Birth of a Statinista; Prescribing Cascades

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November 19, 2012 | 2 Comments

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  1. I came to this site because of the dreadful drug side effects I have experienced.

    After horrific ongoing workplace bullying and eventual dismissal by an unfair employer (I am good and successful at my job with a much more major employer now), I had a breakdown. I was diagnosed with and treated for bipolar disorder, rather than treated as someone with PTSD as perhaps I should have been. For about ten years I was on lithium. I did not sink into suicidal depression again, I did not ever have a repeat of the single episode of mania, but I was dulled as a person, and very moody and irritable. I would snap out in irritability, so I could not say my mood was stable.

    I felt side effects almost immediately, even though the dose was monitored and never rose to the so-called maximum safe level. It was much closer to the lower threshhold of active level. As time went on, I continued to have worse and worse side effects: metallic taste, massive weight gain of around 35 kilos, numb face, vomiting the tablet up at times just after swallowing it, dreadful diarrhea where my anus would be wide open, and my rectum was practically everting, and hypothyroidism so bad that the doctor wondered how I could manage to get out of bed in the morning. I would talk tot he doctor about the various side effects but he did not see or agree with me that they were an issue, nor would he agree that lithium was the problem.

    During this time period, I was also prescribed an SSRI for pre menstrual disphoric disorder. Unlike happens with many people, my libido did not drop; rather, I became a raving nymphomaniac while I was on it. I stopped taking it myself.

    Although I had been told I should drink plenty of water and I live in a tropical climate, I was unable to do so. Water tasted horrid due to the taste in my mouth from lithium. I eventually became very ill and it turned out I had a large kidney stone. My kidney was prevented from doing its filtering job properly. After the kidney stone episode, I ended up refusing to take lithium and have been on sodium valproate ever since. I know many cannot stand the side effects of this drug, but in my body, it has been much more helpful than lithium.

  2. It is very sad story and unfortunately not unique. The statin induced myopathy is pervasive. over 18% of patients on simvastatin report muscle pain, but only about 5% will have clinical evidence of myopathy. This common side effect is predictable and preventable through pharmacogenetic testing. Specific markers in the SLCO1B1 genes have been shown to be associated with substantially increased risk of statin-induced myopathy. I hope that consumers and physicians will be more informed and use available pharmacogenetic tests in order to avoid such tragedies..

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