Statins can lower cholesterol, but they can also cause some unwanted side effects, including:

  • muscle pain
  • muscle soreness
  • muscle fatigue
  • muscle weakness

Tasks that were once simple, such as climbing stairs or walking, may now leave you uncomfortable and tired.

The development of the condition rhabdomyolysis, or the breakdown of muscle tissue, is rare, but it’s another possible side effect. This disease can cause painful, life-threatening muscle damage. In addition to severe muscle pain, it can lead to liver damage, kidney failure, and, in rare cases, death.

Rhabdomyolosis sounds scary, but the average statin user does not have to worry about developing this disorder. If you are currently taking statins in combination with certain other drugs or if you are taking very high doses of statins, you are at a higher risk of developing rhabdomyolysis.


The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has released information concerning the possible side effects of statins. These side effects include:

  • liver damage
  • memory loss or cognitive impairment
  • diabetes
  • muscle damage

According to the FDA, the following statins will now contain warnings on the package insert about their possible side effects:

  • lovastatin extended-release (Altoprev)
  • rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • fluvastatin (Lescol)
  • atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • pitavastatin (Livalo)
  • lovastatin (Mevacor)
  • pravastatin (Pravachol)
  • simvastatin (Zocor)