Why, then, should this 45-year old healthy and vigorous male come down with this disease? One factor that makes this case stand out is its association with the use of statin drugs.
His awareness of severe muscle pain, soreness and stiffness came on shortly after he began the use of a powerful statin. A commitment to high-dose prednisone for relief, for periods as long as year or more, or even permanently, is not to be taken lightly.
The diagnosis does not appear to be in question. The question really is, is this complex mix of signs and symptoms a side effect of his statin drug? Or did his statin drug merely serve as a trigger, initiating this quite common and often disabling malady? Is this true polymyalgia or a parody?
CPKs usually are normal in this illness. One can hardly avoid the question, is this presentation of symptoms another manifestation of statin associated, CPK negative myopathy? We have seen statin associated fibromyalgia and polymyositis-like presentations. Why not PR?
The following are some personal experiences sent to me that include Polymyalgia Rheumatica associated with statin use.
1) My husband's rheumatologist has suggested that he has Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other conditions but not statin associated myopathy. He has been so ill I have had to move his hardened arms and legs for him. He physically could not cover himself with a blanket. At one point, he couldn't scratch when he had terrible itching caused by pain-killers. At this point, he can walk and care some for himself. He still does some of the grocery shopping and will cook dinner but it is always at an extreme cost. From what I can tell, he looks as bad as he feels. I don't know if this will kill him, or if he will ever work again.
Can the statin drug still be the culprit even though he discontinued it back a year ago? Is it possible he can ever make a full recovery? He is on the verge of giving up. He just had to cancel a short fishing trip with his terminally ill best friend because he can barely walk. He has not been able to work since last December.
Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor