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Postby chicountry » Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:04 pm

Although it has been 7 years since my cancer surgery, I just recently developed lymphedema. While my doctor does not agree, I am convinced there is a connection to the statins recently prescribed to lower my cholesterol. Unfortunately I did not research these drugs until after the lymphedema symptoms began, nor was I advised to take CO Q10 when using statins. I have had this condition just over 1 month and have already encountered another person who had not lymphedema symtoms for 5 years after surgery and developed the condition within 2 months of statin use. I am curious to know if there are more.
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Postby patoco » Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:35 pm

Hii Chicountry

Super welcome to our family here :!: :!: :)

Mind you, I'm not a doc, so my opinions are of a humble lay person.

But, I think you are more on the right track here then the doctor.

From what I have studied on statins, edema is a big complication. It very well could have been that the swelling started off as edema from the statins. Then because you were already at risk for lymphedema and had a weakened lymph system, this edema overloaded the lymphatics thus triggering the lymphedema.

If I'm not mistaken a majority of cancer patients with lymphedema, don't have it until a "triggering" event. In this case the statin caused edema.

These are incredibly powerful drugs that haven't been researched enough for their safety.

Here are just a few interesting items I found.


Statin Drugs

(HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors)
by Karen Schroeder, MS, RD

Type of Medication

3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, commonly referred to as "statins"

Medications and Their Commonly Used Brand Names

Generic name Brand name


Brand name


What They are Prescribed For

Hypercholesterolemia or dyslipidemia - high levels of LDL-cholesterol in the blood. May be accompanied by low levels of HDL-cholesterol and/or high levels of triglyceride.

Before prescribing medication to lower your cholesterol, your doctor will probably suggest that you try to control the levels of cholesterol in your blood through dietary means and exercise. This involves reducing your intake of total fat, saturated fat, sugar, and cholesterol. Some, but not all people are able to lower their cholesterol through dietary changes and exercise. Medicine is prescribed only when additional help is needed, and is most effective in combination with a reduced-fat diet and regular exercise.

How Statins Work

Statins block an enzyme in the liver (HMG-CoA reductase) responsible for producing cholesterol. They are particularly effective at reducing LDL-cholesterol.

Precautions While Using These Medicines

See Your Doctor Regularly
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, to allow for dosage adjustments and to help monitor for any side effects.

Avoid Pregnancy

Statins should not be taken during pregnancy. These medicines block the production of cholesterol, which is essential for normal fetal development, and therefore may cause birth defects. Use birth control while taking a statin drug, and tell your doctor if you think you might be pregnant or you are considering becoming pregnant. Also tell your doctor if you are breast feeding, as statins may cause problems for a nursing baby.

Control Your Weight

If you are overweight or obese, losing weight may help decrease the dose you need, or whether you need the medication at all. Check with your doctor about this.

Manage Your Medications

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take; some should not be taken with statins, while others may require a different dosage level. These include:

Antifungals - fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral)

Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, SangCya)

Digoxin (Lanoxin) - Use with atorvastatin, fluvastatin, or simvastatin may increase blood levels of digoxin, increasing the risk of side effects.

Macrolide antibiotics - erythromycin (E-Base, E-Mycin, ERYC, Ery-Tab, EES, EryPed, Erythro, Erythrocin, Erythro cot, Ilotycin, Ilosone, My-E, PCE, Wintrocin) and clarithromycin (Biaxin)

Fibric acid derivatives - gemfibrozil (Lopid), fenofibrate (TriCor), clofibrate (Atromid)

Niacin or nicotinic acid - (Endur-Acin, Nia-Bid, Niac, Niacels, Niacor, Nico-400, Nicobid Tempules, Nicolar, Nicotinex Elixir, Slo-Niacin) - Use of this type of medicine with a statin may increase the risk of developing muscle problems and kidney failure.

