What Does a Statin Actually Do? Uses & Side Effects

What are statins? Learn how these cholesterol-lowering medicines work, in addition to what negative effects they might trigger

Statins are a category of drugs that decrease blood cholesterol, primarily low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also referred to as “dangerous” ldl cholesterol.

Statins work primarily by reducing the exercise of the important thing enzyme concerned in ldl cholesterol synthesis within the physique (hydroxymethylglutaryl [HMG]-CoA reductase). They assist stabilize plaque and stop these fatty deposits from build up within the partitions of the arteries and inflicting blockages that may result in heart attack or stroke.

Within the U.S., statins obtainable available in the market embrace: 

Who ought to take statins?

Whether or not it’s worthwhile to take statins is dependent upon your cholesterol levels and total heart well being. Ldl cholesterol is the waxy substance discovered within the blood, and excessive ranges of LDL or “dangerous” ldl cholesterol can put you liable to plaque buildup.

Within the preliminary levels, a excessive LDL cholesterol degree may be managed by life-style adjustments corresponding to a wholesome diet, exercise, and quitting smoking. Nonetheless, if these measures fail or will not be sufficient, your physician might prescribe statins to decrease your threat of creating cardiovascular issues.

Pregnant or breastfeeding ladies mustn’t take statins, and ladies trying to conceive should discontinue use. Usually, statins must be discontinued no less than 6 weeks and ideally 12 weeks earlier than deliberate conception.

What are the negative effects of statins?

Uncomfortable side effects of statins embrace:

Muscle harm or weakness: The most typical aspect impact of statins is the event of statin-associated muscle signs (SAMS). SAMS could also be felt as muscle soreness, weak spot, or fatigue. Very not often, statins might trigger life-threatening muscle harm known as rhabdomyolysis.
Liver harm: Harm to the liver might trigger loss of appetite, weak spot, fatigue, pain within the stomach, or yellowish discoloration of the pores and skin and eyes.
Kidney dysfunction: That is an unusual aspect impact which will happen secondary to rhabdomyolysis (muscle harm). Kidney harm might current as altered urine output, swelling over the face or feet, pale skin, and weak spot.
Diabetes mellitus: Analysis means that statins have an effect on the best way glucose is utilized by the physique, which can enhance the danger of diabetes, notably with intensive remedy. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t discourage you from taking your statin when you’ve got coexisting diabetes. Talk about along with your physician to allow them to alter your dose accordingly.
Neurological and behavioral points: Analysis means that statins could also be related to mood changes corresponding to irritability and aggression, depression, and reminiscence impairment, though scientific proof is inadequate to help this declare.
Neuropathy: Some research have advised that statin use might trigger neuropathy (nerve harm), though analysis remains to be inconclusive.
Lupus: Statins have been related to an autoimmune situation known as lupus (drug-induced lupus) in some folks.

Should you develop negative effects while you’re on statins, contact your physician. Your physician will consider your situation and should prescribe you a unique statin, modify the dose of the identical statin, or prescribe one other treatment altogether.


What is cholesterol?
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Medically Reviewed on 7/29/2021