Mobility Restored

Bye bye ….. garage bound!

I had been using a pretty pink walker that was a bit too short because I couldn’t stand up when rising out of bed for quite a long time (2015) and needed the support until my legs got started walking.  I switched to this one when I had the walking accident last year.

My first post about leg pain and a drug called Simvastatin was on May 9, 2015.  There is nothing that can alter my thinking that all those struggles were caused by this drug. I FINALLY am free of the thigh pain that had me feeling like I was wheel-chair bound.  The research reads that it can take years before the debilitating effects of  Simvastatin subside and it did take years!  I praise God I wasn’t one of the unfortunate ones for whom the side effects are permanent.

If you have odd physical struggles, find a doctor who will listen to you and WORK with you to find the cause and solution.  Be your own best advocate!

Just Because!

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I’ve always been a queen of just-because statements, and these are good ones too!  How about this one from Joel Osteen this morning:  “Just because our body ages doesn’t mean our thoughts and attitudes have to.”

So ….. Are you withering away as the years go by OR how do you keep yourself young at heart?

Wonderful Seminar

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What an interesting seminar this was for me to attend, and although much of the material was not totally new, it was a terrific refresher.  It made me recognize that I MUST make some positive changes for my own life regarding wellness balance.

 

Among many others, these 3 points hit home for me.

  1. Must not take fish oils with other medications because the oil binds itself to the medication and inhibits the drug’s absorption into the body.  I did not know this.
  2. Be willing to prune all that takes me away from my purpose and is not bearing fruit.  This means I must do some serious filtering.
  3. Islamic “just war” doctrine specifies that warfare must be defensive and must not involve targeting civilians, women, or children.  I did not know this.

Oh there is so much more that is good for all of us.  Maybe I’ll put a workshop together.

Januvia

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Here I am again with another drug side-effect story!

For years I have been reporting a chronic cough to my doctors, and they all tell me it’s allergy related after asking me the predicted symptom questions.  Take an OTC medication and use a nasal spray is what they all tell me.  Uh-huh!  Well why do I still have the cough even when taking an antihistamine is my question and not one of them they can answer satisfactorily.

So I decided to research any medications I am still taking again, and to my surprise (how did I miss this?) I found that a diabetes drug called Januvia has the most common side-effect of respiratory problems.  Wonderful.  Hmmmmm …. I gave it thought and made a plan:  try going without it a few days and see what happens with the cough while monitoring my blood sugar levels carefully while doing so.

Well what do you know!?!?!?!  Three days later no cough and minimal change in blood sugar levels!  What the heck?!?!?!  So I dropped it from my medication regimen, but after about a week, my blood sugar levels started to rise about 5-10 points/day.  Last drug to research is metformin and to my surprise I discover that metformin has a time-released formula.  I’m going to see my doctor today and ask for this version because my AC1 numbers are still within the safe zone of no more that 6.4.  I’ll let you know what happens.

Trust me … we MUST be our own advocates for our health!  Do the research and leave no rock unturned when it comes to your well-being!

MS and CoQ10

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Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease that damages the nerves in the spinal cord and brain, as well as the optic nerves. Sclerosis means scarring, and people with MS develop multiple areas of scar tissue in response to the nerve damage. Depending on where the damage occurs, symptoms may include problems with muscle control, balance, vision, or speech.  (From WebMD.com)

For the past many months when I had excruciating leg pain and could not walk, I feared I had MS.  People on the street would stop and ask me if I did because of my limited mobility, and that’s why this topic is of interest to me now.  Here’s some research I did not know about that you might find interesting if you know anyone who struggles with MS.

“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that affects more women than men. It can be debilitating and difficult to diagnose, and fatigue and depression are among its many symptoms. New research shows that the common supplement CoQ10 can help reduce these symptoms.

Nutritional researchers compared the degree of fatigue and depression experienced in 48 MS patients who were given either CoQ10 or placebo. At the end of the study the researchers reported significant improvement in both fatigue and depression among the supplement takers. Among the placebo group…continue reading this week’s Health News You Can Use.”

From heartmdinstitute.com

Short Lesson on CoQ10

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Did YOU know that there are two types of CoQ10s available on the market:

Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol

The latter is the one recommended for more efficient absorption in the body, and 50-200 mg / day is recommended based on your body’s need.  For example, my body is trying to REPAIR muscle damage from a statin drug, and so I want to take 200 mg / day.  Don’t just believe me …. Do your own research and talk to your physician.  Be your own best health advocate!

Heres a starting point:

“What happens when you stop taking the drug (statin)?
Based on studies of actual muscle biopsies, muscles do not uniformly recover on their own. They need help. First and foremost, they need more coenzyme-Q10. Taking CoQ10 as a supplement will help reverse statin-induced mitochondrial damage. It also helps regulate normal cellular respiration.
But as I’ve said before, buyer beware.
Look for a CoQ10 supplement that says Ubiquinol on the bottle. Your body absorbs this chemically reduced form much more easily. If the bottle says “Coenzyme Q10” or “CoQ10,” it’s probably Ubiquinone–the less well-absorbed chemical form. I recommend taking 200 mg of Ubiquinol daily with a meal as part of a statin recovery plan. (For everyone else, I recommend just 50 mg a day.)”

From http://www.drmicozzi.com/the-science-of-statin-recovery

 

 

Food For Health

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Low-Fat or Low-Carbohydrate Diet: What’s Best for Your Heart?

By T. Jared Bunch, MD

Published Sep 4, 2014

Recently I met with a patient who was in his early thirties. He had been treated for high blood pressure for almost a decade. He came to me because he was in atrial fibrillation and felt short of breath and noticed his heart was racing.

We talked about his abnormal heart rhythm and that he was developing diseases that we typically see in older adults. I asked if his family also had abnormal heart rhythms or problems with their blood pressure. He said yes, but with each generation the problems were coming earlier. When I asked him why he thought this was happening, he said that everybody in his family struggles to maintain their weight and he was the biggest of all.

He also said, “I am going to start on a diet and exercise.”

His wife said, “I am going to write that down and hold you to it.”

He then said, “I am committed. What diet is the best for me?”

Are YOU committed to YOUR health and wellness?  If so … GREAT!  If NOT … WHY?

What is getting in your way of being the best you can be for whatever time you have on this earth?

Life After Simvastatin

This is the final entry on my story about Simvastatin (part 11).

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Day 1:  A couple of hours into the day I noticed I had less leg pain and thought “This is a remarkable difference in pain level.”

Day 2:  Half way through the day I noticed even less leg pain and thought “This is a significant improvement.”

Day 3:  A minimally painful day … more than yesterday but not as much as usual.

Day 4:  WOW!  Am I almost walking normally vs. my usual-of-late waddle/hobble/limp?  But wait … this new hip pain … maybe I need to lower my shoe lift and I did (from 10 mm to 8).

Day 5:  I can’t believe this … just an ache.  I’ll take a couple of Advil instead of 8.  Think I’ll try a good walk with the dog, and I did.

Day 6:  New hip pain when I walked the dog, and it hurt so much I had to stop and lower the lower lift from 8mm to 6.  Voila … pain gone!

Day 7:  Am I starting to sleep better?  I think I actually fell asleep promptly without dizziness and though I awoke mid-night … I did fall back to sleep rather quickly.  Minimal leg pain today.  Somebody at work told me I looked pretty today.  I thought “Gee … makeup and hair the same.  Wonder why today?”

Day 8:  Feeling like I can walk again, and so I head out with the dog.  OOPS!  Short leg is too high again and I lowered the lift to 3 mm.  Am I noticing greater clarity and brightness in my vision today?

Day 9:  Went to a happy hour with ladies I haven’t seen in a while.  They told me I looked “glowing” and my eyes appeared clear.  They asked if I had a new man in my life and of course I chuckled at that one!  I am walking soooo much better without pain although I still have to manually lift my leg to cross it.

Day 10:  Feeling some pain today which was resolved with a couple of Advil.  I also decided to try reducing the shoe lift again to not using one to see if that might help as well.

