Study: Statins Side Effects 'are all in the Mind'

By KM Diaz, | May 04, 2017

Erectile dysfunction, nausea, muscle pain, memory loss, and heart attack are some of the reported side effects of taking statins . (YouTube)

Erectile dysfunction, nausea, muscle pain, memory loss, and heart attack are some of the reported side effects of taking statins . (YouTube)

It was previously believed that those who take statins might develop some life-threatening side effects. But a new study has found that statins are life-saving drugs, and all of the life-threatening side effects could just all be in the mind.

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Statins are a group of medicines that can decrease the levels of cholesterol in the body. Previous clinical trials showed that the drugs have a few side effects. However, a lot of people still think that statins are dangerous.

Erectile dysfunction, nausea, muscle pain, memory loss, and heart attack are some of the reported side effects of these drugs.

Researchers at the Imperial College London, U.K. analyzed two groups to identify if there is a difference when the participants in the first group have no idea that they are receiving statins, while the other group knew that they were taking statins.They evaluated the obtained data from the clinical trial involving 10,000 people.

Over a span of three years, participants were randomly selected to receive placebo or statin. When the initial three-year trial ended, participants were told whether they had been receiving statins or not. The researchers allowed them to continue the medication if they wanted to and monitored them again for two years.

In their findings, when participants had no idea that they were taking either placebo or statin, the reported side effects remained the same. However, when they found out that they were receiving statins, the side effects increased by 41 percent.

According to Ajay Gupta, the co-author of the study, when people found out they received statins, they developed some side effects of their own attributed to the drugs. This is called "nocebo effect" - patients will develop common side effects linked to the drug even if it's not related to the actual chemistry of the drug. 

Researchers say that the findings indicate about the widespread publicity belief about statins that influence the perception of the participants regarding the supposed side effects of the drugs.

Peter Sever, the lead author of the study, said the number of physicians and patients who believe the assumed side effects of statins continue to increase. The drugs could stop the significant emergence of strokes, heart attacks, and even death cases.

Sever further added that the public belief regarding the side effects of the statins could be a huge problem, and may affect hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide.

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