Doctor Visit and Pravastatin and muscle/bone pain

By NewSong53 Latest Reply 2017-08-19 19:02:09 -0500
Started 2017-08-11 17:10:04 -0500

Hi — My doctor prescribed pravastatin for me yesterday, because I had taken myself off Lipitor 10MG due to side effects. These included my face and upper arms and waistline. Also, I had pain in my lower back and left flank area — that scared me because I had a kidney stone there last year. Also, after working out with weights my muscles ached, like it did a long time ago when I first started working out. I had been doing weights a couple of times a week so that surprised me.

My total LDL and HDL cholesterol was 207 when she prescribed the lipitor. At that time I was eating bacon, sausage and lots of butter to help with sugar cravings and because of my misunderstanding of Butter Bob Briggs' plan. After that I cut out the bacon completely, no more red meat, only occasional pork chops every week or two, and went back to turkey and skinless chicken. I also stopped drinking milk (was drinking whole organic and too much of it). I cut way back on my plain whole fat yogurt. I cut back on cheese, but was still having cottage cheese and regular cheese pretty frequently.

I then told her I had eliminated artificial sweeteners in my coffee and just used liquid stevia with none of the harmful additives with a little cream. She went a little nuts on the cream (I asked her, 2 tablespoons in my morning coffee — are you serious?!!) and butter, wanting to know what kind I used. I said it was real butter and I refused to use margarine or other things like that because it's full of chemicals, etc. I only use about 1 1/2T with my veggies anyway. Wanted to know if I was taking a vitamin supplement (like calcium). I told her all the green veggies I eat that are loaded with Vitamin C and sweet potatoes with gobs of Vitamin A, etc. I promised to cut down on the butter (really not a problem for me) and said I'd take a D3 supplement. [Basically, I'm just venting about this part of the visit because I'd made many good changes with absolutely no recognition of those!]

She was really concerned about my cholesterol, especially because I have diabetes and I appreciate that. So she said we'll try Pravastatin 40mg/day and if I have side effects to call and she'll keep trying things until we find something that works.

I'm just a little afraid, though, because I've read a lot of bad things about it, although it does seem to be very effective for high cholesterol. I want to work out daily and when I have back or knee pain or shoulder pain (some of the symptoms) I am afraid I will just never lose weight and get my blood sugar under control.

Have any of you experienced side effects of Pravastation — and, if so, was it temporary? Did you push on and continue to work out, just at a slower pace? Were you able to eventually get off it once your cholesterol level was normal? Any advice would be greatly appreciated (especially if it raised your BG levels). Thanks!

18 replies

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-08-19 19:02:09 -0500 Report

I was on Pravastaton for 5 years with no problems. I am now on Lipitor with no problems. Not everyone is the same so not everyone has the same problems. I was taken off of it once I had a cardiac problem. The Cardiologist wanted me on Lipitor. My numbers are great.

JB3433 2017-08-16 15:04:07 -0500 Report

One point about statins to note - statins can deplete natural CoQ10 levels.Low CoQ10 levels can be a concern because CoQ10 helps promote healthy heart function. This is because CoQ10 plays an important role in the production of energy used by the cells in our body. Taking a CoQ10 supplement can help replenish low levels.

w8chd 2017-08-15 20:48:42 -0500 Report

Due to the possible side effects, I don't take any prescription meds for cholesterol. Being diabetic puts a target on our backs because the doctors think you just have to take something for your cholesterol automatically. Believe me, I've had that discussion many times over the years with my doctors. You are doing the right thing, being proactive and doing the research to come up with your own plan.

GabbyPA 2017-08-14 10:43:42 -0500 Report

Yes and they are not pleasant and take a long time to overcome. I do not take statins as they make my body ache to the point of no sleep. My total runs around 200, so I am in no hurry to be on a statin or any cholesterol med. The doctors have a skewed view of cholesterol. You want to find out if your LDL is small and compact (bad) or large and fluffy (good). They can do more testing to see how the ratios work out. I would do that before trying another statin or cutting out healthy fats.

NewSong53 2017-08-15 08:13:18 -0500 Report

Thanks for the input, Gabby. My total was 207 (last taken May of 2017). Since then I've made a lot of changes in diet and exercise. That's why I asked this group about their experiences, etc. My doctor is very pro-statins and the traditional methods of treatment. But we patients are the ones who must live with the side effects and I've heard enoough in my lifetime to know we must look out for ourselves. My sister reminded me that they affected my memory in a scary way and it took weeks to get back to normal. I'd planned to give it a try but your note reminded me how long it took to get back to normal after quitting only a few days after starting them.

haoleboy 2017-08-15 12:58:04 -0500 Report

Total cholesterol is calculated as follows:
LDL+HDL+20% of Triglycerides (TG/5)
the formula gives equal weight to both the "bad" and the "good" cholesterol, which is why, in my opinion, it can be a very misleading number and useless for any sort of comparisons.
… just sayin'

❤ eat as if your life depends on it

NewSong53 2017-08-15 18:31:14 -0500 Report

Thanks for the calculation — I wondered how they came up with that number. I'm looking at my test results and it does add up to 207. I can see what you mean as it being useless for comparisons.

haoleboy 2017-08-11 19:41:46 -0500 Report

took pravastatin without side effects for 6 months but stopped due to concerns about its safety.
managed to greatly improve my numbers with fasting, "diet", exercise and Omega 3 supplements
if I may … would you share you LDL, HDL, and triglyceride numbers? "Total Cholesterol" is meaningless.

