Statins side effects: ‘Burning or tingling pain’ caused by peripheral neuropathy may occur

Leading cardiologist says there are concerns over statins

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Doctors often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. While statins are highly effective and safe for most people, they have been linked to a number of health conditions including peripheral neuropathy. In fact, if not treated appropriately, peripheral neuropathy could cause permanent damage.

Studies show that statins can influence our sleep and behaviour and perhaps even change the course of neurodegenerative conditions, including dementia.

The most common adverse effects include muscle symptoms, fatigue and cognitive problems.

A smaller proportion of patients report peripheral neuropathy burning, numbness or tingling in their extremities, poor sleep, and greater irritability and aggression.

Rare side effects of statins according to the NHS include:

Muscle weakness (myopathy)

Loss of sensation or tingling in the nerve endings of the hands and feet peripheral neuropathy

Tendon problems (tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones)

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What is peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins, said the Mayo Clinic.

The site continued: “People with peripheral neuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing, burning or tingling.

“In many cases, symptoms improve, especially if caused by a treatable condition. Medications can reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

“Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy might include a gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms, a sharp, jabbing, throbbing or burning pain or extreme sensitivity to touch.”

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the implications of statin induced peripheral neuropathy was further analysed.

The study noted: “A female patient presented with diagnosed statin induced sensory peripheral neuropathy.

“This uncommon aetiology led to a literature search relating to the less common causes of peripheral neuropathy.

“There are reported cases of statin induced peripheral neuropathy, which in the initial stages can be reversible.

“The reported incidence rate of peripheral neuropathy ranges between 4-14 times more likely for those on statins compared to control groups.

“What was the eventual outcome and how was the patient’s quality of life affected? The patient now suffers from an irreversible peripheral neuropathy.

“Thus, the patient is now exposed to the complications of peripheral neuropathy, including shoe wear and hosiery changes, daily foot checks, pressure area development, and possibility of future neuropathic ulceration.”


If you have peripheral neuropathy, you’re potentially at greater risk for accidents in the home.

Many people have found relief for peripheral neuropathy through:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

Moderate, regular exercise can also help lessen discomfort.

If you drink alcohol or smoke, consider cutting back or stopping. Both alcohol and tobacco aggravate nerve pain and can cause nerve damage when used for long periods.

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