What are Statin Drugs?
Statin is a group of medicines designed to help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol within the blood. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol has often within the medical field been referred to as the ‘bad cholesterol’. Statin medication reduces the production of this inside the liver.
Your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to work efficiently; however, if there is an excessive amount within your blood, the cholesterol will begin attaching itself to the walls of your arteries resulting in the narrowing or blocking.
Individuals will be assessed on their lifestyle, such as their diet and how much exercise they do before being placed on statin medications.
Types of statins include:
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- Fluvastatin (lescol)
- Pravastatin (pravachol)
- Lovastatin (mevacor)
- Pitavastin (Pravachol)
Rosuvastatin and Atorvastatin are the most potent statin within the medicine group, while Fluvastatin is the least powerful.
Possible side effects of statin drugs
Individuals placed on either Lovastatin, Simvastatin, or Atorvastatin should altogether avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice. This is to reduce the likelihood of any form of interaction.
Unfortunately, the majority of individuals who have to take statins do have minor side effects. These can include but are not limited to:
- A rash
- A sensation of pins and needles
- Abdominal pain
The two serious side effects of statin medication which will be heavily monitored are liver failure and muscle damage. However, the likelihood of an individual experiencing these two symptoms is extremely rare.
Why have I been offered statin medication?
Suppose you are an individual who suffers from high-level LDL cholesterol. In that case, you are within a high-risk category of your arteries hardening and narrowing. The possibility of developing cardiovascular disease is significantly increased.
Cardiovascular disease (CDC) is a broad term that refers to an individual having a disease that affects the heart or the blood vessels. There are four main types of CVD, that can include:
Stroke: A stroke will occur when the blood supply to the brain becomes temporarily blocked for some time.
Angina: Angina is a result of reducing blood flow to the heart muscles. This can cause painful chest pains.
Heart attacks: A heart attack will occur when the supply of blood is suddenly blocked off.
Coronary heart disease: Coronary heart disease results from lack of or restricted blood supply to the heart.
A medical professional may opt to place you on stains if you have either:
- Been diagnosed with a form of cardiovascular disease.
- Within your family’s medical history, the likelihood of you developing CVD at some point is significantly high. (Lifestyle measures would have been put in place to reduce the risk but have failed. )
Who should not consume statin medication?
Medical professionals will always do an overall initial assessment and thoroughly discuss the possible risks and side effects of the medication along with the benefits.
If an individual has been diagnosed with liver disease, but the condition itself is stable, then taking a low dose of statins can benefit the individual, outweighing the minimal risks. However, if an individual’s liver disease is within a progressive stage, guidelines and your medical professional would warn against using statins.
It is generally not safe to combine statins with the following medication:
- Protease inhibitors (treatment for aids)
- Verapamil, which is a drug that is often used for similar purposes
- Fibrate drug, which is often used for a similar purpose
- Erythromycin, an antibiotic
- Itraconazole, an antifungal medication
- Clarithromycin, an antibiotic
- Diltiazem is a drug that is often used to treat angina, high blood pressure, and arrhythmias
Our final thoughts
Statins are a group of drugs with high benefits of lowering the risk of atherosclerosis, reducing high cholesterol, and lowering developing heart problems.
There is a minimal amount of side effects associated with statins; however, this is the case with every single type of medication out there. Specifically, with statins, the likelihood of an individual experiencing mild to severe side effects is extremely rare, with the benefits in most cases severely outweighing the negatives.
Discuss the possible risks, side effects, and benefits thoroughly with your medical professional before starting to start taking statins.
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