More on Statin Side Effects | Chris Kresser

More on Statin Side Effects


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Dr. John Briffa wrote a post worth reading on his blog today about the significant side effects of statin drugs, and the considerable effort pharmaceutical companies and the medical establishment spend trying to convince people that these drugs are safe.

Sadly, they’ve been largely successful. Some time ago a physician in the UK by the name of Dr. John Reckless (you can’t make this stuff up) suggested that statins are so safe that they should be put in the water supply!

That’s ridiculous, of course. Statins are dangerous drugs. What’s more, they don’t reduce the risk of total mortality (death from any cause) for 95% of the population. See my articles The Truth About Statin Drugs and More Statin Shenanigans for more on this.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard more about the danger of statin drugs, check out another great post Dr. Briffa wrote a couple of weeks ago called Adverse effects of drugs are “neglected, restricted, distorted or silenced”.

There’s big money in the drug business, folks. The total pharmaceutical industry is worth hundreds of billions, and drug companies make $25 billion on statin sales alone. Do you think they’re going to go out of their way to tell everyone about the side effects and risks of these drugs? They’re legally obligated to maximize profits for their shareholders, as are all corporations, and maximizing profits means selling as many pills as they can.

That’s just the way it works. Unfortunately, people like you and I and our families are the victims of this profit-driven health care system.

To read more about heart disease and cholesterol, check out the special report page.

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  1. And when your father and grandmother are young died of a heart attack and you have family cholesterolemia? Statins reduce inflammation in vessel walls, or do they not?

  2. Do you recommend just stopping statin drugs? I am on Lovastatin 10mg but have been taking Q 10 and many other supplements for the past month and plan to continue learning about supplements, herbs and naturally healing with foods – raw fruits, flax seed oil, raw veggies and stopping sugar. I am in my 50’s and want to be really healthy and walk a lot, too. I am getting ready to get help from a natural healer for my low thyroid as well. Enough of this unhealthy medical treatment that does not heal. I want to know the truth about how to take care of my health.

  3. my wife was put on zocor in 1998. some time later she complained about her memory, which we though it was due to her age. then in 2006 she was switched to vytorin. she started to slur her words and her ability to use her hands is limited last year after reading articles on internet  i stop giving her vytorin for three months. her cholestor went to 290. doctor wanted to restart vytorin, which i did. i continued to research statin side effects and again stopped the drug in jan 2010. her cholestor went back up to 290 after three months. she is still off of drugs and we are trying other method for reducing the numbers. we will be testing next month.we may be to late to correct the damage  we have a very difficult time understanding her speech.

  4. Chris I am an avid SKEPTIC of modern mainstream disease mongering….. it is NOT only the US healthcare that has failed people, it is a worldwide issue.
    My stories over at my health Blog, are like yours, written to assist folks make good informed decisions about their own health, and NOT to allow themselves to be bullies by doctors. In my humble estimation YOU employ a doctor on your helth team, they assit you to make decisions about your health care issues…. INFORMED decisions.

    You have a great blog. Well done.

    Folks if you want information read the posts over at  as well as what Chris has posted here…..  and follow the links in the articles…. THEN ask your doctor about things… don’t let them bully you.

    Cheer’s from Just ME in T

    • Excellent work, Just ME. We’re definitely on the same page. Keep fighting the good fight!

  5. Dr. Briffa writes a fantastic Blog. I too am a follower.
    Have you caught up with the story of the UK doc who wants butter banned?

    There are lots more related articles on the dangers of Statins and a link to some wonderful cholesterol skeptics here:

    YES I TOO am a cholesterol skeptic and am suffering from long term damage done by these UGLY drugs

    • Hi Just ME in T,

      Yes, I’ve seen that ridiculous story. It’s typical of the mindless dogma perpetrated by the anti-cholesterol brigade. Their efforts are becoming more desperate every day as the evidence supporting their position continues to erode (it was never strong to begin with).

      I have Dr. Briffa’s blog in my RSS reader and read it regularly. Thanks for your comment!

