Statins: Are They Safe?
Statins are drugs that are prescribed to lower the LDL or “bad” cholesterol level in your blood. Some examples of statins include Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor. They work by blocking the liver enzyme that produces cholesterol. By lowering cholesterol, they might help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and death due to heart disease.
After years of clinical studies, the newest American Heart Association report, published in December 2018, states that statins are considered safe and their benefits far outweigh the risks of side effects.
Many people take statins without significant side effects, however, as with all drugs, side effects are possible.
The most commonly reported side effects include muscle aches and weakness, as well as elevated blood sugar which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If, while taking a statin, you experience these or any other side effects listed in the drug advisory notes included with your prescription, talk with your doctor. He or she may choose to reduce your dosage or prescribe a different statin to provide effective care without adverse side effects.
Always read the patient advisory information to learn about dosage and timing, side effects, interactions with other medications and foods, and more. With many statins, it’s important to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice.