There is a growing and considerable amount of research involving the use of Red Yeast Rice by those people who can’t tolerate the side effects from the statin group of cholesterol lowering drugs. In 2009 a paper was published that looked at this very issue in which the authors commented that muscle pain and inflammation was cited it some 1023 articles (between July 1993 – April 2009) and affected some 10% of statin users. The onset of muscle pain was also noted to start from 1 week through to 48 months after starting the medication. The study went on to test red yeast rice (RYR) in those people who could not tolerate the side effects associated with their statins. Although the study only ran for 6 months the results were impressive and highlighted that, over the 6 months, the RYR supplement did not trigger muscle pains and was very well tolerated by those who previously endured statin related muscle pains. The RYR also had significant cholesterol lowering effects. In a follow up study published this year in the American Journal of Cardiology RYR was again used in those people who has previous adverse reactions to statins and again the same positive result was seen; RYR was well tolerated and achieved a comparable reduction of cholesterol in those previously intolerant to statins.
As the author of both papers sums up; ‘Statin-associated myalgia (muscle pain) is an important clinical problem that will likely become more prevalent owing to the ever expanding indications for statin use. Although no definitive conclusions could be drawn, our data showed that the red yeast rice was as well tolerated as pravastatin and achieved similar and clinically significant levels of LDL cholesterol reduction in a population with previous statin intolerance.’