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    statins and weight gain
    Susie060245 posted:
    I have high HDL (as high as 100, now 75) but was placed on a statin for high LDL (130-170) and immediately gained 10 lbs, had carb cravings and couldn't drive past the bakery or walk past the candy counter without buying and eating what I bought. I stopped the statin on advice of my cardiologist husband who said with my regular exercise and high HDL I was at low risk -- immediately I lost the cravings and the 10 lbs. Various websites re cholesterol don't know what to do with a lipid profile like mine, nor, I suspect, do most doctors. I was on the "mixed" statin/fat-absorption blocker and lost weight and had reduced appetite.
    In my opinion, doctors, especially general internists, should treat us as individuals, not as numbers to fit into guidelines. I believe I'm healthier at a lower weight without cravings, even if my LDL is higher than the guidelines. We'll see who's still alive at 90, folks!

    Take the Poll

    Has anyone else gained/lost weight and/or had appetite changes after beginning cholesterol meds?
    • Changes in weight or not
    • Changes in appetite or not
    • Both weight and appetite changes
    • No changes
    View Poll Results
    bobby75703 responded:

    Since I have never taken a statin, I don't qualify for your poll.
    But I have heard the complaint of weight gain on statins.

    My best guess:

    Statins reduce the production of CoQ10 which is needed to produce ATP to give cells their energy.
    Any reduction in coQ10 may reduce cellular energy, thus slowing metabolism and resulting in weight gain. Much like to hypothyroidism, but a differnt mechanism.

    Since our bodies produce its steriod hormones from cholesterol, interupting the mevalonate pathway with statins may induce a hormonal deficiency, which could slow metabolism and contribute to the weight gain.

    Since carbohydrates are fast energy, you may have been craving carbs to compensate for lost energy from the statin.
    Once you consumed those carbs, there wasn't enough cellular energy to burn off the extra fuel, and it got stored as weight gain.

    Susie060245 replied to bobby75703's response:
    Thanks. That makes sense. Interestingly, I took Zetia for 2 months, which lowered the cholesterol and reduced the appetite (and I lost 10 lbs), as might be expected from retention of fats in the guy. However, my insurance wouldn't cover that med, as I hadn't failed the statins with muscle problems, and the problem didn't warrant the very high expense of Zetia. Subsequent problems with Zetia made me glad I wasn't taking it!

    I do wish docs/drug companies would address these issues, even if there are few people with the problems -- as a basic scientist myself, I don't think enough is known to have everyone on these meds when their risk factors are relatively low, even though not ideal.
    bobby75703 replied to Susie060245's response:
    Yes Susie, I whole heartedly agree with your last statement.

    Sales and marketing of statins is targeting new markets. These include people with low risk factors, some with low cholesterol, and they have even tried to approach marketing statins to kids. I agree that not enough is known. We are definately wandering into unexplored territory when we mass market to people with low risk.

    Since you are into science, I would suggest doing research on Statin NNT scores ( Number Needed to Treat)
    This will give a clear picture on the benefits of statins.

    hmk56 responded:
    not only did I gain weight I also have fibromyalgia and had a great increase in muscle pain,told my dr and she took me off Crestor 10 mg and gave my symvastaitin 40mg!!! without even doing blood work!!! then doing my own research found that anyone having ANY type of muscle problems should not take any statins,of coarse she does not believe what I say or just does not care,so meanwhile I am watching my diet being as active as possible without causing more pain and taking a B complex and extra niacin,
    incognitosinger replied to hmk56's response:
    Brother, I am so perturbed about all this. I was prescribed a statin generic, as I don't have prescription coverage, and was never told the possibility of muscle pain or weakness. The doctor kept increasing my dosage, because she didn't think the bad cholesterol numbers were down far enough. I kept saying to my husband that I felt like a mack truck had hit me every morning. I am a choir director, and can no longer sleep through the night for extreme muscle pain and weakness, particularly in my right arm. Now, my right arm cannot be depended upon to stay up once I lift it. I now am looking at a battery of tests I cannot afford to determine if I am losing muscle tissue or possibly have fibromyalgia. High cholesterol might have been a better deal.
    bobby75703 replied to incognitosinger's response:
    Incognito singer, You said "high cholesterol might have been a better deal"

    You hit the nail on the head with that statement as cholesterol serves many vital functions in the body.

