4 mins read

Side Effect Of Statins On The Body

Statins are a class of drugs prescribed by Internal Medicine specialist in Lahore to battle high serum cholesterol; in fact, they are one of the most widely advised drugs throughout the world. Use of these drugs mitigates the risk of cardiovascular and other disorders like stroke. Read on to know more about statins, and their side effects with prolonged use:

What are Statins?

Statins are special drugs that work to reduce total cholesterol in the body, by stopping the enzyme needed to make cholesterol. These drugs are also prescribed to mitigate the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disorder, by stabilizing the cholesterol plaques on vessel walls.

Who are Statins Recommended for?

As mentioned before, statins are recommended to prevent risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases—like heart attack, angina and coronary artery disease. In particular, people with high serum total cholesterol, high levels of serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) are prescribed statins. In such individuals, the risk of heart diseases is high, and statins lower this risk by reducing cholesterol in the body.

Side Effects of all Statins

Statins have specific side-effects like:

  • Muscle aches: commonly, patients complain of pain, soreness and weakness of the muscles, ranging from mild to severe. In fact, these muscle aches are one of the reasons many patients are non-compliant to statins.

In severe cases, life-threatening muscle damage like rhabdomyolysis occurs, which is muscle breakdown inducing liver and kidney damage.

  • Hyperglycemia: patients taking statins have higher blood sugar levels (BSL), putting the patient at risk for type 2 diabetes. Healthcare providers are therefore careful about prescribing statins to those with prediabetes and diabetes. However, in the latter, the pros and cons of taking statins is weighed against the risk of disease.
  • Liver damage: statins can raise the liver enzymes signifying inflammatory changes and localized damage. Healthcare providers order liver function tests (LFTs) before prescribing statins to get a baseline level and keep an eye on them throughout treatment. Symptoms of liver damage include: fatigue, pain in the abdomen, jaundice and loss of appetite.
  • Neurological side effects: rarely, side effects of statins include confusion and memory loss. However, these are reversible side-effects, which become better once the drug is stopped. This side-effect is still being studied.

Who Is At Risk Of Developing Side Effects To Statins?

Cholesterol-Lowering Treatments, Side Effects | Everyday Health

The side effects of statins are not the same for everyone. There are certain people who are prone to developing these adverse reactions. The risk factors for statin side effects include:

  • People who are already taking many lipid lowering drugs
  • People aged of 80 years and above
  • People who drink a lot of alcohol
  • Women are more prone to statin side-effects
  • Patients already suffering from liver or kidney disease
  • People with a smaller frame
  • Patients with neuromuscular disorders like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and autoimmune disorders like hypothyroidism.

Drug Interaction Of Statins

Statins can interact with other drugs and foods to cause side effects. For this reason, patients should inform their healthcare provider about all over-the-counter medication, herbal supplements and prescription drugs they are taking before starting statins. Some drugs interacting with statins include:

  • Amiodarone the anti-arrhythmic heart drug
  • Drugs for treatment of HIV—like protease inhibitors
  • Lipid lowering drug gemfibrozil
  • Immunosuppressant drugs like cyclosporine
  • Antifungals and antibiotics like itraconazole and clarithromycin

Alternative to Statins 

In individuals suffering from increased side-effects due to statins, alternatives include:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Reducing weight
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Smoking cessation
  • Exercising regularly

If these measures are not enough to control high cholesterol in the blood, your healthcare provider, available for booking at oladoc.com, can recommend statins and other lipid-lowering drugs.