Common And Serious Side Effects Of Statins

Common And Serious Side Effects Of Statins

Dietary Diversity April, 24, 2023

Statins are a class of drugs often prescribed to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. By lowering the levels, they help prevent heart attacks and stroke. However, like any medication, they can also have side effects. Most people who take statins experience no or only minor side effects, but in some cases, the side effects can be serious.

Common side effects of statins include:

Muscle pain and weakness:

This is the most common side effect. It can range from mild discomfort to a severe condition called rhabdomyolysis, which can cause severe muscle pain, liver damage, kidney failure, and death.

Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes:

Statins can increase your blood sugar levels, which could potentially lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Neurological side effects:

Some people report memory loss or confusion while on statins. However, these side effects are rare and the evidence linking them to statins is not definitive.

Serious side effects of statins include:

Liver damage:

Statins can cause an increase in your liver enzymes, which could indicate liver damage. If the increase is severe, you may need to stop taking the medication.

Kidney damage:

As mentioned above, severe muscle damage can lead to a life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis. This can cause kidney damage or even kidney failure.

Increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke:

While statins can help reduce the risk of ischemic strokes (strokes caused by blood clots), they may slightly increase the risk of hemorrhagic strokes (strokes caused by bleeding in the brain).

Allergic reactions:

Though rare, some people may have an allergic reaction to statins, leading to rash, hives, or difficulty breathing.

Remember, the risks of serious side effects from statins are generally low, and for many people, the benefits of taking statins outweigh these risks. Always discuss potential side effects and your personal risk factors with your doctor before starting any new medication. It's also important to have regular check-ups to monitor your response to the medication.

1 Muscles Aches And Weakness

It is common for patients taking statins to experience muscle aches and weakness. This can manifest as mild discomfort, soreness, or unusual tenderness in the muscles. In some cases, muscle pain can be severe enough to interfere with exercise or daily activities. Studies show that around five percent of patients on statins may develop muscle pain, which is often cited as a reason for discontinuing the medication. Most muscle pain associated with statins occurs in the lower legs. Patients who experience any muscle pain while taking statins should inform their prescribing physician immediately. It may be possible to switch to a lower dose or another medication that does not have this side effect. Coping with muscle pain may involve avoiding strenuous exercise, and with a doctor's approval, taking a break from statin treatment could be helpful.