☮ Steve

NewSong53 2017-08-12 09:52:21 -0500 Report

Thanks — August 2015: My serum cholesterol was 169 (0-200 is normal). HDL was 42 (more than 39 being normal range) and LDL was 107 (0-100 being within normal range).
Latest ion 5/9/2017: Cholesterol 207 mg. HDL 43 MG. LDL 134 MG. The LDL jump was what bothered her. But (and this might be a factor also) I had been fasting 2 days per week back then and fasting 16:8 the rest of the time. Maybe liver was getting rid of some of its stores?

What safety concerns caused you to discontinue pravastatin? Thanks!

haoleboy 2017-08-12 12:49:51 -0500 Report

so if my math is correct your triglycerides are 150. giving you a TG/HDL ratio of 3.48. which in my non-medical opinion is the concern. under 2.0 is ideal and over 4.0 is too high.
statins can be effective in lowering LDL in some people … not a bad thing. the important thing is to figure out how to raise HDL and lower triglycerides. I accomplished this by losing weight, eating low carb, exercising, and fasting. SURPRISE! all the things that help diabetes. Also very helpful was adding Omega 3 (fish or krill oil) supplements to my daily routine.
I stopped statins primarily over my concern that they are known to cause leg pain and cramping … given my issues with neuropathy, I felt it needed no help.
after my stroke, I was (obviously) very concerned about heart health and it has been my #1 health focus ever since

seldom (if ever) do we get a chance for a "do over"
but every single day we get a chance for a "do better"
☺ Steve

NewSong53 2017-08-12 15:47:48 -0500 Report

Thanks — I plan to get a Vitamin D3 supplement and have been eating sardines or canned salmon almost daily, although I plan to cut back when the supplements arrive (fear of mercury).
I guess I will give this new med a try, and if the pain appears, I'll just discontinue it and focus on resistance exercise and doing more to watch my carbs. It doesn't take much for me to spike and fighting the urge to eat breads is like pulling a tugboat. My doctor suggested depresseion might be causing my lethargy and extreme urges to eat such things. She gave me a higher dose and, I know it's supposed to take longer, the past couple of days my appetite has greatly decreased and my energy is returning. And she wants me to exercise 30 min/day at a regular time but not overdo it. I like her approach and had feared I would only get the lecture. But I know people who take this drug sometimes have experiences that thwart their efforts to reduce (who wants to exercise when it causes leg and foot cramps, or your shoulder feels out of whack, etc.). I appreciate your opinion and will be more consistent with my exercise now that my depression is lifting.

NewSong53 2017-08-12 17:16:18 -0500 Report

Not really — my acquaintances are usually older or in ill health — or younger and busy working/raising families. I enjoy the gym as there's always someone to chat with or I listen to my MP3 music which works the best to get me pumped. It's getting my foot out the door that's the problem — but, again, now that I'm better I'll be making it an early morning habit! Thanks for the suggestion.

Meredith B
Meredith B 2017-08-14 11:54:09 -0500 Report

On the subject of an exercise buddy - I found an instructor I really like at my gym and started going to her classes (which work me much harder than I work myself) and found that there is a core group of people who also go to her classes. They're my exercise buddies. When I miss, they want to know where I've been, so I don't miss.

NewSong53 2017-08-15 18:34:59 -0500 Report

I just went to the Silver Sneakers class this afternoon — I worked up quite a sweat and nearly all the others in my class were right at my level of fitness. Chair yoga, balance exercises, hand weights and lots of flexband exercises — more of a workout than I expected. Thanks again for this suggestion!

NewSong53 2017-08-15 08:14:54 -0500 Report

Thanks! That's a good idea - I've been thinking of joining a Silver Sneakers class at the gym so I'm glad you mentioned the benefits of doing that!!

suecsdy 2017-08-11 18:57:21 -0500 Report

I've been taking simvastatin for 3 years now. 20 mg a day. My cholesterol was only slightly high and came right back down with the meds and diet changes. I continue to take it because I have some athersclerosis already…not much , but what's a little ins? I haven't had any side effects from it.

NewSong53 2017-08-12 09:54:55 -0500 Report

Thanks, Sue! The side effects were my main concern — especially since I need to walk regularly and work out with weights/eliptical sometimes. They told me that the ones with that pain are usually people with arthritis, but you have that don't you? (I had RA — in remission — and OA.) Some of the reviews indicate that once the body adjusts sometimes those symptoms go away.