Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower thelevel of low- density lipoprotein ( LDL) cholesterol in the blood.
LDL cholesterol is often referred to as "bad cholesterol", and statinsreduce the production of it inside the liver.
Having a high level of LDL cholesterol is potentially dangerous, as it can lead to a hardening and narrowing of the arteries ( atherosclerosis )and cardiovascular disease (CVD) .
CVD is a general term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels. It's the most common cause of death in the UK. The main types of CVD are:
Your doctor may recommend taking statins if either:
Statins comeas tablets that are taken once a day. The tablets should normally be taken at the same time each day most people take them just before going to bed.
In most cases, treatment with statins continues for life, as stopping the medication causes your cholesterol to return to a high level within a few weeks.
If you everforget to take your dose, don't take an extra one to make up for it. Justtake yournext dose as usual the following day.
If you accidentally take too many statin tablets (more than your usual daily dose), contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice, or call NHS 111.
Statins can sometimes interact with other medicines, increasing the risk of unpleasantside effects, such as muscle damage. Some types of statin can also interact with grapefruit juice.
It's very important to read the information leaflet that comes with your medication, to check if there are any interactions you should be aware of. If in doubt, contact your GP or pharmacist for advice.
Many people who take statins experience no or very few side effects. Others experience some troublesome but usually minor side effects, such as an upset stomach, headache or feeling sick.
Your doctor should discuss the risks and benefits of taking statins if they're offered to you.
Casesthat involvemore serious side effects, such as kidney failure, tend to get a great deal of media coverage, butthese are rare. The British Heart Foundation states than just 1 in every 10,000 people who take statins will experience a potentially dangerous side effect.
The risks of any side effects alsohave to be balanced against the benefits of preventing serious problems.A review ofscientific studies into the effectiveness ofstatins found thataround one in every 50 people who take the medication for five yearswill avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.
If you're at risk of developing CVD in the near future, your doctor will usually recommend lifestyle measures to reduce this risk before they suggest that you take statins.
Lifestyle measures that can reduce your cholesterol level and CVD risk include:
Statins may be recommended if these measures dont help.
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as "bad cholesterol", and statins reduce the production of it inside the liver.
Statins may be recommended if you have cardiovascular disease (CVD) or have a high risk of developing it in the next 10 years.
Statins should not be taken if you have severe liver disease or blood tests suggest that your liver may not be working properly.
Like all medications, statins can cause side effects. However, most people tolerate them well and don't experience any problems.