The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

August 29, 2013

Muscle aches may not be due to statin

Dear Dr. Roach: In 2003, my husband had a “mild” heart attack and had one stent put in. He was put on Plavix, Lipitor and one regular-strength aspirin a day. We used to walk a few times a week for exercise. The past year or so, his leg muscles have been hurting. He told his primary-care physician about this a while ago, but the doctor just dismissed it. Lately, the pain has been much worse. He sometimes needs a cane to get around. He went back to his primary-care doctor and requested a change in Lipitor (he doesn’t have a cholesterol problem), hoping the pain would go away or lessen with a different drug. Instead of changing the Lipitor, his doctor added neurontin, 300 mg several times a day, for the pain. Does this make sense to you? — P.O.C.

Answer: There are a few things to talk about here. First, even though your husband’s cholesterol might not be high, anyone who has had a heart attack, no matter how mild, gets treatment with a statin drug to reduce the likelihood of a second heart attack and death. So, everyone who can take one should.

Second, leg pain in someone with coronary artery disease should raise the possibility of peripheral artery disease. This condition is often not diagnosed, but it ought to be. It is caused, like heart disease, by blockages in arteries, but in this case, the arteries to the legs. It can be treated with the same kinds of medications used for heart blockages, but also with stents or surgery if needed. The condition is easily diagnosed by noninvasive vascular studies.

Third, muscle aches when taking statin drugs happen, and it’s by no means a rare condition. However, most often it happens within six months of being on the statin. Blood tests to look for muscle breakdown can identify the most serious complications of statins, but the tests can be normal. Even so, people still may get better by changing statins. Neurontin is a very helpful medication for neuropathy, but I’m not convinced that we know yet why your husband is having muscle pains. A repeat visit to the doctor is in order.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

    In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.

    Over the last two decades, the rates of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics fell by more than 60 percent, a new federal study shows. The research also confirms earlier reports of drastic declines in diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 Asparagus photo Make asparagus the center of your plate Asparagus has been a delicious symbol of spring since at least as far back as the Greeks, who called it asparagos -- literally, "to spring up." But however it is spelled, it makes me happy. Most grocers sell asparagus in a range of sizes, from thin a

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Floating stools not alarming DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read that whether stools float or sink could be an indication of one's health, even to the point of being an early sign of pancreatic cancer. Isn't it just about density and gas -- that is, doesn't most food we eat float in wat

    April 15, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.