I’m seeking information because my brother, who was always very fit and active, started having sudden debilitating joint pain a short time after beginning statins and it has persisted for months. It’s hard to get a clear idea of how prevalent something is from a web page; and I value experiential data.
Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle due to injury or indeed in some cases, medications such as statins. Approximately 7% of statin users will experience muscle pain. Toxic effects on muscle tissue are experienced by less than 0.1% of users, while rhabdomyolysis leading to death is thought to be 1 in 5 million. cite
So less than 0.1% for a case such as your brothers. But statins are used by millions of people so even a small % results in a lot of cases.
How is your brother? Was he hospitalized?
More to your question, yes muscle and joint pain is common, rhabdo , not so much. I’m an ER nurse and I’ve seen dozens of cases of rhabdomyolysis, none caused by appropriate statin use.
It’s called the Crossfit Disease for a reason. Crossfitters call it Uncle Rhabdo. It’s also caused by frequent high intensity workouts. It occurs with the type of workouts that are common with Crossfit, light loads for many repetitions. It is still extremely rare even with Crossfitters.
To the OP: are you sure it’s Rhabdo? Rhabdo is the breakdown of muscle tissue to the point that it enters the bloodstream. The broken down tissue collects in the kidney eventually causing renal failure. If not treated it can be fatal. It goes well beyond muscle pain. Was he hospitalized? Is he getting treatment?
Well, he hasn’t been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. But he’s been having urinary/kidney issues as well. And, I wasn’t aware that it’s also associated with high-intensity workouts – he was going to the gym every morning and doing one of three different workouts, I’m guessing they were pretty intensive, knowing him. It’s just that he was in such great shape and never had joint pain; it came on really suddenly.
I was hoping to get an idea of how likely/unlikely it was that this is his issue, and thanks to you folks I have a better picture – thanks! He lives in a fairly remote area, and the only doctor anywhere near him is unfortunately not the sort of physician who reads journals and keeps up with arcane developments.
Right now, my brother is trying a “statin vacation” to see if the pain subsides. There is no history of heart attacks etc. in our family; he wasn’t having any kind of problem when they prescribed the statins, it was just because of a blood test. He doesn’t smoke either. So we’ll see what happens.
Besides the dark urine, are there any other likely symptoms he should look out for?
Has he contacted his doctor? To me, this sounds like something that should be brought to the attention of whoever prescribed the statins.
I think this is the article I first saw the issue raised in.
If he thinks there is any chance it is rhabdomyolysis he needs to get to a hospital right away. It can cause fatal renal failure. Also permanent muscle damage. That’s not to say that this is necessarily rhabdo. There could very well be a different not as serious problem. Even still he needs to get to a decent doctor.