Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


For the last year or so, my wife has been describing pain in practically all of her muscles and joints. The pain would get so bad it would keep her from getting decent sleep. Often she would wake up in the middle of the night and roll around in pain, unable to get comfortable or get back to sleep.

Can you imagine having pain in all of your muscles?  And not knowing why? And nothing you do makes it abate?  No, it's not "God" punishing her for anything, as they would have suggested in centuries past.

She has been using a chiropractor off and on, and on one of her visits about a month ago, she described the muscle pain to him. Looking over the various medications she was taking, he zeroed in on Zetia (ezetimibe) and suggested she discontinue that one. He claimed that some of his patients reported Zetia causing muscle pain like hers.

I did some research and discovered that muscle pain was indeed listed as a side effect of Zetia, along with hundreds of other symptoms. We get so used to these long, long lists of side effects for pharmaceuticals that we don't really pay that much attention to them, except to laugh at the absurdity of some of these TV commercials.

We should all pay more attention.

A rather sizeable number of patients report muscle pain associated with taking Zetia, especially if they were also taking other drugs to control cholesterol.

Here's the "short list" of side effects for Zetia:

serious side effects:
  • unusual muscle weakness, tenderness, or pain;
  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • chest pain;
  • pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate); or
  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash.

Less serious side effects may include:
  • numbness or tingly feeling;
  • mild stomach pain, diarrhea;
  • tired feeling;
  • headache;
  • dizziness;
  • depressed mood;
  • runny or stuffy nose, cold symptoms;
  • joint pain, back pain; or
  • cough.

And of course, this is not a complete list. You can find that encyclopedia here.

She'd been prescribed Zetia by her GP because she'd been having some high cholesterol readings. Zetia is supposed to reduce the amount of cholesterol or sterols that your body absorbs from your diet. 

Getting desperate from the pain, she gave the chiro's suggestion a try and quit taking the Zetia.

Within 24 hours, she was muscle-pain free. She said she hadn't felt this good since .... she couldn't remember when.

It's now been over a month since she quit taking Merck's Zetia and she has had zero recurrence of muscle pain.

This really pisses me off, but I guess we should count our blessings.  At least she didn't experience pancreatitis, or her skin didn't start peeling off!

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