Day 11:  WOW!  Just an ache on the side of my thigh … praise God because I think He has put me on the track of restoring my health and wellness!

Day 12:  TODAY!  I am sleeping better and feeling better when I get out of bed in the morning.  My wobbling at that time takes only a few steps to resolve.  NO MORE KNIFE-LIKE STABBING PAINS IN MY THIGH, and I am walking normally without shoe lifts (glad I didn’t toss my flip-flops prematurely).  I can cross my left leg slowly with focused intent with some tightness and ache but definitely without pain.  My blood pressure numbers are good and my morning fasting glucose numbers have dropped 20-30 points.  I haven’t had a dizzy or drowsy spell nor a leg cramp since off Simvastatin.  Naturally my mood has improved, and I am looking forward to starting other projects I have been thinking and talking about for a couple of years.  All this is just 12 days!  God is good, and I thank Him for the dizzy spells that took me to the cardiologist who let a light bulb go off in his head to help me.  I’m continuing to hope and pray that I am one of the lucky ones who will not suffer with Simvastatin side effects for the rest of my life.  Thanks to my friends who have prayed for me because now I think I’m off that “long black train”!

 

There is no doubt Simvastatin and all statins (according to the research) saves lives.  There is also no doubt that the side effects can cause death (according to the research) for some people.  Don’t just believe me.  Do your own research.  Take charge of your own health.  Doctors are great and to be respected; however, they are also human and therefore imperfect.  I’m probably going to fire the first 4 physicians I consulted during these past couple of years about my leg pain.  I’m also going to research supplements to help me maintain my own health issues without resorting to statins in the future.  So far I am learning a lot from mercola.com and drsinatra.com … both renown physicians in the field of health and wellness.  Any suggestions from readers of this blog are welcomed!

 

This is my story, and I’m sticking to it!  HA HA!  As for YOU … never make decisions to change or stop your medications without first consulting your physician.

 

I wish you all health and wellness in your lives, and remember to share what I’ve posted with others you know who have a decision to make about cholesterol medications called “statins”.

 

 

 

 

Finally Help With Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 10).

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Like I wrote early on, I have struggled with side effects of Simvastatin for years.  I consulted 4 doctors about my leg/muscle pain.  Not one of them picked up on the possibility of a bad drug interaction for me.  Not one of them advised me to take COq10 with Simvastatin to protect the heart and muscles from this drug.  And of course as time went on, my symptoms increased in type and intensity.  I was truly suffering.

 

After a scary dizzy episode, it occurred to me to check with a cardiologist because after all, this could be a symptom of a heart problem, and I had not yet researched Simvastatin.  So I made the appointment and I’m glad I did!  He scolded me for not monitoring my blood pressure and glucose on a regular basis (anymore) and confirmed that dizzy spells COULD be either heart or glucose related. He told me to monitor both for a month, get a blood test, and return with my notes. So I did. One month later my blood test showed an AC1 of 6.5 (not bad for D2) and solid blood pressure reading in the safe zone, so he ruled these possibilities out of the equation.  We started brainstorming!  Not a blood clot because I’d be dead by now because it would have traveled for sure.  Not a cancer because something would have shown on blood test.  Then he lightly put his hand on my thigh, and I winced in pain.  How about a side effect of a medication?  He shared information about Simvastatin and advised I stop It and see what happens because after all …. It’s the only way to know and besides, my cholesterol numbers were very very low so much so he said it’s worth the chance for a few months.  OK!  I’ll do it!  Of course by now I’m willing to do ANYthing to feel better and maybe get my life back.

 

This is when I started my research, and I just don’t know what I was or wasn’t thinking to have not done it sooner.  Unfortunately the research reports that some people improve with discontinuing the drug, and others do not.  As a matter of fact, I read countless reports of symptoms continuing to worsen after not taking Simvastatin which sounds like a death sentence to me based on my own experiences these past years. I could only hope and pray I would be a lucky one. We’ll see what happened to me next in my final post about his topic.

 

More stories …..

http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2014/02/06/statins-irreversible-muscle-damage-als-like-syndrome-and-myositis/

http://www.drugs.com/answers/how-long-does-it-take-a-statin-get-out-of-your-471204.html

Diabetes and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 9).