Oral contraceptives/birth control pills (estrogens and progestins) - Some statin drugs may increase the blood levels of the hormones in birth control pills, increasing the risk of side effects.
Danazol (Danocrine)

Nefazodone (Serzone)

Anti-retroviral protease inhibitors - saquinavir (Invirase), ritonavir (Norvir), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), amprenavir (Agenerase)

Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin) - Use with simvastatin may increase the risk of muscle problems

Be cautious with Certain Medical Conditions

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of statins. Tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Alcohol abuse (or history of)
Convulsions (seizures) that are not well controlled
Electrolyte or metabolic enzyme deficiencies or disorders
Liver disease or persistently high levels of liver enzymes - statin drugs may make liver problems worse
Low blood pressure
Organ transplant with therapy to prevent transplant rejection
Kidney failure
Recent major surgery or trauma, which may increase the risk of problems that may lead to kidney failure
Impending surgery, including dental surgery or emergency treatment - be sure to tell the doctor or dentist treating you that you are taking a statin drug

Avoid Excessive Alcohol

Excessive amounts of alcohol combined with statin drugs can have adverse affects on the liver. Moderation in alcohol consumption is generally defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Avoid Grapefruit Juice

Since grapefruit juice appears to interfere with the metabolism of most statin drugs, it is best to avoid it during treatment.

Don't Stop On Your Own

Do not stop taking your statin medication without first checking with your doctor. When you stop, your cholesterol levels may increase, and your doctor may want to implement other means to keep cholesterol levels within a more desirable range.

Mind Your Meals with Lovastatin

Lovastatin works better when it is taken with food. If you are taking lovastatin once a day, take it with the evening meal. If you are taking more than one dose a day, take each dose with a meal or snack.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of your statin drug, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Avoid double doses.

Possible Side Effects

Statin drugs are generally considered safe and few patients need to discontinue them due to adverse effects. The side effects listed here have been reported for at least one of the statins, not necessarily all of them. However, since many of the effects of statins are similar, it is possible that these side affects may occur with any one of these medicines, although they may be more common with some than with others.

Adverse Effects

The most significant adverse effects, though rare, involve the liver (elevated liver enzymes) and the muscles (different conditions called myopathy and rhabdomyolysis). Following up regularly with your doctor will allow him or her to detect these problems through your medical history and blood tests.

Common Side Effects
More common side effects include:

Abdominal pain

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur.

Ankle, feet, or leg swelling
Chest pain
Muscle aches, cramps, stiffness, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by unusual tiredness and/or fever
Skin rash
Constant or worsening stomach pain
Unusual tiredness or weakness
Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)

Check with your doctor if any of the following side effects occur frequently and/or become bothersome:

Skin rash
Stomach pain
Decreased sexual ability
Trouble sleeping


USP Drug Information database
HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors ... in%20Drugs


The Warning Signs of Statins

Duane Graveline MD MPH

After nearly five years of readers’ queries about statin drugs use, I have learned that very few people know of the full range of side effects of the statin class of drugs.

Even many prescribing physicians are ignorant of the broad reach of the statins.

I suppose my first rude awakening of the prevalence of this lack of knowledge among physicians about the drugs they prescribe was during my own personal experience four years ago with transient global amnesia bouts after taking Lipitor.

On both occasions they said, “Lipitor doesn't do that.”

Dozens of pharmacists during that same time period said the same thing, “Statins don’t do that.” Now that our statin study has reported nearly five hundred cases of statin associated transient global amnesia, physicians are reluctantly accepting the reality of amnesia, confusion, disorientation, extreme forgetfulness and aggravation of pre-existing senility but many still do not know it exists.

You can imagine my concern when an FAA flight surgeon told me they had been allowing statin drug use in commercial airline pilots for several years because they “did not know statins could do that”. The medical literature is now replete with reports of statin associated amnesias and other evidence of mental dysfunction and still many of our prescribing physicians remain unaware of statin’s special cognitive impairment tendency. Readers will be interested to know of Muldoon’s two reports in the medical literature documenting cognitive impairment in 100% of statin users if sufficiently sensitive testing is done.

