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Burning face and jaw for one year following lopid/niacin.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:18 pm
by BSGfan
Hello. I am a late-40s male with a one year history of cramping and burning sensations along the right side of my jaw and face following a Lopid-Mevacor-Niacin interaction. My doctor told me such damage is rarely permanent and usually fades in just a few months...but after one full year it is obvious I may have some long term damage here.

I have tried other cholesterol drugs such as Zetia and Lipitor but find they tend to make the burning worse. This concerned my doctor and he removed me from these drugs.

My symptoms will also worsen if I am under strong muscular or emotional stress, or after strenuous chewing--hardly surprising considering this is my jaw--and, bizarrely, will also worsen a bit if I consume chocolate, cinnamon, garlic, green tea, fish oil capsules, or flax seed oil capsules.

I have also tried a Nature Made vitamin pack containing chromium and alpha lipoic acid and have also tried coenzyme q-10; I find they also will exacerbate the burning sensations, usually considerably more than the foodstuffs will. Also, the q-10 really turned my stomach, even after a meal. I do have a hiatal hernia; perhaps that makes me a bit more sensitive than most.

I am largely unconcerned with the mild reactions with the foodstuffs, reckoning I'm having something akin to a flush response; besides, I can't think of anything in garlic or cinnamon that would aggravate a neuromuscular injury.

However, the other reactions, to the coenzyme q-10, to the fish oil capsules, etc., leave me fearing I may be aggravating my injury.

In addition to my high cholesterol, I was also recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, pre-diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver syndrome.

One physician I discussed my facial symptoms with suggested that the reaction I had to co-enzyme q-10 in particular might be related to my pre-diabetes and to my body's compromised ability to deal with fats and carbohydrates. I have read that q-10 is best taken with a fatty meal, and that flax seed oil capsules are difficult for diabetics to digest properly--they are better off simply eating flax.

I had been taking Lopid and Zocor for several years; aside from a mild cramping along my right jaw (the same area that I ultimately had the painful burning from the mevacor-niacin-lopid reaction) which I simply put down to tension, and I had no overt problems.

In the past couple years, though, I noticed I was developing headaches, ocular migraines, and, in particular, severe lower back cramps. The problem with my back got so bad I would need acupuncture treatments every few weeks just to function. I suspected the statins were contributing factors. When I went off them I showed dramatic improvement very quickly. It's been seven months since my last acupuncture session for my back and I feel great.

So, that's my backstory. Since I went off the statins last year my cholesterol has been elevated, I have pre-diabetes, and the fatty liver problem, and my doctor is yelling at me to resume statins asap, which I am reluctant to do, especially after reading some of the postings on this board.

Suggestions? I would like to continue with the cinnamon to lower my blood sugar, and the fish oil and flax seed oil for cardiovascular health. I'd also like to try again with coenzyme q-10 for muscle and nerve health. However, all of these substances do aggravate my facial burning a bit and I'd like to get some reassurances I am not doing any additional permanent damage to myself.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:29 am
by Biologist

Both cinnamon and garlic have HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibition properties. They are natural statins in "therapeutic doses." That's the answer to that part of the question.


PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:40 pm
by SusieO
BSGfan; I am unable to take CoQ10 (causes migraines even in a very low dose), plus I can't take Niacin (in a multi-vitamin) as well as cinnamon capsules and Lopid due to it only aggravating the damage that was done by taking Lipitor.

Many on this great forum can handle all the needed supplements, but my body is not able to. :cry:

Oh one more far as your doctor saying permanent damage is RARE he needs to visit this board and see all the rare folks! I was told the same thing by my doctors, too, so don't feel like you are alone!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:43 pm
by BSGfan
Thank you all for your responses.

So the answer is, yes, I am risking additional permanent damage by using cinnamon and garlic? I would think the small amounts I use for seasoning would be pretty harmless; I would think I'd have to consume large quantities to truly be a hazard. Then again, I imagine it depends on the total amount of neuromuscular damage I have. After the initial pain subsided, I was left with just a small amount of burning/cramping that really seemed like no big deal.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:00 pm
by cjbrooksjc
BSGfan: I think the operative phrase in Biologist's response is Therapeutic Dose. I can't imagine a little cinnamon or garlic as a flavoring additive would cause you any serious reaction or long-term problem.


PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:20 am
by BSGfan
Thank you, that reassuring.

I am still confused as to why my facial burning would get worse after ingesting coenzyme q-10...could it be the damaged areas are being "supercharged" by the q-10?

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:37 am
by cjbrooksjc
BSGfan: I cannot explain the reactions you are having to simple food additives. Your vitamin pack may be a culprit if it contains Niacin. Flush responses are common when ingesting Niacin. Acetyl L-Carnitine reportedly supports neuromuscular damage recovery. You might try that if you are not currently taking it, but I don't know what else to tell you. The neuromuscular problems are said to be the last symptoms to fade, so patience is all I can suggest otherwise... give recovery some time.



PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:58 pm
by BSGfan
Thank you for your assistance.

I sprained my jaw a couple weeks ago chewing some very tough food.

My reactions to such things as flaxseed, green tea, etc., seem increased.

Saw my doctor this afternoon. He felt I might have re-aggravated the injury and ordered some blood tests to check for muscle damage. When I reminded him I was taking 1000 to 2000 mg of flaxseed oil daily he said that much oil could aggravate the damage, and recommended I switch to fish oil capsules, no more than 1000 mg daily. And he also concurred with my assessment that the increased burning I felt after taking coenzyme q-10 was the q-10 stimulating the nerves and possibly promoting healing.

Hmmm. I'd been taking flaxseed oil capsules off and on for years now. Never had much of a problem with them before now. I certainly hope I haven't been inadvertantly re-aggravating my statin injury all this time. Bleah.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:50 am
by BSGfan
A few updates.

In the two months since my last posting my facial symptoms have shown a great deal of improvement. I suspended the use of all of the substances that since this summer's reaggravation of my injury seemed to make the cramping burning sensations worse. I'm been avoiding fish, fish oil capsules, B vitamin supplements, garlic, and flax seed oil capsules, and have been having regular sessions from an acupuncturist at a chronic pain management clinic.

Result? Burning sensations dramatically reduced to the point of being almost imperceptible. Cramping sensations still present, not as bad as when I sprained my jaw this summer, but worse than they usually are.

Perhaps a lot of my discomfort was influenced by food sensitivities, although my allergist and I are perplexed as to why I would abruptly develop reactions to substances I had consumed for years with absolutely no ill effect.