August 19, 2013

Statin Drugs and Energy Levels

Statin drugs are among the best selling and the most widely used prescription drugs on the market.  Recently, increasing attention has focused on statins' side effects, particularly their effect on exercise.  In the June 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, a UCSD study was reported that compared statins vs. a placebo.

More than 1,000 adults were randomly divided into two groups:  one received a placebo (sugar pills) and the other received identical-appearing statins (either low dose Pravachol or Zocor), chosen as the most water-soluble and most fat-soluble of the statins, with similar cholesterol reduction to low dose Lipitor or Crestor.  Persons with heart disease and diabetes were excluded. Subjects rated their energy and fatigue with exertion relative to baseline, on a five-point scale, from "much worse" to "much better".  Those placed on statins were significantly more likely than those on placebo to report worsening in energy, fatigue with exertion, or both.  

Risk Benefits

Beatrice Golomb, MD:  "Side effects of statins generally rise with increasing dose, and these doses were modest by current standards.  Both statins contributed to the findings."  4 in 10 women on Zocor cited worsened energy and fatigue.  "Energy is central to quality of life.  It also predicts interest in activity....both lower energy and greater exertional fatigue may signal triggering of mechanisms by which statins may adversely affect cell health."  For these reasons, the authors suggest taking into account the risk-benefit determinations before prescribing statins. 

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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