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My cousin told me her physician was very upset because she stopped taking Simvastatin after a blood test showed diabetes level glucose readings for the first time in her health history. The doctor asked her, “Well wouldn’t you rather have diabetes (type 2) than high cholesterol and risk a heart attack?  Hmmmm …. Tough call or is it?

My glucose readings have been well controlled with diet, exercise, and minimal meds since it became a medical concern 5 years ago … until lately.   I’ve been puzzled by fasting numbers being in the mid 100s until I read the research on Simvastatin side-effects.  Of course I must remember I haven’t been able to exercise because I’ve barely been able to walk for goodness sake   Which comes first … the proverbial question?!?  I am mentioning it though in case someone who has never had those elevated numbers (like my cousin) might notice an increase and want to have a conversation with an MD about it.

TBC and here’s something worth noting …

From mayoclinic.org

Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes
It’s possible your blood sugar (blood glucose) level may increase when you take a statin, which may lead to developing type 2 diabetes. The risk is small but important enough that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on statin labels regarding blood glucose levels and diabetes. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Depression and Simvastatin

“”This is the continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 8).

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HA HA HA!  After all I’ve shared with you … who WOULDN’T be depressed for goodness sake?  AND just because mental health is my gig doesn’t mean I was immune to this aspect of Simvastatin.   Sure, I have had several sad events occur in my life during the past 3 years, and THAT type of situational depression is normal.  I knew though that resorting to a life of solitude for as long as I have is not normal and especially so for me because by nature I am a most social animal!   For me regarding this depression what was most troubling was the persistent thought that would creep into my head every night  for several months. It said, “Just get a butcher knife and cut the damn thing off (my painful left leg) because it’s nothing more than a dead tree stump.”  THIS MENTALITY IS NOT ME!  I had to FIGHT this thought …. It was so very strong and difficult to control.  It made me wonder if this is what suicidal patients struggle fighting with prior to receiving treatment.  Hmmmm.

Yes, there is much more to the depression aspect of Simvastatin than the obvious, and here it is ….

“A recent article by You et al calls into question the potentially beneficial effects of statins in the treatment of depression, and even more significantly, the article suggests that statins prescribed for cholesterol reduction may actually cause depression. Since cholesterol plays an important role in neuroprotection, low cholesterol may adversely impact neurotransmission, thereby increasing the risk of depression.  Earlier research has demonstrated that patients may be vulnerable to depression, violence, or suicidality during the first month of statin use, with a reduction in risk following that initial period. You et al challenge this contention, stating that depression risk may increase with long-term statin use.”

 

TBC and if you are interested …

Read the entire article at http://www.empr.com › Features

Dizziness and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 7).

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For the past few months I had been having dizzy spells that I could not account for because they were of a different type than ever previously experienced.  I would either wake up and have one within 15 minutes of being up and around or have one when I climbed into bed at night.  Either way, it would start with feeling like “something is not right … something is happening to me … I think I’m going to faint!”  I got light-headed, had to use the toilet IMMEDIATELY, and then the waves of movement began similar to motion sickness.  I would make my way to the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water, sit down and drink it, and then focus on breathing techniques to calm my body down because by now my heart would be palpitating out of fear no doubt, but who knows … ?  This routine helped me to chase the dizziness away as I describe it, and the spells lasted anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes.  The positive was that once departed, the spell was gone until the next one set in on another day.  In time, another day became a daily event that I wrote off to possibly being dehydrated and figured that since the dizziness passed when I drank the water my theory was confirmed.  But the research says …

 

From http://www.news-medical.net/drugs/Zocor.aspx

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have. Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

constipation, diarrhoea, wind

stomach upset or pain, feeling sick (nausea)

headache

dizziness

These are the more common side effects of ZOCOR.  For the most part these have been mild and short-lived.

