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Coenzyme Q10 Relieves Muscle Pain Associated with Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs


Many people who take prescription drugs to lower their cholesterol experience muscle pain which is a side-effect of these drugs. Because I have written extensively about how ineffective these drugs are in actually reducing your chance of heart attack or stroke, I usually recommend that the person stop taking the drug. However, usually their physician puts such fear into them and in some cases even threatens to withdraw their services unless they obey their commands and this results in many people simply suffering the painful side-effects.

A recent study published May 15 in the American Journal of Cardiology showed that taking 100mg daily of Coenzyme Q10 significantly reduced the amount of muscle pain caused by the cholesterol-lowering drugs. Dr. Giuseppe Caso and colleagues from Stony Brook University in New York tested 320 patients who were experiencing severe muscle pains and cramps caused by these statin drugs. Half the patients received Coenzyme Q10 and the other half received Vitamin E 400 units which was considered the placebo. After one month of treatment almost 80% of those taking Coenzyme Q10 had their muscle pain decreased whereas only about 15% showed positive results in the placebo group.

Drugs such as Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor ( simvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin) and many others in this family interfere with your liver’s ability to produce cholesterol. This lowers your production of both good and bad cholesterol and reduces your total cholesterol number which makes your doctor happy. However, these drugs also interfere with your liver’s ability to produce coenzyme Q10, your body’s natural antioxidant. This may be a factor in the major side-effect which can range from mild muscle pain, to severe muscle pain to rabdomyolosis (total breakdown of the tissues and cells of your muscles). Crestor, one of the newest statin drugs, causes such severe Rabdomyolosis that it has resulted in many deaths and is now considered safe only at the 10mg strength.

In the typical pharmaceutical fashion, the drug that causes the bad effect is never removed. Another substance is prescribed to eliminate the side-effect of the original drug. At least, in this case, Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance in your body and does not produce any side-effects of its own.

If you do suffer muscle pain from your statin drug and you want to use Coenzyme Q10, you must take 100mg a day and buy a product in which the Coenzyme Q10 is suspended in an oily base. This means that it will remain in your bloodstream for 10 to 12 hours as opposed to CoenzymeQ10 in a water base which will only last about 4 to 5 hours.

Study after study has shown that 80% of people who have heart attacks or strokes have normal cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that taking cholesterol-lowering drugs daily for up to five years reduces your chance of having a heart attack or stroke by 1.5%, an amount that is not even statistically significant. If you suffer the side-effect, you should simply stop taking the drug. However, if you are fearful of repercussions from your physician, just take 100mg of Coenzyme Q10 daily with your statin drug.