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Cholesterol Drugs Could be Energy Drainers

Filed June 12th, 2012 Laurie

A popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may cause patients to experience a sudden drop in energy or fatigue while exercising.

The finding comes from new research in which experts tracked 1,000 adults taking well-known cholesterol medications, such as Pravachol and Zocor. The drugs are designed to reduce “bad” cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein, or LDL.

“We found that even at comparatively modest doses, statins were associated with a not-inconsequential drop in energy in some patients, a rise in fatigue with exertion in others and sometimes both,” said study lead author Dr. Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego.

Dr. Golomb added that while it is a problem that effects men and women, females were more susceptible. Zocor patients appeared to have the greatest risk of experiencing a sudden drop in energy. Forty percent of women taking the drug complained of either energy loss or fatigue with exercise. Twenty percent of women complained of experiencing both. Men logged in at just 25 percent of what was found among women in every side-effect category.

“So far, the only group for whom the benefits of taking statins has clearly been shown to outweigh the risks has been men under the age of 70 who have heart disease,” Golomb added. “The findings have been, at best, equivocal for women, even if they have heart disease. And the same is true even for most middle-aged men at high risk who don’t have heart disease.”

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