Muscle pain in people on statins may have a genetic link | Science News

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Muscle pain in people on statins may have a genetic link

Popular cholesterol drugs could cause aches in people with one form of gene

By
4:55pm, August 30, 2017

ACHING FOR ANSWERS  Many people stop taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins because of muscle pain and other side effects, but it hasn’t been clear that the drugs cause the aches. A new study throws genes into the mix, both enlightening and confusing the issue.

A new genetics study adds fuel to the debate about muscle aches that have been reported by many people taking popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.

About 60 percent of people of European descent carry a genetic variant that may make them more susceptible to muscle aches in general. But counterintuitively, these people had a lower risk of muscle pain when they took statins compared with placebos, researchers report August 29 in the European Heart Journal.

Millions of people take statins to lower cholesterol and fend off the hardening of arteries. But up to 78 percent of patients stop taking the medicine. One common reason for ceasing the drugs’ use is side effects, especially muscle pain, says John Guyton, a clinical lipidologist at Duke University School of Medicine.

It has been unclear, however, whether statins are to blame

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