Statins: How the drug prevents heart attacks and strokes
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Statins are a group of medicines that lower the amount of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the body, according to the NHS. There are five different types of statin available on prescription in the UK, including atorvastatin, fluvastatin, and pravastatin. If you’re worried about statins side effects, you should consider speaking to a doctor about a ‘statin rechallenge’.
Statins are a vital treatment for patients with high cholesterol levels.
Having high cholesterol can be very dangerous, as it causes the arteries to become increasingly narrow.
Blood circulation will subsequently be impacted by having narrows arteries, and it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease.
While the medication is extremely valuable to patients, it can lead to a number of unwanted side effects.
Statins side effects
Muscle pain is one of the most common types of side effect reported after taking statins, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Your muscles may feel sore, weak and achy, and it can make living your everyday life difficult.
But severe muscle damage is extremely rare, and there are usually some ways to work around the side effects.
Statins patients have also reported excessive cramping, stiffness and tenderness.
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Do the positives of statins outweigh the negatives?
Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, statins could lower your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart-related deaths by between 25 and 30 percent.
Harvard Medical School said: “You are unlikely to experience side effects from these drugs. If you do, there are ways to reverse them.
“Despite all the bad publicity about statin side effects, most men are unlikely to experience them. And if you do notice a problem, don’t jump to conclusions: It may not be the statin causing it.
“Even when muscle symptoms can be tied to taking a statin, your doctor can offer some options for how to continue getting the benefits of these drugs.”
When to do a ‘statin rechallenge’
It’s incredibly rare for patients to develop side effects as a result of their statins.
But, if you’re worried about side effects, you should speak to a doctor for their advice.
They might recommend trying a statin rechallenge, said Harvard Medical School.
“This means you stop taking the statin, wait a few weeks for the drug to clear out of your system, and start taking it again.
“If the problems don’t come back, then the statin probably wasn’t the cause.”
But you should never stop taking your medication without speaking to a doctor first.
If your symptoms do reappear after the statin rechallenge, your doctor may suggest trying a different type of statin.
Alternatively, they might offer you a more potent statin at a lower dose.
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