Study examines link between cholesterol lowering drugs and muscle cramps

Sep 10, 2008 by Suzanne Morrison

Cramps, muscle soreness, pain and weakness. Sounds like a bad day at the Olympics. No. They're the side-effects millions of people suffer when they take cholesterol-lowering drugs or statins, drugs designed to protect against a potential heart attack or stroke. Their discomfort isn't life-threatening -- just a nuisance -- but it makes many patients uncomfortable enough that they stop taking them.

Worldwide, about 52 million patients are prescribed statins. Up to 30 per cent of these patients suffer some sort of muscle pain, causing more than half of them to want off the drug.

That decision has significant implications, said Dr. Steven Baker, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

They could wind up in a coronary care unit or medical ward and need cardiac rehabilitation as well as blood pressure and blood thinning drugs -- all adding up to billions of dollars in costs to the health care system.

Baker believes the answer to preventing muscle problems caused by statins may be in adding a safe natural health product to the patient's treatment regime. To prove his hypothesis, he has a 40-patient study underway -- the first of its kind.

Volunteers are being sought who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol but haven't yet started on a cholesterol-lowering drug. During the eight-week study, all 40 patients are prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug. In addition, half receive a natural health product while half get a placebo.

As well, creatine kinase (CK) -- a muscle enzyme -- will be measured and subjects will undergo a 45-minute treadmill test and blood and strength tests. Muscle biopsies at the beginning and end of the study will allow Baker to see how much of the supplement gets into and stays in the muscle.

The goal, Baker said, is to find out if the natural supplement can reduce muscle symptoms while patients are taking statins.

Provided by McMaster University

Explore further: FDA OKs Cubist antibiotic for serious infections

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Venom gets good buzz as potential cancer-fighter

Aug 11, 2014

Bee, snake or scorpion venom could form the basis of a new generation of cancer-fighting drugs, scientists will report here today. They have devised a method for targeting venom proteins specifically to malignant cells while ...

Recommended for you

FDA OKs Cubist antibiotic for serious infections

Dec 20, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medicine to fight complex infections in the abdomen and urinary tract, the fourth antibiotic the agency has approved since May.

Xtoro approved for swimmer's ear

Dec 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—Xtoro (finafloxacin otic suspension) eardrops have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat swimmer's ear, clinically known as acute otitis externa.

Drug interaction identified for ondansetron, tramadol

Dec 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—In the early postoperative period, ondansetron is associated with increased requirements for tramadol consumption, according to a review and meta-analysis published online Dec. 10 in Anaesthesia.

New system targets germs in donated blood plasma

Dec 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—A new system designed to eliminate germs in donated blood plasma and reduce the risk of transmitting a plasma-borne infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.