You know what, I reckon there’s a really good chance I’ll get through this entire blog without mentioning the dreaded C-word. By which I don’t mean cancer, of course – that’s the ‘old’ C-word – and I certainly don’t mean ‘cholesterol’, because that’s exactly what I am going to write about.
Back in the day, when we could go out, have fun, get drunk, fall over etc, a friend and I invented a cartoon character called, ‘Statin the obvious’, who would go round saying things like, ‘Cholesterol is bad’ and ‘Don’t eat lard’.
He would also have said, ‘Statins make your muscles ache’, but we now realise he was completely wrong.
Deep down, though, we’ve always known that, haven’t we? Muscle ache is common. Statins are common. So the two are bound to coincide. True, patients insist on associating the two – but those furred up arteries feed the brain, right, so what do they know?
Also true, we’ve tended to collude by stopping/changing their statins, but that’s because it’s simpler than arguing with them. Besides, we all know how easy it is to elicit myalgia in statin-poppers just by warning them that it might happen, or by them reading the Daily Mail. The only real way to avoid this side effect is to tell them nothing and place them in a hermetically sealed box. Then they won’t complain about muscle aches. They won’t complain about anything.
So, like many things in medicine, it’s misattribution or psychosomatic, though admittedly I did have trouble explaining that to my patient who had AKI secondary to statin induced rhabdomyolysis. Obviously, she’s the exception that proves the rule, which means I need a new character – ‘Statin the obscure’ – to point out the non existence of statin-induced myalgia to my patients.
But that’s by the by. All I really want to say in this blog is what a pleasure it is to discuss muscles aches without automatically writing the word ‘Covid’. Ah. Bugger.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield