Statins don’t cause common pain – people who take them just get older

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, which co-funded the study, said the results should put an end to decades of debate.

“This research should help millions more people around the world feel confident talking to their doctors about taking statins to reduce their risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes,” he said. declared.

“This is the definitive study. It really is gold standard evidence. The size of the study gives us tremendous confidence.

Experts said that in future GPs should place less emphasis on muscle pain and be able to reassure patients that there is little increased risk.

The study found that more than a quarter of patients taking the tablets reported muscle symptoms – but similar results were found in those who took a dummy pill.

For every 1,000 people who start taking statins, only 11 developed muscle pain or weakness as a result, the study found. Overall, the drugs were found to be responsible for only one in 15 cases of muscle pain and even this additional risk disappeared after one year.

The scientists said the symptoms were not in people’s minds but were ordinary pains, often caused by old age, wrongly attributed to daily medications.

Because patients are often told that statins can cause muscle pain, it creates a “nocebo” effect that means they are wrongly blamed for unrelated illnesses, the researchers said.

They got the results of 23 randomized controlled trials, in which all participants did not know whether they had been put on a statin or a placebo.

Some 27.1% of people on statins reported muscle pain or weakness – a “tiny” increase from the 26.6% found in the group given dummy pills.

Most people were middle-aged or older at the time they took the drugs, many mistook the aches and pains that come with age and common conditions in older people, for a side effect of the drugs, said the experts. .

“Monumental” study of 30 years of data

Professor Colin Baigent, Director of the Population Health Research Unit at the Medical Research Council at the University of Oxford, said: “There is no doubt that aging increases the risk of experiencing pain and other conditions known to cause pain… thyroid disease, arthritis, even something simple like exercising when you’re not particularly fit.

He said scientists had embarked on a “monumental” study of 30 years of data to settle the question.

Until now, the debate has been skewed by non-randomized studies that did not include placebos or randomization, resulting in “quite extreme” estimates that misled the public.

“This deterred patients from starting statins or forced them to stop treatment when they developed muscle pain,” he added. “In more than 90% of cases, when a patient taking a statin experiences muscle pain, it is not the statin that is causing it.

“If we could better educate people about the real risks of muscle pain, we might get people into treatment for longer.”

The scientist also said there is a need to revise the information placed in drug packages to clarify that most muscle pain experienced during statin therapy is not due to the pills. Current inserts in medicine packets were often “incredibly misleading”, he said.

“Reassuring clinicians and patients”

The researchers said GPs needed to be extremely careful about how these risks were discussed, instead of placing so much emphasis on side effects.

Prof Baigent said: ‘Until now they thought patient safety was better served by having these warnings about the possibility of muscle pain.

“What we have shown is not the best way to serve patients because patients take this information and as soon as they develop muscle pain they suspect the statin. This leads many of them to stop taking the statin, which puts them at risk.

Professor Martin Marshall, President of the Royal College of GPs, said: “This study should provide reassurance to clinicians and patients taking or considering taking statins.

“General practitioners are highly qualified to prescribe and will do so according to each patient’s situation.

“We will take into account a patient’s health needs and medical history, as well as clinical advice, and we will consider different treatment options, not just drug therapies, discussing with the patient the risks and benefits of each.”

Statins don’t cause common pain – people who take them just get older

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.