    Consumers forget or are unaware that lowering cholesterol to ward off heart attacks and strokes is an old theory. For many researchers it is a dated theory. However the market for lowering cholesterol remains strong, and the drug industry is squeezing every dollar they can out of their cholesterol lowering pills.

    Is there really such a thing as bad cholesterol? If its so bad, why did nature place it in our bodies in the first place?

    Think about it.
    Bob7040 replied to bobby75703's response:

    Nature placed cholesterol in our bodies because it has a function. So does blood, fat, bile, etc., etc. The problem is not with the presence of the thing, the problem is with the level.

    If your blood is too thin or too thick, you have a problem. If your heart can not pump it properly, there is a problem (either with the heart -- which nature put there) or the blood.

    So too with cholesterol. Too much LDL or too little HDL or too much total cholesterol is the problem, not the fact that they are present to begin with.

    One must control the levels of literally hundreds of compounds, chemicals, fluids, etc., within one's body to maintain health. Modern chemistry has provided many solutions if there are control problems. Don't discount them nor the educated opinions of the majority of doctors. And make sure to see your physician at least twice a year, and get all the blood tests he prescribes. It could save your life.
    An_188312 responded:
    I had stopped my statin because of severe muscle pain but then combines HDL and LDL went up from 130 to 210 and had lost that last 5 pounds I had been trying to lose for years. I watch my diet closely and increased my exercise but my doctor insisted that I go back on the statin and I gained that 5 pounds quickly came back and the muscle pain came back too.
    I wonder if I had eased off the statin slowly whether the levels would have increased so quickly.
    AVhealth responded:
    Just got home from hospital after a heart cath.(my first). Now my doctor has me on Beta blockers and back on statins even though the test indicated no "significant blockage". I am not pleased as I have gained a lot of weight on the statins in the past and have no energy and chronic muscle pain. I would much rather try B vitamins. Also, has anyone had Thyroid deficiency develop while on Statin drugs?
    bobby75703 replied to Bob7040's response:
    Hi Bob,

    Yes, cholesterol does serve many vital functions.

    I used to be a firm believer in the cholesterol theory, however today I no longer believe total serum levels of cholesterol are the culprit in atherosclerosis.

    I do believe that lipids become involved. After all, they are present in artery plaque, but I no longer view them as the cause.

    The primary reason I believe this way is because people with low levels of cholesterol develop artery plaque too. Something else causes the plaque to develop despite the levels of total cholesterol.

    Just because cholesterol is present, doesn't make it the cause.

    I look at it this way: A series of bank robberies occurs. Each time the armed gunmen hold the bank customers as hostages, then manage to elude police by escaping.
    Should the police blame the customers since they are present? Of course not. Perhaps reducing the number of customers in the bank would solve the problem? Of course not. The armed gunmen will strike again despite how many customers are in the bank.

    Likewise, thats exactly whats happens with heart disease. Half the heart attacks happen to people with high cholesterol, and half the heart attacks happen to people with low cholesterol. And the underlying culprit continues to elude researchers.
    An_188313 replied to bobby75703's response:
    I went in for a heart cath on Aug 5 of this yr. I found out I had 95%blockage in right I had a stent put in. After this Dr. put me on high blood pressure meds, statin( simvastatin 40mg) and plavix. Since then I have gained 18 lbs. I exercise daily..walk at least 2-3 miles. I crave sweets and carbs for some reason. I am type 1 diabetic also. I had blood work done yesterday and my total chol was 172..HDL was 82, LDL was 76 and trigl 73. I am ready to stop taking the statin because I feel it is causing the rapid weight gain. Any comments?
    loisjcox replied to hmk56's response:
    I was put on symvastatin awhile ago but at the time was also taking a different kind of NSAID for severe back and neck arthritis problem. Accident related. Went to hospital via ambulance a week later from severe heart arythmia. Got off of med. and was fine Found out this statin drug does affect muscles and I had also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, still not sure about that diagnosis, but told the doctor in follow up and he said it shouldn't affect the heart and I said the heart is a muscle isn't it. Kind of a no brainer in my book. Another yr. later taking only half of a tablet instead of whole one cholesterol down but I am having some severe muscle spasms lately. Ugh. I do agree to many drs. just give you med without really thinking about your issues.
    billh99 responded:
    I have been on simvastatin 40 mg for about 18 months. I did not notice any change in appetite. But I have lost weight. But that was because I wanted to and carefully watched my portion size.

    I have not muscle weakness or pain.

    In fact, after CABG and rotator cuff surgery have been exercising and strong than I have been in the last 5 years.

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