Also related to statin inhibition of cholesterol are the hundreds of case reports of loss of libido and impotence.

These findings represent only the cholesterol inhibition effect of the statin class of drugs. What about the inevitable collateral damage to ubiquinones and dolichols from statin drug use? Those from ubiquinone (a.k.a. Co-enzyme Q10) inhibition give rise to liver inflammation, myopathy and its more serious form rhabdomyopathy with muscle ache, pain, sensitivity and soreness anywhere in the body. Hundreds of patients have received expensive and worrisome cardiac workups when the muscles involved are in the chest.

Another complex of symptoms results from neuropathy with ringing in the ears, weakness of extremities, numbness, decreased ability to feel heat or cold and altered sensation anywhere in the body – numbness and tingling of the feet being a common early sign. Lack of sufficient CoQ10 dependant energy reserves results in tiredness, shortness of breath and easy fatigability and congestive heart failure with ankle edema, nocturia, shortness of breath with recumbency and the need for extra pillows for sleep.

These are only some of the more common side effects of CoQ10 lack. Physicians for the most part are well aware of hepatitis, myopathy and rhabdomyolysis but many still steadfastly refuse to admit neuropathy despite the convincing published works of Gaist of Norway and cardiologists and internists still deny the reality of congestive heart failure despite the widely published and equally convincing research of the Doctors Langsjoen of Texas.

The symptoms we associate with statin induced dolicol inhibition are a broad range of affective disorders, reflecting alteration of neuropeptides, known as brain cell messengers. Very fewphysicians and almost no patients are aware of the many case reports of statin associated hostility, aggression, road-rage type behavior, accident proneness and depression of varying degrees with its inevitable suicidal ideation, attempts and occasional successes.

So when a physician asks if you are having any problems with your statin, he must be specific for a patient is very unlikely to report such symptoms as tiredness and depression when their “cholesterol is doing so well”. As for your memory, Muldoon’s 100% is something to think about?


In this study, the patient involved experience significant edema from statins.

Statin Induced Parkinson's Disease

German medical Journal

Dec. 30, 2004 ... ;read=4267


New warning for statin drug

The FDA has issued a public health advisory on the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium) to inform people about a possible risk of serious muscle damage from a condition called rhabdomyolysis that could occur with use of the drug. This advisory is part of an ongoing agency effort to provide people with earlier access to emerging safety information about their medicines so they can make more informed choices about their health care.

Extensive review of the available data indicates that patients taking recommended doses of Crestor have a similar risk of rhabdomyolysis as patients on other statin cholesterol treatments. Rhabdomyolysis is a rare but well-known side effect of all statins. Various types of kidney failure also have been reported in patients treated with Crestor, as well as other statins.

At the same time that the FDA issued the advisory, Crestor's manufacturer, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals of Wilmington, Del., revised the package insert for the drug, based on discussions with the agency. These changes re-emphasize recommendations made in the original label about the need for physicians to consider using lower starting doses of the drug in some individuals as a means of reducing the risk of rhabdomyolysis.

Overall, the FDA believes that the potential benefits of statin drugs when used as labeled and indicated for the treatment of elevated cholesterol outweigh their potential risks and provide an important treatment option for millions of Americans at risk for heart disease. The agency will continue to evaluate the scientific data on Crestor and other statin drugs and, when appropriate, will modify the particular drug's labeling.

U.S. Government Printing Office ... _n16419487


Verapamil-induced subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus ... _n14790836


Medical Warning Baycol ® Injury


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Postby chicountry » Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:36 am

Thanks for the info. I had read alot of the "spacedoc" site, which is very informative. Have stopped the statin use and started taking co q10. So far no change in my symptoms. I have heard from more than one source (including a pharmacist) that side effects produced by statin use are sometimes permanent, even after discontinuing the drugs. It is really unfortunate that they are so widely prescribed.
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