Statins drugs, which are medications widely used to lower cholesterol, may cause structural damage to the muscles of people experiencing muscle aches and weakness.
The damage may occur even when tests for a protein thought to signal injury are normal, and may persist even after statin use is halted.
About 10 to 15 percent of people taking statins report myalgia, or minor muscle aches and weakness. A smaller number have stronger, persistent pain, called myopathy. In a study, researchers biopsied leg muscle tissue from 83 patients: 44 were taking statins and had serious and persistent muscle pain, 19 were taking statins and had no myopathy, and 20 had never taken statins or suffered myopathy.
Biopsies showed that 25 of the 44 with myopathy had muscle damage.