A group of scientists, doctors and students at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine pulled no punches in analyzing Lipitor side effects and those of other statin drugs.The UCSD Statin Study group, headed by Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb, assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego, has actively been researching statin medications and their risk-benefit balance, including possible Lipitor side effects.
Dr. Golomb has collected thousands of stories from patients about statin side effects.
She has said common complaints from patients taking statins include being unable to remember the name of a grandchild, walking into a room and forgetting why you are there, or starting a sentence and being unable to finish. Some complain of personality changes or irritability.
An article in the Wall Street Journal quotes a San Diego woman, Jane Brunzie. She became so forgetful that her daughter was investigating Alzheimer's care for her and refused to let her babysit for her 9-year-old granddaughter.
Then the mother stopped taking a statin. "Literally, within eight days, I was back to normal - it was that dramatic," says Mrs. Brunzie, 69 years old.
And not one study has shown that Lipitor (atorvastatin) does anything to lengthen a person's lifespan!
Dr. Golomb and her fellow researchers reported,
"While many physicians (and experts in heart disease and cholesterol) are familiar with the benefits of statins, they are often unfamiliar with the adverse experiences that many people have reported. These include: muscle pain, muscle weakness, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, memory/thinking problems, and mood/personality changes among other symptoms."
Dr. Duane Graveline, MD, a former NASA astronaut who was one of the scientists selected for the Apollo space program, relates his story of how a Lipitor side effect was the source of his transient global amnesia (TGA)Duane Graveline, MD Space Doc.Com
"I soon realized the adverse reactions involved far more than impaired cognition, including personality change, myopathy, neuropathy and a chronic neuromuscular degeneration similar to ALS.
And all statins were contributing to these adverse side effects, not just Lipitor." Duane Graveline, MD Space Doc.Com
Depression and Irritability.
Many people report depression and changes in mood when using statin drug prescriptions. Some also experience loss of interest in activities and and become less involved in social affairs.
An increase in accidents that could be the result of reduced concentration.
Low serotonin activity is known to relate to suicide and depression in people. Some people report that when they are onstatins they are more irritable and impatient.
Headaches, Joint and Abdominal Pain
Although muscle pain is a well-recognized side effect of Lipitor and other statin drugs, other pain effects have been reported by many people on these prescription medications.
Peripheral Neuropathy (tingling and numbness or burning pain)
This can be especially troubling for diabetics because of their reduced muscle sensitivity.
Sexual function problems.
In the first study of its kind, presented at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting in Chicago, Beatrice Golomb, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, found that the men and women in her study taking statins got not just a reduction in LDL cholesterol, but also a reduction in their ability to achieve orgasm.
Problems sleeping may be a Lipitor side effect.
Fatigue, dizziness and a sense of detachment are also reported Lipitor side effects.
The study, published online in the British Medical Journal on September 13, 2012, was conducted by Dr Nina Rautio (Pirkanmaa Hospital, Tampere, Finland) and colleagues.
They concluded that their findings suggest statin use "might have unfavorable effects on glucose metabolism and . . . hamper beneficial effects of lifestyle intervention in people at high risk of type 2 diabetes."
If your "get up and go" has "got up and went" it's just possible that a statin drug might be the culprit.
Stephen Sinatra, M.D., a highly regarded heart surgeon and co-author of The Great Cholesterol Myth with Jonny Bowden says,
"A CoQ10 deficiency affects your heart as profoundly as a calcium deficiency would affect your bones."
I'm Gene Millen, your host on this website with my wife Bernie. In 1990 a heart surgeon sawed open my chest and stitched in bypasses to six clogged arteries.
That got my attention...and changed my heart health priorities. If you are looking for a natural solution to Lipitor side effects I have some good news for you!
I discovered this natural supplement, called policosanol, (pronounced poly-cos-anol) about fifteen years ago. It is extracted from sugar cane and is one of the most extensively studied nutural supplements in the world.
Well designed research studies of more than 30,000 persons have been conducted comparing policosanol to a placebo, as well as randomized double blind comparative trials compared to statin drugs.
