Statins and Itching and liver damage

I am having excessive itching with atorvastatin. At first thought it was poison ivy. I later thought it may be mosquitoes, then soap, then fiberglass use at the health club. I researched and found it could be atorvastatin. Asked doctor for liver test to check liver damage. She agreed. I will stop taking atorvastatin for 2 weeks to see if itching goes away. Then she would like to try another statin. Anyone have like experiences?

I have never had itching, but I have had my liver enzymes rise. I have had muscle problems and neuropathy all caused by statins. I can’t take them.

Years of pravastatin caused my AST and ALT numbers to rise drastically, and caused muscle weakness. My doc switched me to Simvastatin and all is fine. I was sceptical when he wanted me back on another statin, but not all statins are alike, thankfully.

What kind of neuropathy and muscle problems did you experience? I’m on a low dose of atrovastatin and recently experienced chronic numbness and pain in my right-side quadriceps.

The generic Crestor and Zetia both caused neuropathy in my feet. I have never had any neuropathy and it really worried me. I finally went to the Zetia site and neuropathy is listed as a side effect. I quit taking it immediately and the neuropathy went away.

Several months later I started on the generic form of Crestor at a very low dose. After a couple of months I again developed neuropathy in my feet. It is listed as a side effect. I called the FDA and am filing a complaint.

It took awhile but I am very fortunate that once again the neuropathy disappeared.

If the doctors were better informed they would warn people with diabetes about this particular possible side effect of statins.

I don’t really remember the details of my muscle pain but it became very difficult to get in and out of the car. It was the muscles in my hips and legs which were hurting.

1 Like

I have tried every single statin. I tried some more than once. Something about my body.

We should not tolerate the misleading term, “side effects.” It is a euphemism intended to be interpreted as incidental or minor in nature. “Other effects,” or “unintended effects” would be more honest. Some side effects can exact permanent and debilitating damage to the health of the patient.

Calling physically damaging effects of drugs that can generate huge profits for Pharma, side effects, is deliberately misleading and we, as patients, should not continue to put up with this.


Prescribing physicians play a role here as well. They should understand long term chronic and acute side effects and explain that to patients at the time they prescribe the medication,

Example - Afrezza has the possibility of a slight permanent reduction in lung capacity over a long period (don’t recall what it is). My endo explained that clearly to me when we decided to try it. I also believe this is on the label, but not prominently called out.

False. It had the slight possibility of a insignificant decrease in fev1 while using it. There is no instance of permanent lung capacity reduction ever recorded… and the concerns about temporary reductions have pretty much turned out to be a non issue…


Perhaps prescribing guidelines have changed since I was first given Afrezza in 2017, but the current prescriber information on the MannKind website still lists decrease in lung function as a potential side effect and insufficient data to say whether the decline reverses when you stop using it. The recommendations for monitoring pulmonary function while using Afrezza are fairly vigorous.

Maybe MannKind is blowing smoke (pun intended) with these recommendations, but I was replying to @Terry4‘s post about drug companies deliberately misleading patients wrt permanent damage.

From Afrezza website -

AFREZZA causes a decline in lung function over time as measured by FEV1. In clinical trials excluding patients with chronic lung disease and lasting up to 2 years, AFREZZA-treated patients experienced a small [40 mL (95% CI: -80, -1)] but greater FEV1 decline than comparator-treated patients. The FEV1 decline was noted within the first 3 months, and persisted for the entire duration of therapy (up to 2 years of observation). In this population, the annual rate of FEV1 decline did not appear to worsen with increased duration of use. The effects of AFREZZA on pulmonary function for treatment duration longer than 2 years has not been established. There are insufficient data in long term studies to draw conclusions regarding reversal of the effect on FEV1 after discontinuation of AFREZZA. The observed changes in FEV1 were similar in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Assess pulmonary function (e.g., spirometry) at baseline, after the first 6 months of, and annually thereafter, even in the absence of pulmonary symptoms. In patients who have a decline of ≥ 20% in FEV1 from baseline, consider discontinuing AFREZZA.

Yes their warnings and monitoring requirements are the result of competing big pharma strong arm tactics. They weren’t even recommended by the fda expert panel—- they appeared out of nowhere by some backroom shenanigans by industry insiders… shameful really. Anyway sorry to hijack the thread…

Re statins… I’m not opposed to them. I’ll take them if they become indicated, if I have undesired effects or poor labs of any sort following that I’ll re evaluate and discuss with my doctor and seek alternative formulations/ dose amounts/ and consider discontinuing if the risks (considered carefully with qualified and competent medical advice) outweigh the benefits

I have no issues with pravastatin. Been taking them for years and reduced my levels to normal.