 

And from http://www.westonaprice.org 

Dizziness is commonly associated with statin use, possibly due to blood pressure-lowering effects. One woman reported dizziness one half hour after taking Pravachol.18 When she stopped taking it, the dizziness cleared up. Blood pressure lowering has been reported with several statins in published studies. According to Dr. Golumb, who notes that dizziness is a common adverse effect, the elderly may be particularly sensitive to drops in blood pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insomnia and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 6).

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I come from a long line of insomniacs, and when I started getting only 3-4 hours max of sleep at night I thought I had grown into one of my family members.  This started towards the end of 2012 and I dreaded the night.  Now one might say how COULD I sleep with all the pain and cramps I was experiencing, and that’s what I thought as well.  The problem was that no matter what type of sleeping aide I took, NOTHING helped.   I would drag my sorry self out of bed when the alarm went off SLOWLY because of the muscle pain and think to myself “how oh how will I get through this day … surely only by the grace of God!”  One could conclude that insomnia leads to fatigue which leads to drowsiness, and yet they are all listed as separate symptoms on the side effect lists for Simvastatin.  Geez … what a struggle!  It took me 1-2 hours to fall asleep and then I would awaken after 2-3 hours and it would take me just as long to fall back to sleep.  You can see how I felt exhausted when the alarm finally went off in time for me to go to work and be an employee.  UGH!  Read on … and always remember to do your own research and talk to your MD before making a decision to stop taking Simvastatin.  I wish I had done it sooner!  TBC.

 

Having trouble getting a good night’s sleep? One of these drugs might be the problem.
by Dr. Armon B. Neel Jr., AARP, April 8, 2013

Statins are used to treat high cholesterol.

The top-selling statins are atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).

How they can cause insomnia: The most common side effect of all types of statins is muscle pain, which can keep people who take them awake at night and unable to rest. In the worst cases, the pain caused by statins can be immobilizing.

Studies show that statins can interfere with muscle growth by inhibiting the production of satellite cells in the muscle. Muscle weakness and aches throughout the body can be symptoms of statin-induced rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of skeletal muscle that causes muscle fibers to be released into the bloodstream, sometimes harming the kidneys.

Researchers have found that fat-soluble statins — which include Lipitor, Mevacor, Vytorin and Zocor — are more likely to cause insomnia or nightmares because they can more easily penetrate cell membranes and make their way across the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from chemicals in the blood.

Alternatives: If you’re among the millions of older Americans who haven’t been diagnosed with heart disease but are taking these drugs to lower your slightly elevated cholesterol, ask your doctor or other health care provider about making changes to your diet and getting regular exercise instead of using statins. You also might try lowering your blood levels of homocysteine — which is linked to high cholesterol — by taking a combination of sublingual (under-the-tongue) vitamin B12 (1,000 mcg daily), folic acid (800 mcg daily) and vitamin B6 (200 mg daily).

Ask the Pharmacist is written by Armon B. Neel Jr., PharmD, CGP, in collaboration with journalist Bill Hogan. They are coauthors of Are Your Prescriptions Killing You? (Atria Books).

 

 

 

Cataracts and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 5).

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It was the winter of 2012 when I noticed my vision seemed to be failing me with close up tasks and distance clarity was virtually non-existent, so I went for a check-up thinking I needed a new prescription lens.  For a few years, like most of us my age, my vision had been changing slowly.  Much to my surprise, I was told I have huge cataracts in both eyes and a new prescription won’t help my vision at all. Those cataracts must GO!  Now I’m thinking “how the heck did this happen in one year?!?” and so I went for a second opinion and then for a third because I didn’t like this new diagnosis.  I’m thinking “what is happening to my body?  Why am I falling apart?”  My cataract surgery did not go well in that while my distance vision has improved greatly, I do not have clear close-up or even moderate vision after 2 laser adjustments. I was told those results happen often and are just a risk of the procedure regardless.  Whether or not I had done the research on the side-effects of Simvastatin, I needed this surgery.  UGH.

TBC and here is some info on what I wrote about in this post.  Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medication program.

