Physicians prescribe statins for patients with high cholesterol and decrease heart attack risk. Although statins are very effective, they have been associated with muscle pain, mental fuzziness, and digestive problems. It may cause liver damage on rare occasions. Statins commonly prescribed are; fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), pitavastatin (Livalo), lovastatin (Altoprev), rosuvastatin (Crestor) pravastatin simvastatin (Zocor) as well as (Pravachol).
Statins block a compound that the liver requires to manufacture cholesterol. It stimulates liver to get rid of cholesterol. However, if you have been experiencing some side effects from statins, do not stop your medication just like that. Talk to your physician about a change in dosage or request for another form of medicines.
What are some of the statin side effects?
Muscle pain and damage
Many of those who have taken statins have complained about muscle pain. They appear in the form of soreness, weakness or tiredness in your muscles. You might experience some mild pain, or even experience severe pain that makes you unable to work and engage in any active activities.
Oddly enough, there have been numerous studies about statins that show people taking it develop muscle pain the same to those who take the placebo. The research has also shown that about 30 percent of those who use statins report muscle pain and a big percentage of the cease to use the drugs as soon as they experience the side effects.
It is very rare for statins to cause deadly damage of the muscle which is known as rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis usually lead to chronic muscle pain, kidney failure, and liver damage and sometimes even cause death. The risk of very chronic side effects is somewhat negligible and only a small percentage of those taking statins. Rhabdomyolysis usually arises when you use statin with other drugs. It may also occur if you overdose the medication.
Occasionally, the use of statin could stimulate more production of enzymes that cause the liver to swell. If the increase is small, you can still take the drug. Rarely, if the swelling is dangerous, you may be forced to use another type of statin. Although issues with life rarely occur, your physician may order a liver enzyme test as soon as you have started using the drug. However, your body doesn’t require liver enzyme tests unless you start showing signs of problems with your liver. Go and see your care provider as soon as you can, if you have unusual weakness, pain in the upper part of the abdomen, lack of appetite, the yellowing of the skin or eyes and even dark urine.
Increased blood sugar/ type 2 diabetes
The use of the statin can truly lead to an increase in blood sugar, which may trigger the development of type 2 diabetes. Although the risk is nothing to worry about, the Food and Drug Administration-FDA has published a warning on statin labels about diabetes and blood sugar levels.
Statins inhibit the possibility of getting heart attacks in those who have diabetes. Therefore, the small increase in the level of sugar with statins studied in individual patients is not yet certain. The advantages of using statins apparently outweigh the small risk to have the blood sugar level increase.
Neurological side effects
The FDA has also issued a report on its labels that individual patients have developed memory loss while using statins. The side effects reverse once you cease using the drug. There is no sufficient evidence to prove there is a cause-effect. However, communicate with your physician if you experience memory loss while using the medication. But there is proof that statins improve the function of the brain especially in patients with dementia.
But, it is not yet studied that the common problems patients experience when using these medications caused by the drug. Research has suggested that there are similar side effects in most people. No matter if a placebo or statin is used.
What are some of the few side effects of the statin?
• Feeling sick
• Weight gain or losing appetite
• Experiencing nightmares and insomnia
• Peripheral neuropathy. Which is the loss of sensation in the nerve endings of your hands and feet
• Memory issues.
• Problems with the eye visions –if you experience this, don’t use machinery, tools or drive for your safety
• Persistent ringing in the ears
Memory, thinking as well as concentration
Certain individuals have complained about changes in memory, concentration or attention on statins. They may find it hard to spell and mention certain words correctly, forget certain tasks they have been doing earlier; and difficulty in concentrating during conversations. Others say that they experience holes in their memory, while there are those who think they are developing Alzheimer’s.
Of course, many of those who use this drug are seniors, and for that reason, they may experience loss of memory, and it is not simple to know if the drugs are responsible. However, there are those who claimed to have experience improvement in memory and thinking when they cease using statins or development if the dosage is reduced significantly. These findings prove that statin is responsible.
At the moment, there is two randomized controlled test that studied these drugs. One of the trials was done in 2000 and published the same year in May in the journal referred to as American Journal of Medicine. Dr. Matthew Muldoon is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and he stated that statin drugs had been proven to minimize cognition meaning those who were on a statin drug did not do real tests of memory ability and thinking, even though they began at the same time as those who were under a placebo pill.
