Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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October 07, 2006

Lipitor Neurological Side Effect: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer's

Lipitor and other statin drugs are well known for their degradation of muscle tissues and the sometimes excruciating pain that comes with this. What is less well known is that the progression of this muscle wasting side effect may lead to a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease or motor neurone disease, described as a chronic, progressive, almost invariably fatal neurological disease.


Duane 'Spacedoc' Graveline, author of Statin Drugs Side Effects: the misguided war on cholesterol

Statins are the absolute best sellers in the pharmaceutical armamentarium against "high cholesterol" which in itself is not a disease but has been heavily promoted as an indication of future cardiovascular trouble.

The use of these drugs is associated with serious side effects, most prominent is a degeneration of the muscular tissue and debilitating pain that comes with it. If you have any doubt whatsoever about this, please read two earlier articles on this site:

Lipitor - The Human Cost


Lipitor: Side Effects And Natural Remedy

Quite apart from the damning information in the articles themselves, you will see that literally hundreds of readers have added accounts of their personal experiences of the side effects of the statin drugs they are taking.

This can no longer be put this down to lack of information about the effects of these drugs. The pharmaceutical producers are hooked on the billions they are making and are doing everything possible to make the FDA and other regulatory agencies look the other way. Doctors are largely being kept in the dark as well. Perhaps you can help to bring the carnage to an end by copying this article plus the two earlier ones and making your doctor pay attention. There is little hope that the FDA or any other regulatory agency will act as long as the pharma manufacturers say that "everything's ok". We need a doctors' revolt.

But let's take a closer look now at nerve degeneration as a possible statin side effect. Duane Graveline, who is a former NASA scientist and astronaut as well as a medical doctor, has an explanation for the neurological effects of statins and it's not just theoretical. He has encountered many cases that suggest this is really happening.

Read his report here, including several accounts of ALS patients:

- - -


Another case just reported to me of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) associated with the use of statin drugs. Only a year ago the numbers of case reports of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis reported to my repository was a trickle - now it is a relative flood. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that the numbers of reports I am seeing now are far more than usually expected in a group the size of my reporting population. One naturally wonders about this curious relationship with statin drugs and what the possible mechanism of action might be.

Recently a neuroscientist, V. Meske, reported in the European Journal of Neuroscience a very relevant study about the ability of statin drugs to cause neuronal degeneration. To refresh your memory statin drugs are designed to inhibit cholesterol synthesis [in the liver] by their effect on the mevalonate pathway. It seems that a consequence of the inhibitory effect of statin drugs on the mevalonate pathway is the induction of abnormal tau protein phosphorylation. Tau protein phosphorylation goes on to form neurofibrillatory tangles, long known to be the prime suspect in causing the slowly progressive neuronal degeneration of Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes this process is accompanied by Beta amyloid deposition but more commonly not. Research scientists are now finding that this mechanism appears to be true for ALS and many other forms of neurodegenerative diseases as well. They have even coined a new word for this, the taupathies.

Statin associated taupathies or tauopathies may well be additional gross evidence of collateral damage to existing cellular chemistry that our researchers were unable to predict when they originally created the statins. All this from a class of drugs originally designed simply to inhibit the biosynthesis of cholesterol, which is a vital substance now proven to be irrelevant to the atherosclerotic process.

Very few primary care physicians are familiar with the association of statin drug use with ALS and most are disinclined to use warnings from websites such as mine about statin drug side effects, saying they are anecdotal. These “anecdotes” are the patient’s histories! Doctor Ellsworth Amidon, my Vermont College of Medicine professor of medicine, used to say, “Heed well the words of your patients, my young doctors, they are telling you the diagnosis.”

Most physicians feel that the pharmaceutical industry is on guard for side effects such as this and if no black box warning is out, the drug is safe. This is terribly naïve. Nor is FDA’s Medwatch an effective monitor of drug safety. My personal experience with Medwatch is that it is an adequate repository only. As an example, primary care physicians were denied the existence of statin associated amnesias until Wagstaff et al reported in Pharmacotherapy their 60 cases gleaned from a Medwatch review in 2003. I can only hope that readers of this paper, especially those having relevant symptoms, will bring this subject to the attention of their doctors. Print out this paper for them and urge them to check their own literature.

My first case report will demonstrate how carefully guarded the drug industry is about this relationship. “Hundreds of folders” might be an exaggeration but, as a specialist in both family practice and preventive medicine, even [the existence of] ten folders frightens me.

Duane Graveline MD MPH
Author, Statin Drugs Side Effects: the misguided war on cholesterol

- - - - -

Recent ALS patient case reports

“My dad died on 6/1/06 at the age of 65 from a six-year battle with ALS.  I said to my mom a million times that dad got ALS from taking Lipitor.  When he was taking it he would wake up in the middle of the night from severe muscle pain and cramping.  When he told his doctor about it, his doctor said, "Hey, I get aches and pains too, but that's life", then he doubled my father's dosage.  My dad finally was diagnosed with the ALS and kept taking the Lipitor because no one told him of any connection of his aches and pains and the Lipitor.  He went from stumbling, to falling down, to walking with arm braces, to a walker, to a wheelchair, to total paralysis except for his hands.  I watched him die from a disease that took away every bit of his pride and dignity because he needed help eating and going to the bathroom to being completely paralyzed and helpless. He was a proud, strong hard working carpenter and this disease turned him into a sobbing, completely petrified paralyzed person. My dad worked for an "extremely" wealthy man who finally sent him to and paid for him to see one of the United States top neurologists after he was diagnosed.  After seeing this doctor for a while I said to him that I thought my dad might have gotten ALS from taking Lipitor and the doctor said, “You see all of those folders behind me (there were hundreds)? He said, ”Those are all cases that pharmaceutical companies have sent me of people who are in law suits because they think they got ALS from their cholesterol-lowering medications and they want me to read them all over and decide if I think that is the case or not.” He said, “In your father's case, honestly I'm just not sure.” Well I know Lipitor gave my dad ALS no matter what anyone says.  It took away my four small children's grandpa and memories they will never have with him.  I just wish doctors would inform their patients before they prescribed them a medication of the side effects and risks of that medication so the patient could decide if they wanted to risk it or not.  Maybe if someone told my dad this from the beginning he would have opted to lower his cholesterol in another way.”

- - -

“Sadly, I did not stop taking the Lipitor in time. After feeling back to normal for a short time I took a sudden downturn and was diagnosed with ALS last week. I am losing strength and mobility every day. I would like to join any lawsuit against Pfizer.”

- - -

“The first neurologist gave Dad about an hour long electrode and needle test in arms and legs (we were in the room and watched) and provided us a medical/technical written report several full pages long to take to our second opinion.  He was pretty sure it was ALS, but emphasized we needed to go to an ALS-specialized neurologist. Right now we are focused on his health and the battle against Lipitor.”

- - -
“My neurologist has done a complete turn in his diagnosis. A few weeks ago he told me that he didn't think that my speech and swallowing problems were caused by Lipitor and that he thinks that I DO have ALS! Well, he calls my problems "atypical" ALS because I have d teriorated slowly. At this point in time I have had problems for almost three years. Currently, I can barely speak and my speech is pretty unintelligible. Further, I have such great difficulty in swallowing that I can only eat pureed food and I have lost a lot of weight. I am tired a lot, feeling weak and my breathing has declined somewhat. I have been off statins for 2 1/2 years and that has not restored my vigor.”

- - -

“I am a veterinary pathologist, that does a lot of neuropathology, and unfortunately, I am the patient with neurologic issues currently. I have been on Lipitor 40mg qd for 6 years (increased from 20 mg qd 2 years ago). Over the past 2 years, I have noticed increased weakness, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and very significant loss of muscle mass (postural muscles, laryngeal muscles, legs/arms, etc.).  The loss of muscle mass in the lower legs has led to significant edema, which was the main clinical signs that my physicians were focusing on to try and explain. After some consideration, I became convinced that I had ALS.  I have also experienced short-term memory loss, have trouble finding the right word, have trouble dictating my biopsy cases fluidly, and have significant depression. I have a referral with a neurologist tomorrow for an initial evaluation.” 

- - -

I came across your website while doing some research concerning the side effects of cholesterol medication.  My mom has been taking cholesterol medication for 15 years now.  Recently the past couple months she has been showing signs of ALS.  These symptoms include muscle weakening in the arms, tingling, twitching, slurred speech, fatigue, neck aches, and an overall mood change.  She went to see a couple different doctors and they have taken her off her medication.  One of the doctors told her that she has ALS. I am not convinced that she has ALS.  I still have a strong feeling that this has something to do with her cholesterol medication.  She has always watched her diet and before all these major symptoms occurred, she was working out really hard. We are in serious need for some answers.  I am so worried about my mom.  She is only 48 years old and her spirits are so low.”

- - -

“I would first like to thank you for all your work.  It never really occurs to you that one day you may have to face a diagnosis like this until it happens.  It is incredibly uplifting to have people like yourself offering information like this to all of us!  However I have a question or request... My mother (65yrs old) has been healthy her entire life until recently being diagnosed with ALS.  In our efforts to put her on more medications I noticed she has been taking these statin drugs for about a year now (Zocor & Lipitor).  My question to you... how strong are the relationships between statin drugs and ALS or side affects similar to ALS?  Are there any doctors out there that truly understand the relationship and are willing to consult us on what we can do to help my mother?  Any names would be incredibly appreciated.” 

- - -

“Hello, I was on Lipitor for three years; complained of hand and stomach cramps to my doctor and stayed on the drug; finally went to see a neurologist who promptly diagnosed me with ALS and gave me three to nine months to live.  My sense is that Lipitor affects the myelin sheath -- is this correct?“

- - -
“I have a scheduled appt. with a neurologist.  I found out my Creatinine Kinase was 386 on March 31, 2005 and was taken off Lipitor.  I asked for my old records and found that it was at 237 in February of 2004 and was taking Lipitor for 14Mo  (20mg per day). With all the research I have done, I feel this was the cause, however, my doctor said he does not know what is wrong with me.  Since January 2004, MS was ruled out and but I have lost fine motor skills and walk unsteady.  Have weakness and loss of muscle in hands.  I fell down the stairs last week.  Do you think this could be from the statins and is there a cure?  I work a physical job, need my income and I am only 55 yrs old.  Please advise... Thank you.” 

- - -

“My mom has been on cholesterol medication for almost 15 years. She is only 48 years old. The medicine she has been on ranged from all different types of statin drugs. The last being Zocor and then a switch to Vytorin. She has always suffered from stomach problems and then the last couple years she has noticed muscle weakening in her hands and cramping. After vigorously exercising recently, the problems seemed to get worse. There is not much muscle left in her hands and she finds that her arms are very weak. Her muscles are easily tired and after a recent EMG she has noticed twitching throughout her body. She also seems to have slurring in her speech and difficulty writing. Basically the doctors are leaning towards ALS. I just have a hard time believing that this is the answer. Could it be possible that these really are side effects from the Statin Drugs?? Supposedly her EMG results were not great and the last doctor she saw seemed to think it was ALS. She has been off the statin drugs for 2 months now. Her symptoms are not any worse; they have pretty much stayed the same. I am so worried about her, but refuse to believe that she has a life threatening disease. I'm just trying to get my mom back.”

- - -

“I have a preliminay diagnosis of ALS. I am a 57 year-old male and have been on Simvistatin (Zocor) for 12+ years at 60mg a day. I am a medically retired pilot. Last Thanksgiving I thought at first I had had a stroke but over time I realized that this was no stroke as muscle weakness and movement were getting worse. A CT scan ruled out stroke so they sent me to a neurologist and he has made the preliminary diagnosis. I have an MRI, EMG and Nerve velocity test coming up. I have stopped taking Zocor (gradually) and it seems that symptoms have leveled off. Maybe wishfull thinking but they are definately not progressing at the rate they were. I am not getting any better at this time but not getting worse as far as I can see.”

- - -

“I am a 48 year-old woman. I have been on various statin drugs for 13 years. I have been on Zocor the most. About 2 years ago, the Dr. put me on Zocor and Zetia 20/10 mg. After a while, I started getting muscle cramps in my hands, legs, neck, and abdomen. I complained to the Dr. about it but he said to try and tolerate it because my numbers were so good. About a year ago, he switched me to Vytorin. After about a month or two, I noticed that my hands were getting weak---I had difficulty with buttons and zippers and tying. Upon starting the Vytorin, I also started a vigorous exercise routine of running 4 miles 3 to 4 times a week and doing a boot camp routine. I then I noticed I had trouble doing lateral lifts with my right arm. I thought I had a weight lifting injury and then I thought I had carpal tunnel. Went to see my Dr. who noticed I had muscle atrophy between my thumb and index finger on my right hand. Thank God I'm left-handed. He sent me to a neurologist who did all the tests, MRI, EMG, nerve, etc. After the EMG, I started twitching all over. I couldn't even sleep. The neuro said I was probably in the early stages of ALS. I have been off statins for about 4 mos now. I haven't gotten any worse for which I am grateful. Whenever I overdo physically, I pay for it. On my last visit to the neuro, he was surprised at how strong I still am. He still thinks I am in the early stages of ALS but then added that he wouldn't "bet the farm on it". This comment gave me hope.”

Duane Graveline MD MPH

- - -

An interesting post found on the Alternative Medicine Forum Yahoo group, which confirms that statin induced neuropathy is well recognized and reported more and more often. Even "official" medicine is starting to recognize that something's not right in statin land...

Posted by: "madelyn levy"
Date: Thu Oct 12, 2006

the neuromuscular diseases in the following case presentations fall under the heading of "mitochondrial cytopathies" -- due to mitochondrial dysfunction. there are many other neuromuscular diseases thought to be due to mitochondrial disfunction -- Parkinson's, ALS and Alzheimer's:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 26 - Patients with asymptomatic neuromuscular disorders may have their condition precipitated by statin use, according to investigators from the University of Athens Medical School.

Dr. Panagiota Manta and colleagues describe four such cases in the July 24th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Case 1 was a 46-year-old man with a history of hypertension and diabetes mellitus who was prescribed pravastatin for hypercholesterolemia. Three months later, he complained of fatigue, muscle pain and stiffness. Serum creatine kinase levels were persistently elevated. After stopping the drug, creatine kinase levels fell somewhat and there was mild symptom improvement. Mild myopathy was seen on needle electromyography and muscle biopsy showed numerous internal nuclei, nuclear clumps and variations in fiber size. Genetic testing revealed myotonic dystrophy.

Case 2 was a 62-year-old man with a history of MI and diabetes. Hypercholesterolemia was treated with simvastatin. Creatine kinase levels became persistently elevated and did not return to normal after drug discontinuation. Biopsy was positive for muscle enzyme activity. He was eventually diagnosed with McArdle disease.

Case 3 was a 51-year-old man with hypertension and hypercholesterolemia who was hospitalized with acute rhabdomyolytis after taking atorvastatin for 18 months. Exercise intolerance and muscle pain persisted for months after discontinuation of statin therapy. Some time later, he was diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy.

The last case was a 58-year-old man with a history of hypertension, hyperuricemia and coronary artery disease. He began treatment with pravastatin. Shortly after a dose increase, he developed muscle twitching, muscle cramps and difficulty walking. Like the other cases, there was only mild symptom improvement and a modest decline in creatine kinase levels after the statin was discontinued. He was eventually diagnosed with Kennedy disease.

Statin-induced neuropathy is well recognized and reported more and more often, Dr. Manta's group notes. These four cases show that statins can also trigger underlying neuromuscular conditions.

The investigators suggest that if neuromuscular symptoms persist after discontinuation of statin therapy, clinicians should "pursue further diagnostic evaluations for the detection of underlying neuromuscular disease."

Arch Intern Med 2006;166:1519-1524.

See also:

A Danish study reports that some people who took statin drugs to lower cholesterol developed a type of nerve damage called polyneuropathy. Polyneuropathy is characterized by tingling, numbness and burning pain as well as decreased sensitivity to temperature or pain. When a person suffers nerve damage, a doctor is supposed to look for a cause, such as diabetes, lack of vitamin B12, Lyme disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease or alcohol abuse. People who had taken statins and developed polyneuropathies were checked for known causes of nerve damage. Researchers showed that people taking statins were 4 to 14 times more likely to develop polyneuropathy than those who did not take statins. Statins include Lescol, Lipitor, Mevacor, and Pravachol. Check with your doctor about any side effects from your medications.
Reference: Neurology May 14, 2002;58:1321-1322, 1333-1337

Lipitor, Neuromuscular Degeneration, and Recovery
... cholesterol balance can be achieved without drugs, simply and safely by taking 3000-6000 milligrams of vitamin C per day, 1000-2000 mg per meal, for an adult, or about 500 mg per meal for a 50-lb. child, with sufficient water intake, 2 quarts per day for an adult, 1 quart per day for a 50-lb. child. Unfortunately, vitamin C was misclassified as a micronutrient in the 1930s and 1940s, rather than an essential nutrient involved in dozens of body processes, including continual repair of our arteries.

If you have been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease or Motor Neuron Disease, you may want to check out this site: "ERIC IS WINNING" - Beating a terminal illness with nutrition, avoiding toxins & common sense

Do Statins Raise the Risk of Parkinson's?
A study in the United States has found that patients with low levels of LDL cholesterol are three times more likely to have Parkinson's disease. The researchers are planning largescale trials to determine whether the drugs are the cause ... experts sought to reassure patients that statins were safe and should not be stopped.

New Study To Test Statin-Parkinson's Link
Researchers are sufficiently worried by new study results that they are planning clinical trials involving thousands of people to examine the possible link between Parkinson's disease and statins, the world's biggest selling drugs, reports Patrick Walter in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI. Suggestions of a statin link are not new, but the results of a recent study linking low LDL cholesterol to Parkinson's provide the strongest evidence to date that it could be real, because statins work by reducing LDL cholesterol. The study by researchers at University of North Carolina showed that patients with low levels of LDL cholesterol are more than three and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those with higher LDL levels.

Do Statins Make You Stupid?
The Wall Street Journal highlights one interesting example:

A San Diego woman, Jane Brunzie, was so forgetful that her daughter was investigating Alzheimer's care for her and refused to let her babysit for her 9-year-old granddaughter. Then the mother stopped taking a statin. "Literally, within eight days, I was back to normal it was that dramatic," says Mrs. Brunzie, 69 years old.

Doctors put her on different statins three more times. "They'd say, 'Here, try these samples.' Doctors don't want to give up on it," she says. "Within a few days of starting another one, I'd start losing my words again," says Mrs. Brunzie.

First comprehensive paper on statins' adverse effects released
"Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs' adverse side effects," said Golomb. "But cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy, or pain or numbness in the extremities like fingers and toes, are also widely reported." A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur as side effects from statins.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Saturday October 7 2006
updated on Tuesday July 31 2012

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Lipitor: Side Effects And Natural Remedy
Serious side effects have been reported for Lipitor and other cholesterol-lowering drugs - the so-called statins - prescribed to millions for preventive purposes. The prescription of these drugs is based on the discredited hypothesis that high cholesterol levels cause heart attacks. The cholesterol myth has been one of the most long lived falsehoods around - probably because it has been excellent business, both for large pharma producers as well as... [read more]
March 18, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Lipitor - The Human Cost
Lipitor, a cholesterol lowering drug made by Pfizer and sold to millions of health conscious but ill informed patients, is one of the most profitable drugs the pharmaceutical industry has ever come up with. Sales account for a quarter of Pfizer's $ 32 billion annual sales. Expected to gross more than $ 10 billion this year, Lipitor is poised to become the largest-selling pharmaceutical in history, surpassing Pfizer's other wonder... [read more]
January 31, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Lawsuits Filed Over Lipitor Side Effects
The following should be of interest to all who should like to add their voice to the said lawsuit. Chris Gupta ---------------------------- Chris, the attached re statin side effects will interest you. I think many of your huge audience will be interested. I think we have turned the tide. Duane My book, "Statin Drugs Side Effects", is now available from my website ( Duane Graveline MD MPH 4414 Cormorant Lane... [read more]
June 11, 2006 - Chris Gupta

Lipitor - Vioxx: Discovering The Statin - Painkiller Chain Reaction
The recent withdrawal of Merck's blockbuster painkiller Vioxx may actually afford us a glimpse of a chain of events that is normally well hidden in research papers, at best selectively disclosed to the medical community. Vioxx and other new-generation painkillers such as Bextra and Celebrex have all come under fire for their tendency to cause an increase of heart attacks. Statin Drugs, such as Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lesocol and Mevacor... [read more]
December 06, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Call For A Senate Finance Committee Hearings On Statin Side Effects
This and Health Supreme blogs have already had 100s and continue to, just about daily, get comments regarding major side effects from Statin drugs. Many are ready to join a class action against the drug makers. See: Lawsuits Filed Over Lipitor Side Effects Class Action - Statins Increases Heart Disease By 10% In Women Frequently Asked Questions About Statins Here is another action anyone in the U.S. can do, as... [read more]
September 12, 2006 - Chris Gupta

Vitamin C beats statins in cholesterol - heart disease
The solution to high cholesterol and therefore heart attacks - tell us Astra Zeneca and Pfizer, two of the heavyweights in pharmaceutical remedies - is to take their drugs, Crestor and Liptor respectively. According to what Dr. Mercola tells us in one of his recent articles - Crestor and Other Statins: Are They Really Worth the Risk? - there are serious side effects to these drugs, one of them being... [read more]
November 09, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger




Readers' Comments

Thanks Sepp for your articles about statins. I have a good friend who was put on a statin several years ago. She has been having many side-effects and the doctors just give her more drugs to cover up these side-effects. I did some research and sent it to her; she successfully went off it, with the help of info from Dr Graveline's website. Unfortunately, she is again taking it though. She lives in the USA and her doctor scared her into taking it again by threatening to report her for 'non compliance'.

Posted by: Shan on October 10, 2006 10:54 PM


See also:

Statin Drugs & Memory Loss

Statins May Cause Nerve Damage

Posted by: Chris Gupta on October 11, 2006 08:25 AM


i will like to know if medications for hypertension, such as Zoloft and Isoptin(verapamilo) includes some statin in their components?

My husband has been diagnosed ALS 2 years ago.


Posted by: marita nieri on November 1, 2006 05:39 PM



Zoloft is an antidepressant.

Here is a page that discusses its use and side effects.

Isoptin is a calcium channel blocker.

None of the two are statins or contain statins, as far as I can ascertain.

Posted by: Sepp on November 2, 2006 06:21 AM


A few years ago I started taking liptor. Ive been hurting all over a few years now Im off liptor for about 6mo. My creatinine kinase is still 395. Im only 35 will I ever quit hurting?

Posted by: William E Fisher on November 27, 2006 08:00 PM



Posted by: LOUIS KAPLAN on December 27, 2006 05:47 AM


If diet and exercise are not sufficient to lower elevated cholesterol and you require a medication but are suffering from aches and pains that reduce your quality of life ask your doctor to stop the medication and instead try a cholesterol crush border inhibitor such as Ezetrol. Unfortunately case reports linking a relatively common disease (ALS) - 2 per 100,000 and taking a very commonly prescribed medication (in the tens of millions) say nothing about an association between the two let alone imply a cause an effect. As an MD interested in preventative medicine you should know better. We need more good science and less speculation that urges people to stop a medication that in many instances they truly need and are benefiting from.

Posted by: MD on March 9, 2007 08:18 PM



I suggest you take a look at the comments on two articles on this site. Especially read the comments that were posted by people actually taking the drugs:

Lipitor: Side Effects And Natural Remedy


Lipitor - The Human Cost

and then tell me that we should not look for information that could explain the atrocious effects of these statins, or why anyone would continue to encourage people to take them, unless they were making a more-than-handsome profit from selling the stuff.

Do we have to go the same way as with Vioxx, where tens of thousands had to die before the drug was finally taken off the market?

Posted by: Sepp on March 10, 2007 05:58 AM


1. Most physicians make $0 from Lipitor or anything to do with it. In fact, makes for more paperwork if anything. If it wasn't for the benefit demonstrated in clinical trials - no one would even entertain prescribing it.

2. When making statements such as lipitor is a possible cause of neuromuscular degeneration, cite something scientific as there are ZERO reported cases of ALS or anterior horn disease related to lipitor. If such a case was found it would be easily published as it would be a VERY concerning finding.

In short ... it is always a positive to stimulate discussion. When a patient chooses not to take a medication recommended by a physician that is not only ok, it is their right. The importance of conveying the accurate risk AND benefits of a medication is paramount. Clouding patient's minds with inaccuracies, suspicions, hunches, speculations can hurt or kill a patient by stopping them from taking a medication that in their individual situation would have been beneficial.

There are risks every medication but there are also benefits.

Posted by: MD2 on March 14, 2007 06:33 PM


MD2 (MD in disguise?

So doctors make no money from prescribing meds? Where do you live - what century?

Clinical trials demonstrate little to no benefit from statins OR from lowered cholesterol on mortality from heart disease.

And have you seen the video that documents how pharmaceutical companies shamelessly exaggerate the benefits of drugs and hide the side effects, in their quest to make billions in profits while patients are left to hold the bag?

I really recommend you take a look. The video can be found here:

Video: Big Bucks, Big Pharma

Posted by: Sepp on March 15, 2007 02:01 PM


Again, $0 from Lipitor or from prescribing ANY med, I don't speak for all physicians but for the majority. I am certain those selling "Alternative" health supplements make $0 from the supplements they directly sell to their clients. It would be nice to have a forum to discuss these issues in earnest as they do have some merit. Unfortunately individuals such as yourself thrive not from actually helping people but from preying on the ill to sell them unsubstantiated alternatives. I don't defend the pharmaceuticals as it is true they lack any moral fiber but the majority of doctors out there work hard to help their patients not sacrifice them for pharmaceutical dollars.

Posted by: MD2 (Not MD in disguise on March 16, 2007 06:02 PM


Well, the zero dollar claim for the majority of physicians may be technically correct, but a large number of physicians are being paid by pharma. Data are just starting to come to light on this:

How Much Are Drug Companies Really Paying Your Doctor?

Posted by: Sepp on March 21, 2007 02:23 PM


I am under doctor's care through Veterans Administration. If I quit taking Sivistatin will I give up my rights to be treated by the VA? I had a heartscan and they found no blocked coronary arteries, they said my 70 year old arteries were ones a 40 year old wished he had.

I have had some minor muscle cramping and isolated pains in my legs and arms since starting simvistatin.

I have also had bruising that is not normal for me.

Should I quit taking it?

Posted by: Don Yarber on April 11, 2007 06:25 AM



that decision is yours and only yours to make.

I certainly would search for more information on the side effects of statins, Lipitor, Zocor, etc. You should also talk with your doctor about what you find. Perhaps he has ideas of what else you can do apart from taking a statin drug, if you ask...

Posted by: Sepp on April 11, 2007 10:46 AM


My sister\'s physician prescribed Zocor about March 2006. Within two weeks she began stumbling and falling. She had problems with her gait and keeping her balance. The problem worsened and after about 3 month of use, she discontinued taking Zocor. Her condition did not improve. She bagan walking with a cane, then a walker, all the time being referred from one specialists to another. In September she was sent to the University of Alabama research in Birmingham where she was diagnosed with ALS. Within a month of the diagnosis she was completely confined to a wheelchair. The muscle weakness has now affected all parts of her body. She cannot move her feet and legs, even turn over in bed. She cannot raise her arms, has problems breathing, swallowing, unable to cough, even blow her nose. She can say no more than a few words at a time and it is very difficuly to understand what she is saying. From the beginning, we believed the ALS was triggered by the Zocor.

A class action suit should be filed against the manufacturer of these drugs and they should be removed from the market.

Posted by: cora on June 7, 2007 10:40 PM


My husband died last year of ALS and I feel it was caused by Lipitor. He became totally paralyzed. I would like to join any lawsuit available just to get these drugs off the market.

Posted by: Eileen Knobeloch on July 11, 2007 10:21 PM


Two of my well built 6 footer colleagues in 2 different continents in their mid to late 50s were diagnosed with ALS, one is dead and the other is progressively becoming weaker. I know for sure, the one that is alive was on statin and I cannot confirm the dead colleagues\'s status for sure but he too was most likely taking statins. I think persons on statins should be very careful and bring to the attention of the attending physician, the possible link between statins and ALS. The colleague who is still struggling to stay alive says, I would rather have my lungs and breathe now without difficulty, than worry about cholesterol clogging my arteries twenty years from now. This colleague was a person with tremendous strength some twenty years ago when I first met him and he scored a home run in every innings in our local soft ball and he had never played baseball before. He had only played cricket. It is sad to see him in his current state.

Posted by: Girish J. Kotwal, Ph.D. on August 28, 2007 07:22 AM


I am a pathologist, who was on Lipitor for seven years, and I now have ALS. Ralph Edwards of the WHO did a study on 172 people on statins and found that 40 of them developed ALS. I have no doubt in my mind that Lipitor caused my ALS. What I would like to know is if there is some class action that we can take. I have been to see my lawyer and I want to take legal action against Pfizer

Posted by: Lafras Steyn (RSA) on August 29, 2007 09:01 AM


The web site has been messed up and the message that Lafras Steyn (RSA wrote is now being attributed to other contributors. Please check what has happened.

Posted by: Girish J. Kotwal on December 8, 2007 11:30 AM


Thank you Girish, for bringing this to my attention. There seems to have been a hack of the comments causing this problem. It is now resolved and I believe I have recovered the correct comments again.

Posted by: Sepp on January 2, 2008 07:00 AM


Prof. Lafras Steyn has passed away from a two year battle with ALS, which as he says in his August 29, 2007 posting here that he was taking Lipitor for 7 years and he attributed it to his ALS. May his soul rest in peace and my deepest sympathies to his three children who I have know since they were toddlers and his loved ones.

Posted by: Girish J. Kotwal on February 6, 2008 12:39 PM


Is there a link between statins and cancer? I don't know of any, but one of my close friends who has been taking statins along with other medications soon after his heart attack some 3-4 years ago has recently been diagnosed with rather serious form of cancer. If anyone knows of any links, please educate me.

Posted by: Girish J. Kotwal on February 12, 2008 11:47 AM



try these articles for more information on statin drugs and cancer:

Statins And Our Immune System

Statin Drugs & Breast Cancer

Low Cholesterol Found To Increase Cancer Risk

Posted by: Sepp on February 12, 2008 01:50 PM


Thanks a lot Sepp for that very interesting link but a little more research in my friends cause has come up with a pattern in his work place where 80 of the deaths were due to cancers of the GI track and possibly because the building in which they worked was a closed high rise building that was built on a chemical dump. It is not totally impossible that the statins may have served as tumor promoters or created a situation where there was a breakdown in tumor immunity due to the statins but these are downstrem effects and the real underlying cause were most likley the high concentration of carcinogens.

Posted by: Girish J. Kotwal on February 20, 2008 12:04 PM


God Bless all of you wonderful people!

With All Best Wishes for God's Blessings,


Posted by: Michael DeVito on February 21, 2008 08:24 PM


On the CBS news this morning there was a report that one of the side effects of statins is tendonitis in those who excercise. I was not aware of this until now, but I did have tendonitis which I thought was due to the vigorous excercise or long treks. Luckily I stopped my statin intake in September for fear of ALS but my tendonitis has also gone. There are some new over-the-counter natural products called phytosterols that have been claimed to reduce cholesterol by 20 percent. I have been taking those supplements. Bear in mind that these may not reduce the cholesterol produced by the body which is about 80 percent of the cholesterol and that any changes in medication have to be carried out in consultation with your own physician. Wonder what other side effects are going to emerge from these block buster wonder drugs from the class of statins.

Posted by: Girish J. Kotwal, Ph.D on February 29, 2008 10:58 AM


I was on Lipitor for 3 months, then combined with the extreme muscle fatigue and pain with a deadly hospital acquired bacteria (C. Diff), I am lucky to be alive right now.

But now, I am disabled and slipping into what I know is lymphoma and am very close to a wheelchair. I tell everyone that will listen that high cholesterol is NOT A DISEASE! There is something going on in their body that will reveal itself.

When I grew up, I was taught to respect doctors and the doctors of 30 years ago really knew so much more of what they were doing. I have been to over 30 doctors and the Mayo Clinic to find out how to get my life back and no one seems to care. They have a 10 minute conversation with you and collect $300-$500 dollars for insurance. I will only have insurance one more year but don't know what else to do. Lymphoma and Leukocytosis is finally rearing its head after so many doctors told me it was all in MY head.

A LOT of doctors today are SHAMEFUL with the pushing of this drug. I wish I would have been smarter earlier. Now I check everything before I take it but I still can't walk, breathe, get out of bed etc.

Thank you to such a forum to know that I am not alone.

I can tell you, that what helped me, believe it or not (and it was a learning curve), was lymphatic drainage massage, followed immediately with colon hydrotherapy and acupuncture that is when I felt the best. Along with CO Q 10 with the purest form of Vitamin C. That was at my best, but now my savings are gone and I am bound by my fixed income and even fighting for that.

I live alone and don't know how much longer I can go on. Soon I won't be able to take care of myself. I also have a back injury from severe turbulence as a Flight Attendant for 15 years. I have lost everything. A place at the beach in Cali, trips to Hawaii and Sydney for work and everywhere else on my days off. I am SO grateful that I did those things. Maybe I instinctively knew I would end up this way.

I will pray for all of you! That you will find some kind of peace and acceptance in this horrible situation of chronic illness.

A good book....Dancing At the River's about living with chronic illness.


Posted by: Kelly on February 13, 2010 11:03 AM


I am concerned that the VA here in Iowa prescribes simvastatin almost as if it were candy. They even try to prescribe it to men whose cholesterol levels are well within normal limits. I think there is a conflict of interest because the VA is doing research on simvastatin while prescribing it to a lot of veterans. I also think that the side effects can be missed if the patient already has an existing condition such as carpal tunnel. Many patients can also be convinced to blame any memory problems on their age or something else, instead of blaming the simvastatin that may be what is really causing it.

Posted by: Linda Myatt on August 3, 2010 06:55 PM


My brother inlaw died of ALS brought on by Lipitor. He left behind a wife and three children. Thanks to Lipitor, he'll never know how his children turned out. He died 18 months after his first symptom. Now Lipitor strikes again, my aunt was on Lipitor and was just diagnosed yesterday with ALS. This is no fluke...there is a connection. The drug should be pulled from the market before ALS becomes Pandemonium!

Posted by: Brenda Jesky on March 22, 2011 02:13 PM


A good friend of ours passed away last week following a 15 month battle with Motor Neuron Disease. He was never ill in his 69 year life. He started showing symptoms like slurring speech and tongue weakness only 2-4 weeks (!!) after taking Lipitor for the first time in his life in February 2010. He gradually deteriorated, lost muscle strength etc, until diagnosed with MND 6 months later. It was so sad to see what happened to him. He told me himself that he assumed the Lipitor had brought this upon him. They were the only medicin he took at the time. DESPITE DISCONTINUED USE OF LIPITUR AFTER A FEW WEEKS, THE ILLNESS COULD NOT BE STOPPED! Please do be careful before taking this drug! If you do take it, please stop immediately for your own sake! It is clear why the pharma industry looks away! But why do Doctors not stop prescribing this obvious deadly drug?

Posted by: Peter on June 21, 2011 06:33 PM


I was put on Simmvistaten 20mg after taking that dosage my cholesteral bloodwork came back at 147. My MD cept me on the same med ,but changed the dosage to 40 mg. bloodwork came back at 127.That was still higher than he wanted it so he changed my med to Atorvastatin(gen. for lipitor). this was 2 weeks ago. I took the pill in the AMS. when I went to bed that night,arms seemed just a little sore when lying down.Took the pill the next AM, pain in arms was little worse that night.The next day I had pain alot all day in both arms.Sleeping was also bad! At this point I was putting Bio-freese on both arms from my shoulder to my wrist.Also taking ibuprofin every 6 hrs.Still taking the pill in the ams,I made a call to the Dr office and talked to the nurse. She was going to talk to the DR. and get back to me.I went to work,was doing ok,then I went on break,sat in my car,called the DR. again cause they didn't call back.Talked to another nurse,DR. hadn't adressed it yet. They would call when he did.When I got back in from break,my arms hurt so bad all I could do was cry!!I made it through work with Bi-freese and ibuprofin.This was day 4 on the med.On day 5, I made it through work with Bio-freese and ibuprofin again.Dr called and said to stop the med. Day 6- I pulled weeds outside for 15 min, drove to town and got groceries, started driving out of town and the pain was so unbearable in both arms I was sitting on the side of the road crying! My cardiologist was at hosp. in my town,so I called crying, begging them to squeese me in. They did! Said to not take the med anymore. He can't say the pain in arms is not from the med,cause it started right after starting the med, but he said he can't rule out heart trouble either. I go for a stress test on the heart next Wed. I saw him on Thur. Both Thursday and Fri. I missed work, and the pain in both arms is unbearable!! I use the Bio-freese like every 1 to 2 hrs(both arms. from shoulders to wrist) And alternate ibuprofin and tylenol every 3 hours, with relief only for a short time. The pain starts with driving,carrying my purse, laying at night, always both arms. At times I get short of breath, but it's the pain that gets me!I'm getting scared, and don't know what to do for the pain,cause what I'm doing isn't working! I took the pill for 5 days, and have been off 5 days now, with little or no relief. I think I was on this med at sometime in the past and had to stop because of musle pain?

Posted by: Patti Manthey on July 29, 2012 10:42 PM


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