When I first wrote of my personal side effects of Lipitor, my words were focused purely on transient global amnesia (TGA). This is because, in 1999, shortly after this drug was started by my doctors at Johnson Space Center as part of my annual astronaut physical, this is what I experienced.
A year later, they re-started me on the same statin, Lipitor, at half the previous dose, saying that my first 6-hour episode of TGA was only a coincidence. Two months later, I again experienced TGA. For twelve hours I was a thirteen-year-old high school student who knew my subjects, teachers and every kid in my class (according to my worried wife) but with no memory for my entire adult life. I laughed when they told me I was married with children and a doctor. I could not have doctored a mouse and certainly had no children. I was thirteen! Fifty-six years of rich and fulfilled adult life had vanished from my mind as if it had never occurred.
I have to stress that my muscle aches and pains have been with me for a long time, primarily involving upper legs and lower back. Never did I think the muscle pain was caused by exercise. My original symptoms were pain and growing weakness whether I exercised or not. This is why my need for pain management. It has helped to keep me functional when my only alternative was to be an achy couch-potato. I seemed to have crossed a threshold of regaining mitochondrial function starting first with muscles. The pain possibly is neuropathic in origin and generally expected to be resistant to treatment.
I interpret this to mean my myopathy seems to be improving while any neuropathy is lagging behind, or may never improve. I have an impression the testosterone has helped but who knows? I have to add that my testosterone level was barely detectable. I did not recall my sexual history as all that bad but who knows what it might have been?
I still focus on mitochondrial damage as the cause and have to assume that mitochondrial genesis has occurred to account for my improvement. It all fits well with my understanding of the physiology involved. If this information is of help or gives hope to others out there I will feel amply rewarded.
Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor
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