  6. My cholesterol has stayed around 246 for about 20 years and my blood pressure is around 135 over 80 when in any doctor’s office, but lower at home.  I consider myself healthy.  My family genes are such that I should live well into my 90s — even with the “high” cholesterol.
    Every time a doctor writes me a prescription for a statin, I go home and shred it.  My current doctor has given up on trying to make me take a statin or anything for blood pressure.  She knows that I refuse to take pills unless absolutely necessary (like for strep throat).  Side effects from drugs can mess you up for life — such as ruin your liver or mess up your memory or mess with your hormones or cause ulcers or just plain plug you up, etc.
    You do not have to pop every pill that a doctor gives you.  Research the drug first before you decide whether to fill the prescription.  Find out if there is anything natural that you can do instead.  Make the decision for yourself.  If your doctor insists that you take a statin when you do not want to, then find another doctor.   If you are taking a statin, it is because you still believe the cholesterol hype put out by the drug companies.  No doctor can “make” you do what you do not want to do.
    (P.S.  Your cholesterol will temporarily go very high when you stop taking statins. Limit the bread and sugar!  Take a walk several times a week.  Keep your weight at a reasonable level — not too skinny and not obese.)
    Chris, thanks for your blog!  I really like reading it.  I came across it several months ago while doing research for my IBS (which is finally under control after 58 years of pain and trying everything under the sun).  I am very familiar with the Framington Study, among others, and Dr. Graveline (, Dr. William Davis’ blog, the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, and more.  I check your blog every couple of weeks to see what you have that’s new.


    I HAD A IQ OF 125 TO 130.                                                                                              The VA started me on

    statins when the were new. When my cholesterol did not go down enough I was given more. I hurt so much I could not walk normally. And I lost my short turm memory and could not think as well. I stopped and got better fast. But not as good as I was. still have joint pain and I am just plain dumber. And its been years. My mother stopped hers and her mind worked better and she did not hurt as much.But her doc madec her startr back. Five of here friends stopped and they all say the same thing. Anybody know how to get the missing parts of my mind back. The VA says I am wrong and gives me pills to feel better, them not me.

    • Dan,

      For a start I’d recommend eating plenty of foods with CoQ10 (red meat, for instance) and supplementing with it as well. Many of the side effects of statin use can be traced to CoQ10 depletion. Cholesterol plays a vital role in the brain. 20% of myelin (the sheath surrounding the nerve) is cholesterol, and synapse formation is almost entirely dependent upon cholesterol. Cholesterol also helps regulate mood by ensuring proper formation of serotonin receptors. Likewise, saturated fats are important to brain health. I suspect that some of your brain symptoms are due to the significant reduction of cholesterol you experienced from the statins. If you eliminated or greatly reduced saturated fat as your doctor likely suggested, that may be playing a role as well. My suggestion would be to eat healthy, traditional saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet and supplement with CoQ10. I would also suggest a high-vitamin cod liver oil from Green Pasture. Cod liver oil is high in natural vitamin A & D, as well as omega 3 fats, all of which play a role in brain health.

  8. I am back on statins again.  Not my choice.  The doctor recommended it after I had bad experiences in the past.  My main huge problem is major constipation. What causes this when I use these drugs and how can I prevent it without taking stool softeners or laxatives.  I don’t want to take one pill to help another pill and continue doing this. It gets so bad that I raise my blood pressure very much when just trying to eliminate. Help please…. Thank you very much.

    • Nancy,

      Gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation or diarrhea are relatively common side effects of statins. You might try adding magnesium supplements and fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha to your diet. That should help.

      I will point out, however, that it is always our choice whether we take a drug or not. A doctor can’t force you to do anything. All he/she can do is make recommendations. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read my articles on statins. Then make up your own mind about whether you should take one or not. Statins have not been proven to be effective for women, so in my opinion they should not be prescribed at all for women.

      • It’s true that we all ultimately have the final say. However, there is the unfortunate reality of the health insurance companies looking for reasons to deny as many claims as possible. Going against your doctor’s recommendation is ground to deny any claim, especially if the claim is related to the advice. Add that to the fact that they are in bed with the pharma companies and you’re quickly in a no win situation. The cost of a heart attack in our health care system averages about $750k that you’d be on the hook for if they deny the claim.

        • I’ve been on statins…two different ones the last approx. 6 months. I’ve not felt right since I started. I was on Gemfibrozil for yrs. and got along fine. My new doctor, the other retired, pushes statins. Started out on 40mg. lipitor and immediately bound up and felt like I perpetually had the flu with respiratory(sinus) problems. Changed to 20mg. Simvastatin with little relief. My memory and thinking processes are terrible and my energy level is zero. I’ve had tinnitis for 30+ yrs. but just recently got much worse with no apparent cause. I go see the dr. in 3 weeks and am not taking statins anymore. I will seek a different dr. My high cholesterol is hereditary, I’m slim build maybe 15lbs, overweight. Low blood pressure, low heart rate. If not taking statins shortens my life, which I highly doubt, then at least I may be able to function normally while I am alive. I am approaching 67yrs. old and am sick of feeling sick.

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