After taking the medicine for eight years, I developed peripheral neuropathy in my fingers and toes. The loss of feeling got progressively worse during the next six months, until I couldn’t determine if a tomato was hard or soft, and I had no feeling when holding a pencil or opening a bobby pin. The internist and neurologist diligently investigated all obvious and obscure possibilities for my condition, to no avail. I was told I would have to live with it.
Then I read a brief reference linking statins with peripheral neuropathy. With the internist’s permission, I discontinued Lipitor to see if it would have any effect. After two weeks, I had dramatic improvement in both fingers and toes; within a few months, I had regained about 90 percent of my lost sensory perception.
Others who have lost feeling in their fingers or toes should ask their doctors to consider whether a statin may be responsible.
After many tests and a multitude of drugs, I was finally given Tagamet, a then-new histamine 2 blocker. It worked like a charm. After the first Tagamet, my hives disappeared quicker than they had after a shot in the emergency room. I continued with the drug for several months until the hives finally stopped.
Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen may undo this cardiovascular benefit. That’s because such drugs compete with aspirin and keep it from doing its anti-clotting job. Research suggests that taking the NSAID pain reliever at least two hours after aspirin and eight hours before the next dose might reduce the potential interaction (Thrombosis and Haemostasis, May 2013).
Reach Joe and Terry Graedon at PeoplesPharmacy.com.