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Feb 1, 2023



What Are Statins?

What are Statins?

Statins, also referred to as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors are a drug class of medications, most frequently prescribed to treat dyslipidemia (abnormal blood lipid levels).

Statin medications work by lowering your LDL levels by preventing your liver from producing cholesterol and therefore, decreasing your risk of developing a stroke and/or heart attack.

There are 6 statins available:

  • Atorvastatin (brand: Lipitor): 10–80 mg daily
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor): 5–40 mg daily
  • Simvastatin (Zocor): 10–40 mg daily in the evening
  • Fluvastatin (Lescol XL (extended-release): 20–80 mg taken in the evening
  • Pitavastatin (Livalo, Zypitamag): 1–4 mg daily
  • Pravastatin (Pravachol): 10–80 mg daily

What are statins used for?

  • Hyperlipidemia or dyslipidemia, also known as abnormally high cholesterol
  • Decreases the risk of experiencing a heart attack and/or stroke, or developing severe chest pain, otherwise known as angina
  • In individuals with type 2 diabetes or coronary artery disease, statins are commonly used to lower the risk of further heart disease progression.

What are the side effects of statins?

  • Myopathy (skeletal muscle disorder)
  • Myalgias (muscle pain)
  • Arthralgia (joint pain)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Serious side effects of statin medications include the following:

  • Hepatotoxicity, otherwise known as severe liver damage.

    The level of enzymes that indicate liver inflammation may rise after taking a statin. If the rise is relatively minimal, you can keep taking the medication. Rarely, you might need to try a new statin if the rise is significant.

  • Cognitive impairment (may develop memory loss and/or confusion)

    Learn more about the effects statins have on dementia.

  • Increased blood sugar levels.

    Taking a statin may cause your blood sugar (blood glucose) level to rise, which might result in the onset of type 2 diabetes.

    The FDA has included a warning about blood glucose levels and diabetes on the labels of statins due to the slight but significant risk.

Who’s at a greater risk of developing statin side effects?

Your risk of adverse effects with statins may rise due to certain risk factors. You could be more susceptible to negative side effects if you:

  • Sex (females)
  • Greater than 80 years old
  • Have kidney and/or liver issues
  • Have particular ailments such as hypothyroidism or neuromuscular diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

What interacts with statins?

A number of medications, including digoxin, clarithromycin, protease inhibitors, cyclosporin, gemfibrozil, oral contraceptives, and pravastatin, can interact with several statins, including atorvastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin.

Statins and grapefruit/grapefruit juice may interact with one another. This can result in your body retaining more of the medication. Products made from grapefruit should not be consumed without first consulting your doctor.

If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or suspect you may be pregnant, avoid taking statins. These medications may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, stop statin therapy and call your healthcare provider.

Speak With Your Doctor

Statins are generally safe and tolerable medications for most individuals. Speak with your healthcare provider about which statin medication is best suited for you and send your prescription to Marley Drug. Save up to 95% compared to your local pharmacy by using Marley Drug.

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