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Who?
Statins are used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in persons with dyslipidemia (or high cholesterol). These medications are also used to prevent cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes.
What?
Oral tablet – Several types of statins are available; including the following:
  • Atorvastatin (marketed as Lipitor)
  • Fluvastatin (marketed as Lescol or Lescol XL)
  • Lovastatin (marketed as Mevacor or Altocor)
  • Pravastatin (marketed as Pravachol)
  • Rosuvastatin (marketed as Crestor)
  • Simvastatin (marketed as Zocor)
  • Also available are various combination pills, which combine statins with other medications
Where?
Statins prevent the formation of cholesterol by blocking an enzyme in the body that normally helps build more cholesterol.
When?
Your health care provider will create a treatment regimen to best serve your needs. In general:
  • Atorvastatin: Between 10 to 80 mg, taken once daily
  • Fluvastatin or Fluvastatin XL: Between 20 to 80 mg (Fluvastatin), or 80 mg (Fluvastatin XL), taken once daily with or without meals
  • Lovastatin: Between 20 to 80 mg, taken once daily at bedtime
  • Pravastatin: Between 10 to 80 mg, taken once daily, with or without food
  • Rosuvastatin: Between 5 to 40 mg, taken once daily at any time
  • Simvastatin: Between 10 to 40 mg, taken once daily at bedtime
Why?
  • Statins are effective cholesterol lowering medications. In most patients, these drugs lower triglycerides and total and LDL cholesterol by as much as 25%, and raise good HDL cholesterol by about 10%.
  • The benefits of statins extend beyond lowering cholesterol lowering. Their anti-inflammatory effects can also prevent heart attacks and stroke. For this reason, many people with diabetes may be recommended to take a statin therapy, even if they don’t have high cholesterol levels.
  • Patients who have active liver disease or abnormal liver tests should not take statins.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of grapefruit juice can prevent statins from working properly
  • Some studies have suggested that statins may increase the risk of getting diabetes or worsen existing diabetes. However, these risks are small and the benefits of statins usually far outweigh this possible adverse effect.
  • In rare cases, statins can cause severe muscle aches. If this side effect occurs, contact your doctor. In some patients, continued use of statins may cause muscle to break down, which can lead to kidney problems. This is more likely to occur in patients who take combination pills that contain statins and certain fibric acid derivatives, such as gemfibrozil.
  • Statins are classified by the FDA as Category X drugs, which means they are not to be used during pregnancy under any circumstances.

 

 

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