In the studies policosanol produced cholesterol-lowering effects within the first 6-8 weeks of use. At a daily dosage of 10-20 mg of policosanol at night, LDL cholesterol levels typically dropped by 20 to 25% within the first six months of therapy.
Dr. Michael Murray, author of Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, one of the most renowned doctors of natural medicine says;
"In a 1997 head-to-head study policosanol was compared with statin drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol).
Policosanol and ZOCOR were found to be equally effective in lowering cholesterol during an eight week study...but policosanol also significantly increased HDL-cholesterol levels and Zocor did not."
The combined increase in HDL cholesterol, coupled with a lowering of LDL cholesterol can produce dramatic improvements in the LDL to HDL ratio, which lowers risk of a heart attack or stroke!
This is one of the most widely tested natural products. In clinical trials of nearly 30,000 persons no significant side effects were found. See Policosanol Research
In long-term clinical studies, it has been simultaneously used with nearly all of the common prescription drugs and they have shown no evidence of clinically relevant adverse interactions with policosanol.
The side effects are rare and minimal.
In studies of 27,879 patients (17,225 patients for two years and 10,654 patients for four years), only 86 patients (0.31%) reported adverse effects, the most frequent of which was weight loss.
Detailed clinical trials have shown that Policosanol produces beneficial effects on cholesterol control within the first 6-8 weeks of use.
The dosage used in the clinical studies was from 10 mg to 20 mg per day. It was shown that increasing the dose to 40 mg had little additional benefit. The majority of persons take 20 mg per day.
Policosanol ingredients are a mixture of fatty compounds derived from the outer wax of sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum). Products derived from other sources have been found to be less effective
A 20 mg capsule of Vital Life Nutritionals Extra Strength Policosanol derived from sugar cane is about 37 cents per day.
Recent clinical research has also shown additional heart health benefits, including;
improving the control of blood sugar among people with diabetes
reducing inflammation in the heart arteries which is a key risk of heart attack.
A study conducted by ConsumerLab found that four of seven policosanol products tested contained only 23% to 78% of the amount listed on the label.
The original policosanol comparison studies were conducted with policosanol derived from sugar cane. It's wise to avoid policosanol made with bees wax, rice wax or other plant waxes as many are not as effective as the sugar cane formulas.
The University of Kansas Hospital "Natural Pharmacist" website reports, "There is reason for concern that policosanol products made with bees wax may not be effective."
For many years Vital Life Nutritionals Policosanol Extra Strength supplements have been the favorite of our customers for improving cholesterol without the side effects often caused by Lipitor and their generic counterparts.
We only recommend the best heart supplements that we can find...ones that we and/or our family and friends personally use.
Vital Life Nutritionals are manufactured by a family owned and operated nutritional company celebrating 90 years of promoting natural health and wellness.
Vital Life Nutritionals Policosanol is extracted from sugar cane and is the same formula used in the clinical research studies.
"When the results of my lipid panel came back in the spring of 2001, my triglycerides were sky high (1723) and my HDL so low (8) that I was frightened enough to try any solution the doctor suggested.
"A combination of a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, exercise and the use of high doses of niacin, brought the triglycerides down to a reasonable level; however, nothing seemed to budge the low HDL level to much above 18.
"When we moved out of state, my new doctor insisted that I try a combination of niacin and simvastatin to address what he thought were "unacceptable" numbers. In 2010 I finally caved and agreed to the statin combo drug.
Within a year I was unable to walk up and down stairs and couldn't lift myself from a sitting position without holding on to something.
"I immediately stopped the statin/niacin (against the doctor's advice), and I began in earnest scouring the internet for alternative solutions to what for me had been harmful pharmaceutical drugs.
"How fortunate for me that I found the Millen's Vital Heart Health for Life site. I ordered policosanol and within six months my HDL began improving. My last test, three months ago showed my HDL at 36, not ideal I realize, but for me the best it has ever been. Triglycerides and LDL were also within normal range, and my total cholesterol was 180.
"I am so very thankful that Gene and Bernie Millen continue to offer what I consider life-saving advice and products for those of us who are desperately searching for alternatives to the "traditional" drugs prescribed by most physicians today.
By: Janelle Carey, Savoy, Illinois
Thanks for joining us on the journey to Vital Heart Health for Life!