Statins Tied to Cataract Risk (The New York Times)

By Nicholas Bakalar
September 25, 2013 1:57 pm

In one of the largest studies ever done on the subject, researchers have found that taking statins, the widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs, is associated with an increased risk for cataracts. Previous studies had mixed results.  In the latest observational study, published online in JAMA Ophthalmology, scientists retrospectively examined 13,626 statin users and 32,623 nonusers, ages 30 to 85, who were part of a military health care system. The average length of statin use was about two years.  After adjusting for more than three dozen other health and behavioral variables, the scientists found that compared with nonusers, those who took statins had a 9 to 27 percent increased risk for cataracts.  Cataract development may be influenced by statins’ effects on the oxidation process, the researchers say. The cholesterol-inhibiting properties of statins may also interfere with cell regeneration in the eye’s lens, which requires cholesterol to maintain transparency.
“If a patient takes this medication because he is at high risk for heart disease, or already has heart disease, the proven benefit of statins is much greater than the suspected risk of cataracts,” said the senior author, Dr. Ishak Mansi, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas. “But they have side effects, and doctors should not prescribe this medication lightly.”

 

Fatigue, Drowsiness and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 4).

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Fatigue and drowsiness are similar and also very much different.  For almost 3 years now, I have had all I can do get through a work day simply by dragging my feet and going through the motions. Weekend consisted of nothing more than laying around and trying to recover from the week and mentally prepare myself for the week ahead.  I barely had all I could do to keep up with the basics: take care of my animals, grocery shop, little daily tasks like that.  I had no “umph” to do anything more, and if I did do anything more it was because I forced myself to and friends said I must do something to get out of this slump.  But for the most part, I felt  like a very old woman and just couldn’t.  That is fatigue.

Everybody thought I hadn’t yet recovered from my sister-loss, and I kept thinking “this MUST be something else because it feels so wrong for me… it’s taking too long.”

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Next, I started nodding off as soon as I got home from work.  I would lay down or even just sit on the sofa and a strange wooziness would set in like my head was floating in the air.  Next thing I knew I couldn’t hold my head upright and out I would go if even for moments and more like for several minutes.  Before too long, this drowsiness started to set in behind the wheel and I would have all I could do to make it home without pulling over to the side of the road for a nap.  I thought that maybe I was developing a sleep disorder, or that maybe I am just too old to work these horrid hours, or maybe I just dying because this is what people start to do as death approaches.  Something wasn’t right and I still was not connecting the dots.

 

TBC and here is some interesting research:

Statins can drain the life out of us

By Dr. John Briffa on 15 June 2012  in Cholesterol and Statins

Statin drugs reduce cholesterol by inhibiting the an enzyme in the liver (HMG-CoA reductase) which plays a role in the production of cholesterol in the liver. Unfortunately, this enzyme also plays a part in the production of a substance known as Coenzyme Q10, which itself is important for energy production within the body’s cells. Statins therefore have the ability to drain the life out of people. Any doctor who sees patients and actually listens to them will know this from experience, and now someone’s actually gone and shown it with a scientific study [1].
The study was published on-line in the Archives of Internal Medicine. A group of individuals were randomised to take one of two statins (simvastatin at 20 mg per day or pravastatin at 40 mg per day) or placebo for six months. Participants were rated at regular intervals through the study for their perceived fatigue on exertion, general fatigue and energy levels.
One thing worth highlighting here is that the study was only 6 months in duration. This is relevant because it’s not uncommon for the adverse side-effects of statins to come on many months or even years after the treatment is started.
Overall, statins did indeed appear to cause a significant change in energy and worsen fatigue on exertion. Women were more affected than men.
Four out of 10 women reported either reduction in energy or worsening of fatigue on exertion.
Two out of 10 women reported problems with both these things.
One out of 10 women reported that both of these things were ‘much worse’

 

And from ehealthme.com 

Review: could Simvastatin cause Drowsiness?  Summary: Drowsiness is found among people who take Simvastatin, especially for people who are 60+ old, have been taking the drug for < 1 month, also take medication Aspirin, and have High blood pressure.  We study 77,566 people who have side effects while taking Simvastatin from FDA and social media. Among them, 1,286 have Drowsiness.

 

This post is for your information only.  Always consult your physician if you think I might be describing how you feel.