brain, Eyes, and Diabetes
ADT Prostate Cancer Therapy Does More Harm Than Good
Musicians: A Note on Taking Care of the Body
Infections Linked to Autoimmune Thyroid Problems
Noni: Tropical Super Fruit – Powerful Support for the Immune System, Brain, Bones, and more
Enlarged Adenoids Linked with Food Allergies
Combat Ear Infections and Congestion Naturally
Glaucoma: Protecting Against a Silent, Devastating Disorder
Protect and Energize Your Immune System
GMOs, Roundup, and Sunscreen Linked with Diminished Brain Resiliency
Signs of Concussions and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Sleep – Molecular Clean Up Time for the Brain
Artificial Sweeteners Provoke High Risk for Diabetes
Hypothyroidism, Brain Stress, and Season Changes
Alcohol, Adolescents, and Young Adults – A Neurological Disaster Waiting to Happen
GABA: Managing Brain Stimulation, Anxiety, and Other Consequences
Brain Fatigue: Fundamental Solutions
Brain Fatigue 101
Astonishing Benefits of Cranberries
Summer Heat Stress – More Than Just Dehydration
Chronic Active Epstein Barr Virus: Additional Tools for the Battle
Pine Nut Oil Reduces Inflammation, Clotting Risk, and Fatty Liver Congestion
New Findings with Epstein Barr Virus: The Sleeping Giant
Type 1 Diabetes: Risk Factor Alert
Disrupted Gut Clocks Linked with IBS, GERD, Obesity, and Other GI Concerns
Body Clocks and Weight Management – It’s All About Timing
Saturated Fat Myth – Debunked Again
Powerful Nutrition for Common Chemical Exposures
Endocrine Disruptor Compounds and Natural Solutions
Endocrine Disruptor Compounds and Your Hormones
Low Blood Pressure Linked with Brain Atrophy
Vitamin K, Leptin, AGEs, and Arthritis
Advanced Solutions for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis: Good Oils versus Bad Oils and Inflammation
High Levels of Omega 6 Fatty Acids Found in Bones of Osteoarthritis Patients Worsens Joint Breakdown
Lipoic Acid Protects the Heart and Immune System from Acute Emotional Stress
Whiplash, Thyroid, and Adrenals
Brain Inflammation Now Documented in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Brain Protective Effects of Proathocyanidins
Nutrient Highlight: Discover the Best Form of Folate
Lutein and Zeaxanthin Offset Gene Weaknesses that Cause Macular Degeneration
Lycopene Builds Its Anti-Prostate Cancer Case
Carotenes Improve the Quality of Semen
Vitamin B12 as Methylcobalamin Repairs Nerves & Lowers Pain
Folic Acid Activates Neural Stem Cells for Brain Rejuvenation
Chromium Improves Insulin Function & Reduces Binge Eating
How Fiber and Niacin Protect Against Colon Inflammation and Cancer
Berries Have Anti-Aging Impact on Immune System
Strawberries Reduce Cardiovascular Risk
Friendly Flora Improves Fatty Liver Disease
Flavonoid Intake Improves Cardio Health in At-Risk Men
Polyphenols and Essential Fatty Acids Reduce Cardio Risk in Overweight People
Vitamin C Reduces the Risk for Hemorrhagic Stroke
Testosterone Therapy Increases Heart Attack Risk
Magnesium Intake Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Inflammation
Q10 Boosts Energy, Nerves, Muscles & Metabolism
Coenzyme Q10 Remarkably Improves Circulation
Tyrosine Helps Maintain Mental Ability Under Stress
Green Tea Extract Lowers Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar & Inflammation
Poor Flexibility is a Sign of Stiff Arteries
A Sluggish Lymph System Causes Snoring & Sleep Apnea
DHA is Vital to Cardiovascular Wellness
Magnesium Supplements Lower Blood Pressure, Prevent Calcification
Magnesium for the Prevention of Heart Disease
Pomegranate Protects HDL Cholesterol from Damage
Pomegranate Blocks Flu Replication
Tocotrienols: Twenty Years of Dazzling Cardiovascular and Cancer Research
Is Resveratrol the Fountain of Youth?
Grape Seed Extract Lowers Blood Pressure
Scientists Tout Resveratrol as a Primary Nutrient for Cardio Health
Leptin, Thyroid, and Weight Loss
Excess Appetite Causes Abdominal Fat
Low Energy? Detect Thyroid Related Fatigue
Curcumin Boosts AMPK Activation, Prevents Fatty Liver
Quercetin Activates Mitochondrial Biogenesis
Quercetin Guards Against Inflammation-Induced Bone Loss
Head Injuries Double or Triple the Risk of Early Death
Fatty Fish Consumption Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes by 33%
Flavonoids Continue to Show Potent Diabetes Prevention
Vitamin K2 Decreases Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women
Cissus Quadrangularis Enhances Fracture Healing
Cissus Quadrangularis Reduces Exercise-Related Joint Pain
Nobiletin and Tangeretin Help Protect Against Bone Loss
Nobiletin and Tangeretin Inhibit Respiratory Virus
Oregano Oil Inhibits Biofilm Formation
Bromelain Helps Chronic Sinus Inflammation
Curcumin Demonstrates Potent Anti-Flu Properties
Quercetin Protects Brain and Body from Low Oxygen Stress
Ubiquinol Q10 Protects Against Magnified Tissue Injury
Most Popular News:
Connect with Wellness Resources: