Statins May Sap Your Energy

By Amir Khan on June 12, 2012 11:21 AM EDT

statins
statins (Photo: ibtimes)

Statins -- medications aimed at lowering your cholesterol -- may be sapping your energy, according to a new study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday. People who take these drugs may feel fatigued and have less energy than they did before they started the medication.

"If you are finding it more difficult to sustain exercise or feel more fatigued, and take statins, I think it is worthwhile to tell your doctor," Dr. Beatrice Golomb, study author and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, told WebMD.

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The study included more than 1,000 participants. Half were given statins and the other half were given a placebo and were asked to rate their energy on a scale ranging from "much worse" to "much better." Researchers found that people taking statins were much more likely to experience fatigue than people taking the placebo.

"Fatigue is still quite important in and of itself," Golomb told WebMD. "Some people may experience improvement when they change to a different drug, while others may lower the dose or stop taking a statin altogether."

But some experts have been critical of the results.

"I am very concerned that this will be over-reacted to," Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the NYU Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, told ABC News. "Everyone is tired and patients want to blame anything else other than their bad lifestyle, lack of exercise, or sleeping habits."

But Golomb defended her study, saying the results are clear.

"These are randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled data," she told ABC News. "Here it is clear that... statin users were significantly more fatigued, and more intolerant to exercise."

Dr. Carl Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans, told ABC News that fatigue may have be added to the list of statin's side effects, but that people should not stop taking them.

"Statins have obviously the best track record for reducing heart attack and strokes," she told ABC News. "These benefits have to be weighed against these symptoms [of fatigue and exercise intolerance]... and in most cases prevention of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths should win out."

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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