Cholesterol Medicine Side Effects

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Submitted by Dr T on March 20, 2014 – 8:47am

Dear Doctor,
My dad has high cholesterol problems and his doctor prescribed Atorvastatin, but the side effects were quite strong: strong pain and skin discomfort in the ribs area. His doctor switched then to Fluvastatin, but he suffered from the same kind of side effects. I have to say that my dad is pretty good dealing with pain, so it must have been really strong since he had to stop his medication. My question is: is there other kind of medicine(s) to treat his high cholesterol that might not have these terrible side effects on him? What are his alternatives?
I am worried about him, right now he is not taking anything at all… Thank you so much in advance for your time and your attention.
Hi Christina,
Unfortunately, your father’s problems with statin therapy are not unique. Many patients have trouble tolerating statin therapy. Therefore:
  1. The first question that needs to be answered before consideration of treatment, is whether your father has coronary artery disease, and if not, what his cardiac risks are besides a high cholesterol. You can calculate his cardiac risk here.
  2. The next question is whether he follows a heart healthy diet, exercises regularly, and stopped smoking.
  3. If your father indeed needs treatment for his cholesterol there are a number of things that can be done. Read this about statin side effefcts and tretaments.
  4. In some patients, cholysteramine has worked well.

Hope this helps,

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