Do Statins Really Cause Muscle Aches?

Many people who take the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs report that they cause muscle pain, but a randomized trial suggests that the pain is no different when they take a placebo pill.

In rare cases, statins are known to cause a severe muscle condition called rhabdomyolysis, in which skeletal muscle tissue is destroyed, leading to serious complications. But much more frequently, people complain that the drugs simply cause muscle pain.

Whether statins are responsible for the muscle pain, however, remains uncertain. Muscle pain has many causes and is common in the older age group using statins, so determining whether statins are causing the pain is not easy. Results from observational studies, along with many media reports, may have led some to unnecessarily discontinue a treatment that…

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