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PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Different statin, same pain

July 23, 2007|Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | and and Special to The Times

I have tried many statin drugs for cholesterol, but all gave me muscle pain and cramps. My doctor put me on Zetia and insists it can't cause muscle pain since it is not absorbed into the bloodstream. I still have muscle pain, cramps and tingling in my legs and feet. Can Zetia cause this?

Although Zetia works differently from statin cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lipitor or Zocor, it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Muscle side effects seem to be less common with Zetia than with statin drugs, but they can happen. Ask about another approach for cholesterol control.

I read that Proscar and Avodart both cause impotence. My boyfriend is on Proscar and recently said he would rather have a backrub than sex.

According to his doctor, my friend has the smallest prostate he's ever seen. Why do the doctors want to shrink it to nothing? Is it sex or death? If I had a choice like that to make, I'd go for sex.

I have heard that it is possible for healthy people to have sex for life. Would it help if he didn't take the pill for the weekend?

Drugs like Avodart and Proscar shrink the prostate by altering testosterone metabolism. This can lead to reduced libido and erectile dysfunction. Although impotence may be treated with medications like Viagra or Cialis, there is no approved remedy for low libido.

It is not clear that a "drug holiday" on weekends would restore his sex drive. He might ask his doctor whether a lower dose might solve the libido problem and still protect his prostate.

Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon, an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition, can be reached at www.peoplespharmacy.com or care of this newspaper.

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