Unique Solutions for Statin Drug Intolerance


For years statin drugs like Lipator and Levacor have been used to successfully treat high cholesterol but very few patients and doctors fully understand the potential for muscle damage and the consequential under-treatment of their cardiovascular system. Despite what your doctor may have told you statin drug intolerance is quite common and some patients experience severe debilitating muscle pains, fatigue, and cramping. When this occurs patients often discontinue use of the medication not knowing there are other options for treatment of their high cholesterol and general cardiovascular disease prevention. Doctor Terranella and Dr Cline at Southwest Integrative Medicine use a new systematic process to treat your high cholesterol without these side effects .

The process

The first thing to know about treating patients with statin intolerance is that the goal is not just about lowering cholesterol numbers but look at the cardiovascular system more globally. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are important but provide the most protection when optimized in combination with other emerging cardiovascular tests. As an example, research suggests that 50-60 % of men and women that suffer from strokes and heart attacks have normal cholesterol and blood pressure. With this in mind we should focus on reducing risk of cardiovascular disease from multiple angles inclusive of cholesterol. For example, when we treat someone with a statin intolerance we:

1. Identify the target cholesterol based on your unique family and personal medical history. There is not one target cholesterol number for everyone. According to research followed by most cardiologist your target cholesterol will change based on significant family or personal cardiovascular issues. 

2. Identify inherent risks or reason for stain intolerance. If you have had a previous intolerance to statin medication there may be a reason for it. Vitamin deficiencies, too high dose, genetics, medication interactions, etc are all possible reasons. It’s important to identify these issues as it relates to your overall health.

3. Look at emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease like inflammation. Inflammation is probably the most important measurement because without inflammation, the cholesterol levels don’t matter. Indeed, if you have no inflammation, you would not get cardiovascular disease. We all have some inflammation and we need some inflammation but the level should be kept to a minimum for optimal cardiovascular function. 

4. Implement the above, retest, and re-evaluate. 

So if you have had or are having stain drug intolerance, talk to your doctor about the items listed above. It is not recommended to stop taking any medication without first consulting a physician. Our approach was modified from this article in Diabetes Care


The naturopathic doctors at Southwest Integrative Medicine have helped thousands of patients in the phoenix area with a variety of health conditions and concerns. They will take the time to get to know you as an individual by listening and spending time to really understand your health. They help you get healthier with logical, practical, and individually tailored treatments, suggestions, and medicines. They believe that treatment is not about what the right medicine for your condition, it’s about the right medicine for you.