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Statins side effects: Muscle weakness or myopathy may cause 3 walking-related symptoms

Millions of people are prescribed statins to help lower their cholesterol. It has been widely reported that statin use does affect the muscles. Myopathy is a general term referring to any disease that affects the muscles that control voluntary movement in the body further causing any of these walking or standing related issues.

In a study published in the National Library of Health, patients suffering with walking disabilities and myopathy possibly caused by statin use was further investigated.

Researchers analysed study participants statin-induced myopathic weakness causing associated disabilities.

A decline in distances walked, difficulty arising from a toilet or car seat, and mild fatigue during shopping or climbing stairs was noted among the patients.

“Unsteadiness in walking, especially on uneven surfaces or on changing direction, was the most common complaint,” noted the study.

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It continued: “The patients and their physicians did not suspect muscle weakness.

“They attributed symptoms to complications of chronic or recent neurological disorders and returned because of greater difficulty walking from six to 12 months after starting the statin.

“Over the course of assessing patients in a weekly outpatient neurologic rehabilitation clinic, then re-examining those subjects suspected of having a statin-associated myopathy, a likely causal relationship between disabling myopathy and the use of statins was found.”

“Muscle aches are common, but often are just due to factors other than statins,” says Dr Christopher Cannon, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

He continued: “Severe muscle damage is rare, occurring in about one in 10,000 people.

“Statin users report sore or aching muscles in the legs, trunk, or arms, or muscle weakness, burning, tenderness, stiffness, or cramping.”

An international team of researchers may have discovered why some people experience muscle pain after taking statins.

According to the research, statins cause spontaneous and irregular leaks of calcium from storage compartments within muscle cells.

Under normal conditions, coordinated releases of calcium from these stores make the muscles contract.

Unregulated calcium leaks may cause damage to muscle cells, potentially leading to muscle pain and weakness.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you’re taking.

This is run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Statins shouldn’t be taken if you have severe liver disease or if blood tests suggest your liver may not be working properly.

This is because statins can affect your liver, and this is more likely to cause serious problems if you already have a severely damaged liver.

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