How apathy saved a life

John from California left this comment recently on my Wacky statin effects post. He tells such a vivid, compelling story that I had to pass it on.

I started taking statins a couple of years ago. A friend told me that he heard that they caused Alzheimers-like symptoms. I didn't think that I exhibited any effects like that, so I pretty much ignored it, except to raise the issue with my doctor.

During the last two years, I gradually lost interest in pretty much everything. It wasn't that I was forgetful, I just didn't much care about anything. Didn't care about my hobbies, quit my job, only paid bills when I felt like it, left a rental property vacant for 1 1/2 years and other similar issues.

I am normally a pretty active person with lots of pursuits. When I spoke to my doctor about my 'lack of interest and motivation', she suggested putting me on testosterone and later a mood enhancer. (I'm 60 and I lost my wife to breast cancer about 3 years ago, so I guess the thinking was either that I was going through male menopause or just depressed over her passing.)

Although I never had the muscle aches or liver problems that are considered the side effects of statins, gradually I began to feel weaker (not uncommon at 60) and more lackadaisical in my approach to bills and responsibilities. I also began suffering continual intense tinnitus and insomnia. I became crankier and more vehement in my dealings with other people and dangerously aggressive while driving.

Oddly enough, my lack of concern with paying bills led to the pharmacist telling me that Blue Shield had canceled me. Although I could easily have called the doctor for a prescription for $5 statins through KMart, I just couldn't be bothered, so I discontinued my medication.

It's been about 2 1/2 weeks since my prescription ran out. Within 4 days I began feeling better and my thinking became clearer. I no longer have tinnitus, my good mood has returned and I actually accept life's small annoyances again. Finally, I feel better physically and am more motivated. (Unfortunately, now I have to clean up all the financial garbage I've accumulated in the last year or so.)

If you take statins and begin to suffer any of the symptoms that I've noted above. Tell your doctor to take you off for a month. If your symptoms improve, you'll know why.

Although I no longer have medical insurance, one requirement of the coverage was that my cholesterol be controllable with statins. I'd rather have a heart attack or stroke and die than to go back to being the useless walking zombie that I was.

Imagine the consequences of of everyone take a statin drug, even "putting it in the water," advocated by some of my colleagues.

Make no mistake about it: The widespread, indiscriminate use of statin drugs is not without profound implications for many people. The popular notion of "the more statin agent, the better" that has propagated, thanks to the billions of dollars spent on marketing and "research," will lead to more unfortunate experiences like John.

Statins are drugs with real effects and very real side-effects.

Comments (7) -

  • Dr. B G

    2/28/2009 5:22:00 PM |


    How curious!!!

    What good timing -- I just posted on statins and how they can make one dumber.

    (It's for Jeq our resident TYP 'brainiac' with an IQ surpassing 300+  *haa he*)


  • Dr. B G

    2/28/2009 5:22:00 PM |


    How curious!!!

    What good timing -- I just posted on statins and how they can make one dumber.

    (It's for Jeq our resident TYP 'brainiac' with an IQ surpassing 300+  *haa he*)


  • Anonymous

    2/28/2009 6:45:00 PM |

    I experienced the same kind of zombie-like life for the 1 1/2 years my doctor vehemently insisted I be on statins.  In addition, I suffered horrible aches and pains that made every day pure misery... M I S E R Y !

    The 'light bulb moment' occurred while driving down the street one day (at 25 miles per hour, with other drivers honking and passing and me wondering what the problem was...) when the thought popped into my head: "So THIS is what it feels like to be 85 years old!"

    At the time I was a 56 year old woman with two teenagers still living at home...

    There IS life after statins... and I am living proof of that.  I have fully embraced the TYP program and feel much better physically and empowered mentally... and looking forward to the future!


  • Anonymous

    2/28/2009 8:42:00 PM |

    My story, similar enough:  On Lipitor since 1997, and pretty sure I had no side effects.  Hey, I am a man, I don't complain.  Work has gotten real challenging (but they pay me well).  At age 52, 2 years ago, I was fed up with working hard, cranky, and wanted to quit.  Very low tolerance for frustration.  A year ago, I hit a low spot again, but knowing that quitting was not an option, I started pestering my wife about things married people quarrel about other than money.  No matter how great she was, every month or so I would get in a complete funk about it.  Meanwhile, my brother had an MI, freaking me out, so at my doctor's suggestion I doubled the Lipitor dose (to 40mg a day), bringing LDL below 100 and total chol. to 162 (40% below what God's original design of me produced).  Plus, I ached a lot after exercise with severe "arthritis" in my hip, and these pains took days to go away, and still I got mad every few weeks at my wife and otherwise into a depressed funk (one morning I wrote an essay about suicide, which was much on my mind).  Mood swings could be sudden.  She finally asked whether it might be the Lipitor, which I dismissed as very unlikely because I wanted to believe I was controlling my anger and depression better at that point (not really so) and besides everyone knows that statins have very few side effects.  But, I did poke around a bit, and saw that kooky internet people seemed to have a lot of statin side effects, including depression.  So, I thought I would quit, as an experiment.  Like the JUPITER study, the results were so stunning I had to end the experiment in just 48 hours, except unlike JUPTIER, the clear result was that statins are nasty poisins that were ruining my life.  I quickly concluded that no statin would again pass my lips.  Depression, gone immediately (I am now 45 days off Lipitor).  Relationship with wife, great (maybe "saved" is the word).  Athletic performance, vastly better (adjusted for my modest natural abilities), with aches reduced vastly.  Ability to withstand frustration, zoomed way way up.  I feel totally different, and better; I think of my high cholesterol as my friend, protecting my from the abyss.

    The other exciting thing is that I was depending on Lipitor to prevent heart disease, but I see now that it was only a raffle in which I had one ticket, with 75 or 100 other ticket holders in the NNT raffle (to prevent a survivable coronary in the next ten years, but not to prevent death -- that is not a prize in this raffle).  There are obviously way better things I can do for prevention, at low cost and no negative side effects (plenty of positive ones, though).

    I feel ten years younger.  I refer to quitting Lipitor as my "miracle cure."  I feel a moral obligation to warn others.  


  • moblogs

    3/1/2009 10:55:00 AM |

    When queing up monthly for medicines at my local pharmacy I've lost count at the amount of times the person ahead of me is told by the pharmacist their statin is out of stock and to come back in a few days.

    Every time someone goes for a British healthcheck their likelihood of being put on a statin is virtually guaranteed because 'average' local, total cholesterol is allegedly high.
    My local GP only seems to care about total cholesterol and not HDL amount or LDL particle size.

  • Dr. William Davis

    3/1/2009 1:34:00 PM |

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your stories.

  • karl

    3/2/2009 5:44:00 AM |

    I'm wondering if Crestor can cause anxiety and depression? I just had stents put in and know that learning of heart problems alone can cause emotional problems.

    BUT -  I notice the anxiety and depression at the same time every day and feel fine other times of the day.

    I think I would rather be on Niacin...