Maybe you think it means incidental or minor in nature. I’ve never thought of “side effect” as only minor in nature. AAMOF, when one looks at a list of side effects, they tend to be grouped common and less common. Among side effects for many drugs, it’s not hard to locate listings of very dangerous side effects. I think your angst over the term "side-effect is unnecessary.

When I was much much younger (in college) I had an episode of “cold uticaria”.

For a few weeks, crazy itchy welts all over my body when exposed to cold wind.

Had nothing to do with statins, and has not re-occured in 30 years.

“Side effects” is a recognized medical term with a universally understood standard definition. In a look at both medical dictionaries and standard dictionaries I have at hand, print and online, I do not find a single definition that suggests the term is to be “interpreted as incidental or minor in nature.” Quite the opposite, in fact.

Any effect of a drug or other treatment additional to the required effect. Most side-effects are unwanted and some are dangerous. (Collins Dictionary of Medicine)

A consequence other than the one(s) for which an agent or measure is used, as the adverse effects produced by a drug, especially on a tissue or organ system other than the one sought to be benefited. (Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary)

Any reaction to or consequence of a medication or therapy. … Usually, although not necessarily, the effect is undesirable. (Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions)

A secondary and usually adverse effect. (Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary)

Adverse drug events (ADEs) may be further classified based on expected severity into adverse drug reactions (ADRs) or adverse effects (also known as side effects). … Side effects, or adverse effects, are defined as “expected, well-known reactions.” (Ray, Side Effects of Drugs Annual)

Problems that occur when the medical treatment goes beyond the desired therapeutic effect or that occur in addition to the desired effect. Synonyms: Adverse drug reaction; adverse events; adverse effect (Kirch, Encyclopedia of Public Health)

An undesirable or unwanted consequence of a preventive, diagnostic test, or therapeutic procedure. (Porta, Dictionary of Epidemiology)

A result other than the one for which the drug or agent is being given. (Ballière’s Nurse’s Dictionary)

An effect produced by a drug or treatment which is not the main effect intended. (A&C Black Dictionary of Nursing)

Any physiological change other than the wanted one from a drug. (Churchill Livingstone Radiography and Medical Imaging Dictionary)

An effect produced by a drug in addition to its desired therapeutic effects. Adverse effects are often undesirable and may be harmful. (Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary)

A peripheral or secondary effect, especially an undesirable effect of a drug or therapy. (The American Heritage Medical Dictionary)

An unwanted, and sometimes dangerous, reaction caused by medication or other treatment. (Harvard Medical School online dictionary)

A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. (National Cancer Institute)

Problems that occur when treatment goes beyond the desired effect. Or problems that occur in addition to the desired therapeutic effect. Example – A hemorrhage from the use of too much anticoagulant. (MedicineNet)

I get your point and see that the many medical professional references you cite define side effects as being undesirable or unwanted. I am certainly aware of that facet of the term.

This is a difference in semantics we’re considering. The problem I have with the term, side effects, is the common understanding of that term across the entire spectrum of education and socio-economic class of people who take prescribed drugs.

It appears that you are well-informed on this issue but don’t assume that all people who take prescriptions understand as you do.

Side effects is a term that does not imply any negative potential on its face. If the term were “adverse effects” for instance, that would be different.

Knowing the robust lobby that exerts influence on the FDA, it seems that the choice of “side effects” to describe this secondary and unintended effects was considered and deliberate. Why choose a neutral term when it clearly has potentially negative and possibly harmful consequences?

It may serve the drug industry, doctors, and pharmacists well as the definition is understood and common to these professionals. But I think it does not translate with the same consistent meaning across the entire population of patients who take prescription medications.

1 Like

I don’t agree with that. I don’t think it takes a tremendous education and worldly experience to know that “side effects” of medications are undesirable effects… aka they are bad things. I think a typical 5th grader knows and understands that.

Are you sure?

When Pfizer was testing sildenafil citrate as a treatment for high blood pressure, they learned that their drug had an an interesting side effect. That drug was later renamed Viagra.

Here’s another.

I agree, however, that most side-effects are not desirable. My point in this thread is that the term, side effects, could be more descriptive on its face.

I apologize to the original poster for veering off-topic. I will stand down on this discussion.

Yes, and at that point it became its own prescription medication with its own list of “side effects” which are not the desired effect but an undesired effect.

And yes if you’re taking a medication to lower your blood pressure—- it giving you throbbing erections that won’t go away would not be ideal… an undesired effect in the treatment sought… even though it might be a desirable effect in another context