Serious side effects of statin are rare. They include serious muscle problems called myopathy and rhabdomyolysis, and liver damage. There is also a slight increase in the risk of getting type 2 diabetes while taking statins. But the risks are far outweighed by the benefits of statins.
Myopathy changes the way a muscle functions. It makes muscles feel weak. Affected muscles release creatinine kinase (CK) into the bloodstream. People with myopathy can have levels of CK in their blood that are 10 times the normal level. Less than 1 in 100 people taking statins develop myopathy. Their symptoms and their blood levels of CK usually return to normal if they stop taking the statin. Rhabdomyolysis is a very rare but serious breakdown of the muscle. It can eventually lead to kidney failure and sometimes death. The risk of rhabdomyolysis is less than about 1 out of 20,000 people taking statins for a year.
Levels of liver enzymes may increase in your blood when you take statins. This happens to less than 5 people in 100. If your liver does become damaged from the statin, you may not experience any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, your doctor may check your level of liver enzymes. If they remain high, they may lower your dose, change the type of statin you are taking, or stop giving you the statin. Liver enzymes usually return to normal when the statin is stopped. Serious liver failure has happened to people taking statins. But it is so rare that doctors aren’t sure that statins were the cause.
Although uncommon, some people taking statins develop diabetes. This is more likely for people who are very overweight and had high blood sugar levels before they started taking statins. These people might have gotten diabetes at some point without statins. Taking statins may just bring it on sooner.
For most people, the benefits of statins far outweigh the risks. Always talk to your doctor if you have concerns about statin side effects.
Serious side effects are few, and statins will help you!