On average the effects were termed as negligible, but of course, there are those who don’t have alteration, while there are those who get a huge loss when it comes to memory and thinking. The second study which was done by Dr. Muldoon shared similar thoughts. However, in a separate test of the drug, there were no effects on cognitive function. That study, individuals aged 70 above, was not expressly meant to assess the effect of the medication thinking, but there were some indications on cognitive function.
Depression and Irritability
Some people have experienced in the mood on statins on things such as loss of interest in activities as well as a loss of interest in social involvement. There have patients who have claimed about Frank depression. However, there is no report that the side effects of statin are more common in patients taking statins than in those who don’t. However, individual patients lose their moods while on the drugs and better when not using the drug. It is possible that there are patients who show an improvement in their mood with low cholesterol, although it has not sufficiently been proved. In rare occasions, psychosis, violence, as well as suicide, have been witnessed.
Although muscle pain is a side effect of the drug that is well known, there have been other pain effects that have been reported by those who are using statins, but have not been researched on extensively include joint pains, headaches as well as abdominal pain.
Studies have also shown that peripheral neuropathy may occur to those under statins medication.
Rare side effects
• visual problems
• bruising easily or bleeding
Who can experience the side effects of the statin?
• Using several drugs to lower your cholesterol
• Being a female
• Having a small body
• Age 65 and above
• Having liver or kidney disease
• Taking excess alcohol
• Food and drugs that the drug causes the effects to statin
Grapefruit juice features a chemical that can affect the enzymes that metabolize the statin in the digestive system. While it is not a must to eliminate grapefruit entirely from diet, talk to your physician about how much grapefruit you can have.
The following drugs that may be associated with statins also may cause side effects, and they include
• Amiodarone – a medication for irregular heart beats
• Lopid- another type of cholesterol drug
• Protease inhibitors, such as ritonavir (Norvir) and saquinavir
• Certain antifungal and antibiotic and medications, such as itraconazole, and clarithromycin and such as cyclosporine- Gengraf, and Neoral,
Their hundreds of drugs that associate with statins, so make sure that your physician knows all the medicines you take when being prescribed with statins.
What causes statin side effects?
No one knows what causes the side effects of statin, sorer the muscle pain.
Statins work by reducing the speed of production of cholesterol in your body. Your body manufactures only the cholesterol it requires by digesting food and building new cells. When this production is slowed down, the body starts to draw the cholesterol it requires from the food you consume, lowering the amount cholesterol. Statins may not only affect the ability of the liver to produce cholesterol but also various enzymes in muscle cells that promote muscle growth. The effects of medication on th the proteins and cells may be lead to muscle aches.
How to relieve statin side effects
To alleviate the effects of statin, your physician will recommend various options. Talk about the steps with your care provider before trying them: Take a small break from statin therapy. At certain times you can easily tell whether the muscle aches or the issues you are facing are as a result of statin side effects or just as a consequence of aging. Taking a brief break can help you know if statins or other factors cause your aches and pains.
Switch to another type of statin drug.
It may happen, although not likely, that a given statin have side effects on you while a different type of statin would just be okay. People think that Zocor may use lead to muscle pain as a side effect. Reducing your medications may reduce some of the side effects, but it may also compromise a few cholesterol-lowering benefits the drugs have. You can also take the drug on a daily basis
Be easy when exercising because vigorous exercise may increase the risk of muscle injury in patients who are taking statins. It is wise to have changes in your exercise routine each step at a time. Training lead to muscle pain as well. So, it may be hard to know whether the pain is caused by the statin or the exercise in a person who has just begun working out.
Consider other cholesterol-lowering options. But statins are work effectively and are very good at reducing your cholesterol. You can also purchase other forms of the drug in the stores. Using several types of cholesterol drugs can give you the same result. You can as well use coenzyme Q10 supplements. This is because they are known to reduce the side effects of statin in certain individuals, though there is extensive research that needs to be done to determine any benefits of statins.
Weigh the risks and benefits
Although the side effects of the drug can be irritating, taking into account the benefits of taking a statin before choosing your preferred medication. Statins drugs help to reduce heart attack and stroke, and the risk of getting deadly diseases.
Although the side effects may annoy you, don’t cease using statin medication at any point without communicating to your physician. The doctor will share with you a plan that can lower your cholesterol irritating side effects.
If you feel as if the drug causes the effects, ask your care provider to do a test in which you stop taking the medicine, or minimize the medication. If you and your care provider think that it is safe to try out, the symptoms may come back or worsen once you start using the drug again. You may use another statin medication or a non-statin drug.