My cholesterol is great! Nevermind the heart arrhythmias...

A message board to discuss personal experiences of Lipitor and its effects.

My cholesterol is great! Nevermind the heart arrhythmias...

Postby sillystringtheory » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:55 am

I am so glad I found this site. I have been at wits end trying to figure out my recent deterioration of health over the last 10 months.

I am 51 years old. Last April, I had an episode of shortness of breath. I had had similar episodes over the last 5 years and had never been diagnosed with any sort of cardiac problem, even after several stress tests and cardiac echos. My problems, hard as they were to ignore have always been dismissed as either stress related or upper GI related. Yet, to be on the safe side I once again shlepped down to my local ER to get checked out. I spent 24 hours under cardiac monitor and had another cardiac echo. No problems found although this time angina was mentioned as a possible cause though no definitive reasons for this diagnosis were ever found other than moderately elevated blood pressure.

Yes, I was about 60 pounds overweight and my blood probably ran like 50 weight oil. The episode was a wake up call that maybe I should get to my doctor and get straightened out.

My doctor put me on an intro dose of 20 mg of Lipitor (which increased to 40 mg 30 days later) and also put me on Cardura for my blood pressure. Almost immediately I started to feel fatigued and more anxious than normal. I went back to my doctor and was told that these symptoms were normal when starting a blood pressure medicine.
Not long after this and for the first time in my live I experienced skipping heart beats (PVCs and PACs). Another trip to my doctor with this and I was referred to a cardiologist.

The cardiologist examined me but did not detect any problems. He did have me wear a holter monitor for 24 hours. The monitor read that I had had many PVCs and PACs. Mainly at night.
He told me not to worry too much about it that it may pass or be stress related. Just in case, the cardiologist changed my blood pressure medication from Cardura to Toprol.

Within the next month I was a mess. An emotional wreck. The least little sudden noise or stress would put me into arrhythmias. I had never been like this before in my entire life and knew something was wrong. I was getting worse by the week but it was so easy to dismiss all this on stress that I never really considered that this may be a drug doing this to me..
I went back to the cardiologist with this news and he told me again, not to worry too much as it just makes it worse. He suggested that I see my regular doctor to put me on some sort of stress medication. I was put on Lorzapam which did help a little with the stress but made me even more fatigued.

As Spring changed to Summer, I had lost about 30 pounds from dieting and excercise. My cholesterol had dropped to normal levels and my blood pressure was now normal. So why did I still feel so bad? I continued to have nightly episodes of arrhythmias and palpitations. I was now afraid to swim in our pool alone for fear of a heart attack. I was not myself physically or mentally.
I had become hostile toward my family and friends. I could not seem to concentrate on anything I used to enjoy. Even an attempt to get away from it all and take a vacation resulted in more stress than if I had just stayed home.

Not much changed over the next few months. I guess I had gotten used to all these symptoms and had calmed down a bit by the time Winter set in. By now I had lost 20 more pounds for a total of 50 pounds lost. I felt better as far as mobility and ease of movement but was still plagued by undue stress and ever increasing arrhythmia episodes.

By January, the arrhythmia episodes increased until one night I had them so bad that my heart seemed like it never beat in a normal way. The next day I went to my cardiologist with this latest and he put me on the holter monitor again. This time the results got his attention. My heart was almost never beating correctly. Again the worst was at night when he told me that I went for 45 minutes without a normal heart beat. Still, he was not too worried about it. I mentioned to him that I had some suspicions about the blood pressure meds doing this to me. He doubted it.

When I got home I really gave this whole situation some serious thought. Like a light bulb going on over my head I realized that10 months before I had never a noticable arryhythmia. Then like the pieces of a puzzle they all fell together in my mind.

My episodes of arrhythmias are worst at night. Night is when I take the Toprol and Lipitor. Then I started to really pay attention. Within 15 minutes of taking the two pills I start having arrhythmias. I was ready to blame the Toprol. I then switched taking the Toprol to lunch time thinking I had whipped this. To my dismay, It made no difference. It was then that I looked up Lipitor side effects and found this site. WOW! The next night I did not take a Lipitor and had very little in the way of arrhythmias. Some. But not anything like I usually had. The next day I called my cardiologist only to find that he had switched practices. So I called my GP, got an appointment and had a chat with her about my findings. She is concerned. I am to stay off Lipitor for 30 days. I’m here to tell you all that I am never taking it again. As each day goes by, I feel better and better. I am concerned though because the arrhythmias have not totally ceased. It has been 2 weeks since I stopped taking Lipitor and I am wondering if there is some permanent damage. I guess only time will tell.
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Postby Allen1 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:48 am

Hi there sillystringtheory,

I was on a different statin (Zocor) but the problems were the same. I had a heart attack and was later put on to Zocor, 10 years into the statin therapy a triple bypass, the arrhythmias just kept on coming and getting stronger. Anyway since stopping Zocor 2 years ago, the problem with arrhythmias has become a very rare and now mild experience, it has taken about 1 1/2 years for this to happen but the attack and op may have something to do with that length of time in my case.

Although it may take time and you probably will still have some really bad episodes, they should eventually fade away. I know that only 6 months back that I wondered if I would actually make it through the night, now though everything is pretty stable although the fatigue and memory problems are still here but not as bad as 2 years ago.

With a bit of luck, you may get better a lot faster, Ray Holder and adec told me about L-Carnitine and Co-Enzyme Q10, and they do make living a hell of a lot better.

Have a read of some of the posts and you will soon come across that information.

Good luck with your recovery from this poison,

Allen :)
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Postby Brian C. » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:04 am

Hello sillystringtheory (I like your soubriquet! 8) ). I too have suffered from arrhythmias along with tachycardic episodes if I push myself too hard. I have found d-ribose very beneficial. I take 12 to 15 grams daily along with Coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine. I also take 10 grams or so of magnesium ascorbate. Magnesium is very important for the proper electrical functioning of the heart.

Brian C.
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Location: Ongar, UK

Postby Biologist » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:30 am

Hi, sillystringtheory.

Do you know what some of your cholesterol readings were before and after lipitor?

How about blood pressure readings at various points pre and post treatment?

Are you male or female?


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Postby sillystringtheory » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:45 pm

I am male.
No I don't remember the readings of my cholesterol. Suffice to say my cholesterol was pretty bad and had been for at least 15 years.
When I was put on Lipitor I also started taking Garlique, calcium, magnesium, zinc and went a diet. As I said above, I had lost 50 pounds (although I have gained about 7 back. My last blood cholesterol test in October was decribed to me as perfect in every way. Don't know what it is now. My blood pressure had been good until two weeks ago when I went to the GP. She said it was slightly elevated. 135 /90. I see her again in less than 2 weeks. I guess I will have to look for a new cardiologist soon.
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Postby Biologist » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:44 am

"My last blood cholesterol test in
October was decribed to me as
perfect in every way."

That's scary. A typical physician's idea of "perfect in every way" implies way too low cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol is one cause of heart arrhythmias (and other problems). The mechanism for it is described in Henry Lorin's book "Alzhiemer's Solved."

Having any opinion at all on string theory implies some scientific interest if not attitude. (I'm kinda so so on string theory myself :) .) I recommend you read that book. Losing weight, "high cholesterol," blood pressure issues, arrhythmias and statins are discussed at length.

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Postby Cat Mom2 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:19 pm

Biologist- Again, another good post! "Low cholesterol is one cause of heart arrhythmias (and other problems)." I have found this to be SO true with me! At 167, I was hardly functionable. At 267, I was fine, at 228 I was having problems and I could feel my heartbeating oddly at the lower levels. It still feels like it beats oddly at times but no longer feels like it is jumping out of my chest like it did when I was on statins and my cholesterol so low.

The company I work for is requiring us to have an comperhensive physical and while everyone else dreads it, I am looking forwards to it and all at the companies expense!

sillystringtheory- Sounds like you went through h*ll. It is wonderful that you finally did what the doctors failed to do and that was to put the puzzel together and figure out what was wrong.. just as so many of us have had to do. They are of little help anymore but are great at making us worse, then look at us like we are crazy when we tell them what we have discovered.. Boy! Do they hate the internet! Good luck in your recovery and remember the lesson you have learned from this...
Cat Mom2
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Postby Biologist » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:33 pm

Thanks, Cat Mom2.

BTW, in my last post the word "attitude" was supposed to have been "aptitude."

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