Medically reviewed by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C — composed by Anna blacksmith on march 4, 2021

Statins are a form of drug that lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Usually, human being who take it statins tolerate lock well. However, some might experience next effects, such as muscle pain.

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Researchers calculation that roughly 7–29% of human being who take it statins endure statin-associated muscle symptoms, known collectively as SAMS.

This article will look in ~ the potential causes of statin muscle pain, means to ease it, and when to seek guidance native a doctor.

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Scientists perform not completely understand the exact reason of statin muscle pain. There space differing theory in the clinical community.

Cell damage

In a 2019 study, researcher looked in ~ the affect of statins on muscle in both humans and also rats end the food of 4 weeks. Lock observed the in person skeletal muscle, statin therapy disrupted the relax of calcium indigenous muscle cells.

Normally, muscles release some calcium upon stimulation. If this process becomes unstable, that can create tissue damage and also cell death.

This device may describe the reason of SAMS. However, when the scientists applied electric stimulation to muscles, it did no seem to impact the muscles’ ability to move.

Similarly, statins did not have any type of influence ~ above muscle function or toughness in rats, possibly due to the fact that exercise prevent the statins from bring about muscle damage.

The researchers indicate that statin muscle pain may affect individuals who room susceptible to it however that exercise might reverse the impact.

‘Nocebo’ effect

Authors the a 2021 study lugged out a series of randomized, placebo-controlled trials top top older adult who had previously skilled muscle pains while acquisition statins.

One team took 20 milligrams the atorvastatin per day for 2 months, while another took a placebo. The researcher found tiny difference in between rates the muscle pain in either group.

They imply that the pain might be because of other factors, such together age-related conditions, as most world in the examine were 65–79 year old. Another factor could be the “nocebo” effect, i m sorry occurs as soon as peoples’ an adverse expectations of a drug reason them to suffer symptoms.

As many civilization are aware that statins may cause muscle pain prior to they take them, the is possible this can influence their perception the symptoms.

However, it is vital to note that this study just tested one form of statin in ~ a low dose top top one age group. Researchers will need to bring out more studies to much better understand what reasons statin muscle pain.

What go it feel like?

Muscle pain brought about by statins have the right to be mild, moderate, or severe. People with SAMS may experience:


People v SAMS typically experience pain in the calves and also thighs. However, SAMS can affect all the skeletal muscle of the body.

Generally, symptom of SAMS solve on their very own if a person stops taking statins.

However, if they do so without clinical supervision, they may develop high levels of cholesterol. This consequently increases danger of severe conditions, consisting of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

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Instead of avoiding statins entirely, medical professionals will first:

remove any factors that could be contributing come muscle paintry alternative statinstry various dosages

If these procedures do no prove effective, a doctor may imply an alternate to statins. Human being should not stop or adjust the dosage of medicines unless advised by a health care professional.