Simvastatin: This Happened To Me Too!
A 46-year-old male physician had been treated with atorvastatin and pravastatin for his hypercholesterolemia. He had no other medical history. He was then placed on the combination product simvastatin 20 mg and ezetimibe 10 mg (Vytorin). Four months after starting on these two agents, the patient ruptured his left biceps tendon while simply lifting a box from his car. The patient was not on any other medications and did not have any arm pain before this incident. The patient required surgical repair of the tendon and was not restarted on the simvastatin and ezetimibe for another 2 months. After a short period of time, the man started having pain in his other arm over the biceps tendon. The medication was stopped and the pain resolved within 2 weeks.
The authors of this report point out that tendinopathy or tendon rupture are very rare with the class of drugs commonly called the “statins.” Their search of PubMed yielded only four reports of tendinopathy or tendinitis. There were no reports of tendon rupture. The authors also state that in almost 84,000 patients randomly assigned to placebo or statins in clinical trials, there were no reports of tendinitis or tendon rupture. There are 247 reports of tendon rupture in the Food and Drug Administration’s adverse-event reporting system database associated with statin therapy.
Emphasis added by me.
So there I was in the shower one morning soaping up my left underarm and noticing that I’d been having trouble lifting that arm as well as stretching it. What I discovered was a thin strip of something under my skin, where there had never been anything before. And there wasn’t anything similar in my right arm. I’d never before had anything like this in my life. Even muscle sprains (mainly leg and wrist) never presented themselves like that. And I hadn’t done any heavy lifting or unusual activity.
I called up anatomical charts, drawings, and photos on the Net. I couldn’t figure out what the hell it was. Nothing looked like it or even gave a hint of where it came from.
I saw two of my doctors. They were stumped. One of them even opened his desktop anatomical reference. And he couldn’t find it, either.
I asked both of these doctors if this could a side-effect of the Simvastatin. Both said No.
Then I saw my cardiologist. He, surprisingly, said it was a tendon. I also asked him if it was Simvastatin-related. He too said No.
Now I find out the FDA has had other reports of this?