According to the research, statins cause spontaneous and irregular leaks of calcium from storage compartments within muscle cells. Under normal conditions, coordinated releases of calcium from these stores make the muscles contract. Unregulated calcium leaks may cause damage to muscle cells, potentially leading to muscle pain and weakness.
The researchers suggest that in most people, muscle cells can tolerate this calcium leak. However, in people already susceptible due to their genes or lifestyle, the leak caused by statins may overwhelm the muscle cells, giving rise to muscle pain and weakness.
Findings - People - Muscle - Pain - Statins
The findings explain why only some people experience muscle pain after taking statins and could help doctors to identify those most likely to experience symptoms so they can be offered alternative therapies.
The researchers also showed that exercise may prevent the changes which lead to calcium leaks from occurring, and it may be an effective way for people taking statins to avoid muscle symptoms.
Statins - Person - Risk - Heart - Attack
Statins reduce a person's risk of a heart attack or stroke by lowering the levels of so-called 'bad cholesterol' in the body. They are particularly beneficial for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke and are also effective in those who are identified as being at risk of having one in future. Although side effects are rare, muscle pain and weakness are important reasons why some people stop taking these potentially life-saving drugs.
Researchers based at the University of Leeds and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden investigated the effects of statins on muscle biopsies from patients taking statins long term and from rats treated with statins for 4 weeks.
Treatment - Statins - Gatekeeper - Proteins - Ryanodine
Treatment with statins compromised gatekeeper proteins called ryanodine receptors, which control calcium release from storage compartments in muscle cells, leading to spontaneous and irregular calcium leaks that could trigger signals promoting cell death. Pro-cell death signals were elevated in muscles...
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