More Statins Lesser Cardiovascular Risk? Side Effects of This Widely-Used Cholesterol Medicine
Statins side effects (Photo Credits: Pexels)

Statins are a widely-used drug prescribed to lower cholesterol, preventing heart attacks and strokes. While they are life-saving drugs, there are plenty of debates whether they are overprescribed and abused. The latest research published in JAMA Network Open Journal suggests that more is always better when it comes to statins. The study quested whether there is a link between sticking to high-intensity statin treatment and reduced cardiovascular diseases. The researchers concluded by saying that the ones who took more statins and adhered to their treatment had the lowest cardiovascular risk. Those who were taking a lower dose and were not sticking to their treatment had the highest risk.

The study has already sparked a debate. Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that statins may be overprescribed.

What Are Statins?

Hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme or statins are a class of drugs used in the treatment of cholesterol. These drugs are among the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide. Studies suggest that statin therapy has a significant impact on mortality and morbidity of cardiovascular diseases. But there is also an equal amount of evidence about the side effects of long-term statin use. What are The Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Preventive Measures For this Heart Disease?

What Are The Side Effects of Statins?

Some of the common side effects of statins include:

  •  Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Rash

But long-term use of statins can also cause some other side effects and increased risk of diseases.

Myalgia: Most of the side effects of statins are associated with the musculoskeletal system. Muscle pain or myalgia is one of the biggest effects of long-term statin use. According to a 2015 study, muscle pain is the common reason why 60 percent of patients quit taking statins.

Liver Toxicity: Occasionally, the use of statins can cause the elevation of certain enzymes that could cause liver injury. Many physicians don’t give statins to patients who have “out-of-range” liver enzyme levels.

Diabetes: Statin use has been tied to increased diabetes risk. According to research, the drugs can disrupt insulin signalling pathway, affecting the pancreatic beta cell function and contributing to increased insulin resistance.

Memory Loss: Sometimes, the use of statins have been associated with memory loss or confusion although there is no conclusive relation between statin use and memory loss.

Kidney Problems: Rhabdomyolysis or muscle inflammation can release proteins into the blood, which can collect in the kidneys. The organs become stressed as it struggles to remove large amounts of the proteins caused by the inflammation in the body. Although it's a serious consequence, rhabdomyolysis is a rare side effect, occurring in less than one out of 10,000 people on statins. Aligarh Man Wanting Six-Pack Abs Ends Up With Kidney Failure.

While there are some side effects, patients shouldn't discontinue medicines on their own without consulting their physicians first, especially if their cholesterol levels are high.