Side Effects of Statins

Statins are some of the most widely prescribed medications in the world. They’re commonly prescribed for people who have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.

Statins can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and help prevent heart attack and stroke. If you already have cardiovascular disease, statins may help keep your condition from getting worse.

Statins may also help increase your levels of healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) — aka “good” cholesterol — and improve the health of your arteries.

Most people who take statins have no noticeable adverse side effects. But side effects can happen, especially if you have certain risk factors. Many of these effects are the same for all statins. Some statins have unique side effects, as well.

Here’s what to you should know.

Statin side effects

There are currently seven types of statins approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They include:

  • atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • fluvastatin
  • lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev)
  • pitavastatin (Livalo, Nikita)
  • pravastatin (Pravachol)
  • rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • simvastatin (Zocor)

Common side effects of all statins

Side effects reported by some people include muscle pain and digestive problems.

Muscle pain is the most common side effect caused by statin use. A 2014 assessment found that intolerance of statins is a real issue usually noted as muscle-related symptoms. It’s estimated that between 1 and 10 percent of muscle symptoms are related to statin use.

Rare side effects of all statins

While taking statins, there’s a small risk of:

  • memory loss or confusion
  • increased blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes
  • kidney or liver damage

Dark or bloody urine or pain in your upper abdomen or chest can be signs of serious kidney and liver disorders. If you have any of these symptoms while taking a statin, call your doctor right away.


Lovastatin generally causes fewer side effects than other, stronger statins. The most common side effects of this drug include:

  • digestive discomfort
  • infection symptoms
  • muscle pain or weakness

Taking lovastatin with a meal can sometimes ease digestive trouble.


When taken at high doses, simvastatin may be more likely to cause muscle pain than other statins. The more common side effects of taking higher doses of this drug also include:

  • dizziness
  • fast or irregular heartbeat


People taking pravastatin have reported fewer muscle aches and other side effects.

It’s generally well-tolerated with long-time use. However, the following side effects can occur with this drug:

  • muscle stiffness
  • painful joints


The most common side effects of atorvastatin use include:

  • headache
  • stuffy or runny nose


Fluvastatin is an alternative for people who have had muscle pain when taking other, stronger statins. However, side effects of this drug are still possible.

The most common side effects from using fluvastatin are:

  • diarrhea
  • joint pain
  • unusual tiredness or trouble sleeping
  • vomiting

Infection symptoms are other common side effects of using fluvastatin. Infection can cause:

  • chills
  • fever
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • sweating


Rosuvastatin has the highest rates of reported side effects. Taking a lower dose may reduce or eliminate uncomfortable side effects.

The most common side effects with rosuvastatin are:

  • headache
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain and stiffness
  • rash

What can put you at risk

Side effects are possible for anyone taking a drug. That said, certain factors can make it more likely that you’ll have side effects from taking a statin.

You’re more likely to have side effects if you:

  • take more than one medication to reduce cholesterol
  • are female
  • have a small body frame
  • are 65 years or older
  • have kidney or liver disease
  • drink a lot of alcohol

Learn more about the different types of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Talk to your doctor

Statin drugs can be valuable for managing your LDL and preventing heart disease. However, side effects may be a concern, especially if you have effects that are painful or bothersome.

If you have muscle pain or other side effects that you think are caused by taking a statin, talk to your doctor.

Don’t suddenly stop taking your prescribed medication without talking to your doctor. If you have side effects from the drug, your doctor might adjust your dosage or recommend a different statin.


The above article is courtesy of My EZ Health Guide and is intended for informational purposes only.

    Posted at 21:03h, 20 May


  • Robin Ardrey
    Posted at 19:42h, 17 May

    Very good information! Thanks for sharing.

  • David Morris
    Posted at 00:32h, 12 May

    It’s good to know the side effects of these drugs.

  • B. Tvr
    Posted at 22:31h, 10 May

    I’m curious, how would MD know which statin to prescribe? and, do the benefits outweigh the side effects/risks?

  • Kimberly smith
    Posted at 15:00h, 07 May


  • Anisha Welch
    Posted at 15:00h, 02 May

    Interesting article!

  • Kristin Meschke
    Posted at 02:33h, 26 April

    Good info!!

  • Cheryl Grose
    Posted at 14:10h, 16 April


  • Debra Bateson
    Posted at 23:31h, 10 April

    I take simvastatin I don’t any side affects

  • Kerrie Bates
    Posted at 14:35h, 10 April

    Good info ty

  • Kevin Klaine
    Posted at 14:11h, 10 April

    Good Information, I use this medicine and the joint pain is the worst part.

  • Mable Freeman
    Posted at 18:14h, 09 April

    Thank you and I wish I didn’t have to scroll all the way to the end of the comment to comment

  • Desmond Williams
    Posted at 17:36h, 09 April


  • Brian Bailey
    Posted at 17:06h, 09 April

    Interesting. My mother had to stop taking statins because of joint and muscle pain fr
    Them. I’m in simvastaton so I keep an eye out on side effects too

  • Kalor Riley
    Posted at 16:35h, 09 April


  • Donna taliaferro
    Posted at 15:45h, 09 April

    Good information

  • Randy Hines
    Posted at 15:42h, 09 April

    Great to know

  • Roger Moore
    Posted at 15:09h, 09 April

    Roger Moore great info thanks

  • Tiffany Cell
    Posted at 15:03h, 09 April

    Good information. I believe my grandmother is on at least one statin, so I’m going to check with my family.

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