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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Another Hit for Statins: Linked to Muscle Weakness, Cramps, Joint Disease, Injury

Growing list of problems for this life-saving drug that lowers heart disease

By Tucker Sutherland, editor

June 3, 2013 – Most agree that statin drugs effectively lower cardiovascular illnesses but there is growing evidence that more problems are associated with these drugs that had been assumed. The latest report published Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine links statins with musculoskeletal problems, joint diseases and injuries.

This is a complain heard frequently among senior citizens, particularly the most active of those taking statins. Increasing numbers of seniors are blaming their physical problems on their statin use. See sidebar for links of other recent reports of problems associated with statins.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study, using propensity score matching, to show that statin use is associated with an increased likelihood of diagnoses of musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies and injuries,” write the researchers.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Reason for Fuzzy Memories for Seniors Taking Statins May Be Explained

Memory loss that is reversible sometimes caused by cholesterol-lowering drugs, one of most widely prescribed medications for senior citizens in the world.

May 10, 2013

Cardiovascular Benefits of Taking Statins Outweigh Diabetes Risk

No risk for those without diabetes risk factors, one risk factors jumps risk 28%

Aug. 10, 2012

Statin Link to Cognitive Problems, Memory Loss by FDA Shock to Seniors

New safety warnings also cite liver problems, blood sugar elevation, drug interactions with lovastation

Feb. 29. 2012


 
 

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“In our primary analysis, we did not find a statistically significant association between statin use and arthropathy; however, this association was statistically significant in all other analyses,” the authors conclude.

“These findings are concerning because starting statin therapy at a young age for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases has been widely advocated.”

While statins have proven to lower death from cardiovascular illnesses, the full spectrum of statin musculoskeletal adverse events (AEs) had not previously been clear, say the researchers. They specifically looked at statin-associated musculoskeletal AEs including a wide variety of clinical presentations, including muscle weakness, muscle cramps and tendinous (tendon) diseases.

Ishak Mansi, M.D., of the VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas, and colleagues utilized data from a military health care system to determine whether statins were associated with musculoskeletal conditions based on statin use during the 2005 fiscal year.

Patients were divided into two groups: statin users for at least 90 days and nonusers. A total of 46,249 patients met the study criteria and of those, researchers propensity score-matched (a statistical approach that mathematically matches the characteristics of patients in two or more groups) 6,967 statin users with 6,967 nonusers.

 “Musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies, injuries and pain are more common among statin users than among similar nonusers. The full spectrum of statins’ musculoskeletal adverse events may not be fully explored, and further studies are warranted, especially in physically active individuals,” the authors note.

Statin users had a higher odds ratio (OR) for musculoskeletal disease diagnosis group 1 (all musculoskeletal diseases: OR, 1.19), for musculoskeletal disease diagnosis group 1b (dislocation/strain/sprain: OR, 1.13) and for musculoskeletal diagnosis group 2 (musculoskeletal pain: OR, 1.09), but not for musculoskeletal disease diagnosis group 1a (osteoarthritis/arthropathy: OR,1.07), according to study results for the propensity score-matched pairs.

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