Side effects of cholesterol pills

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Submitted by Dr T on September 19, 2011 – 3:59pm


What are the side/adverse effects of the pills to reduce cholesterol levels?

While a major tool in the treatment of abnormal cholesterol levels in your blood, there are side effects that can be very bothersome.

Doctors often prescribe statins for patients with high cholesterol to  reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. Most people taking statins will take them for the rest of their lives, which can make statin side effects difficult to manage.

In a patient with normal cholesterol levels and no risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, it is hard to justify the potential side effects and costs.

Therefore, the routine use of a statin in patients with normal cholesterol levels is somewhat controversial. Current guidelines for the prevention of heart disease and stroke are limited to patients with a risk 1), who have a 20% or greater 10-year risk of developing CVD 2), and rather focus on behavior modification such as diet , exercise and cessation of smoking.

This risk should also include clinical assessment of older patients with diabetes or high-risk ethnic groups. The decision to begin statin therapy should be made after a discussion with your doctor about the risks and benefits of statin treatment, taking your overall health into account.

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Hope this helps,
Dr T

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