Patients who take statins to lower their cholesterol are prone to fatigue, a new study suggests. According to a research letter published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, popular statin medications are associated with energy loss and "exertion fatigue" in patients who use such medications.
Dr. Beatrice Golomb from the University of California's Department of Medicine and her colleagues made the connection after completion of a study designed to assess statins effect on energy and fatigue.
In order to find the answer they recruited 1016 men and women for participation in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Statin Study. Patients eligible for the study had high LDL cholesterol but were free of diabetes and cardioascular disease. Upon recruitment, participants were randomly assigned to 20-mg simvastatin (a lipophilic statin), 40-mg privastatin (a hydrophilic statin) or placebo every night for a six month period.
Statins Reportedly Make People Tired
Participants reported that privastatin and simvastatin caused them to experience energy depletion and exercise fatigue, but participants on placebo did not experience such effects. Although men and women suffered energy loss and exertion fatigue, Golomb's team found that "women were disproportionately affected."
This is not the first time that scientists have found adverse effects associated with statin use. Results of the Women's Health Intitiative (WHI) study showed that non-diabetic post-menopausal women developed type 2 diabetes after taking statins.
Although the results of the WHI study are independent of the UCSD study, it underscores the need for careful consideration prior to taking such medications.
Regarding statin's impact on energy and fatigue, the research letter published in the 11 June 2012 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine went on to say: "These effects, germane to quality of life, merit consideration when prescribing or contemplating use of statins, particularly in groups without expected net morbidity/mortality benefit, extending to “high-risk” primary prevention and women and elderly persons (including those with coronary artery disease)."
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Golomb BA, Evans MA, Dimsdale JE, & White HL (2012). Effects of Statins on Energy and Fatigue With Exertion: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of internal medicine, 1-2 PMID: 22688574
"Statins Increase Fatigue, Study" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.