Statins are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with cardiovascular diseases. These are medications that lower blood cholesterol levels and are also known as HMG-CoA inhibitors. Atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin and some others are easily available in the market.
Here are 7 little-known facts that you need to know about statins:
1 . They work best in small doses
Experts say that statins work best when they are taken in small doses of around 20 mg. A small dose can reduce the cholesterol levels by 25%. However, taking higher doses may not help. Doubling a dose will further reduce just 6% of cholesterol levels. Also, higher doses can lead to unwanted side effects.
2 . They can be taken by the healthy people too
Though most patients with heart problems use statins, it is also often recommended to those who might be at risk of heart-related diseases but are otherwise healthy currently. People with a high junk diet, smokers, or people with a family history of heart-related diseases are potential candidates for statins.
3 . They may cause muscle weakness
The most common problem that has been associated with statins is muscle weakness. Most patients do not experience this side effect. If you do experience sudden lethargy and general body aches after starting a statin or after an increased dosage, bring it to your doctor’s attention. However, research studies have shown that not all statins lead to muscle problems. Rosuvastatin is one of the safer ones.
4 . They may cause low vitamin D levels
There is a high chance that the muscle problems related to statins actually come from lower levels of vitamin D. People who initially had a deficiency of vitamin D are more likely to complain about muscle problems after consuming statins. Hence, vitamin D supplements may help solve the muscle problems. Talk to your doctor about this problem.
5 . They have been linked with memory loss, but there is no evidence
FDA warns on statin labels that some people who consume statins have reported problems like fuzzy thinking and confusion. There have been debates about statins causing memory loss among their users. However, not many reliable studies have proven such side effects. There isn’t an established cause-effect relation between statins and memory loss. Nevertheless, if you experience confusion or distorted thinking, do talk to your doctor about it.
6 . Statins generally do not cause damage to liver
Since cholesterol is produced in the liver, some people think that taking statins can damage their liver. However, liver problems are rare. Although doctors may recommend liver tests on a regular basis in some patients, but statins are by and large safe for your liver.
7 . Statins have more benefits than just lowering cholesterol
While statins are known as cholesterol-lowering drugs, studies show that they have more benefits like preventing plaques in the arteries from rupturing and causing a blockage of blood flow. This is one reason statins may be given even after a heart attack.