Consultant Clinical Neurophysiologist
Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, EX2 5DW
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Re: Neuropathy from statins
Email Dr Elias Ragi:
As I continue to discover neuropathy from anticholesterol statins,
may I follow up on my letter of 5 May.
In your Journal's issue of 16 December 2000, Kastelein exalts the
merits of lowering blood cholesterol with statins.
In 6 January issue, Muldoon et al exonerate statins from "significant"
non-illness mortality and thus implicitly amplify the benefits from
In the past year, I have discovered - and reported to the Medicines
Control Agency - 16 cases of progressive generalised axonal neuropathy,
most likley to have been caused by statins.
Patients were 52 to 80 years old, mean 62, mostly males (4:1). Statins
inculpated, and number, are: simvastatin - 5;
pravastatin - 4; atorvastatin - 4; cerivastatin - 3.
Most patients presented with rather progressive weakness or loss
of co-ordination in the lower limbs. Neuropathy - and its association
with statins - was discovered by nerve conduction studies. In some
cases, it is the patient who first suspected the association. Weakness
occured within two months of instituting, or increasing dosage,
of the statin. The neuropathy is severe and in several cases leading
to muscle denervation. Neuropathy may reverse if the stain is stopped.
Yet neuropathy was not suspected and the patient asked to continue
on the statin.
I declare having no competing interests.
Dr Elias Ragi
Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital