Effects And Side Effects of Statins

Side Effects of StatinsEffects of Statins

Statins are a class of drugs with direct action upon the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is strictly related with the production of cholesterol in the liver. The main effect of statins is to inhibit the HMG-CoA and as result, reduce the production of cholesterol.

It is known that high levels of cholesterol lead to cardiovascular disease, therefore treatment with statins reduces the patients exposure to these diseases. Treatment with statins is however recommended only after the patient has tried a different approach to the reduction of cholesterol, in other words, diets and exercises.

Other beneficial effects of statins include: prevention of thrombus (blood clot) formation, adjust inflammatory responses, maintain the plaque stability, maintain endothelial function.

Even though statins like simvastatin, fluvastatin or atorvastatin bring great results in the cholesterol level of patient, they are after all drugs, and can come with a various range of side effects.

Side Effects of Statins

Although statins are a class of safe drugs in general, and dangerous side effects of statins rarely occur, every patient has the right to know what risks they are exposed to while under treatment with statins.

The most common side effects of statins are of mild nature. Patients that begin a treatment with statins may experience certain problems of the gastrointestinal tract, like gas, bloating, nausea. However, statins have in general, a low impact on the digestive tract, and these side effects usually occur in patients that already have problems of this nature.

Some patients that undergo a medication with statins may experience muscle cramps. However, if these persists and are amplified into myositis (muscle inflammation), the cessation of statins treatment is recommended. In any case of muscle inflammation or muscle pain due to medicaiton with statins, a patient should seek immediate help, and probably re-dosage or discontinuation of the treatment.

Rare side effects of statins include rhabdomyolysis, a condition where the skeletal muscle tissue is damage and fragments of the tissue pass into the blood stream, being fatal to the kidneys, causing acute renal failure. In 2001, one of the statins – cerivastatin – was withdrawn from the market due to repeated cases of rhabdomyolysis, side effect that did not occur during clinical trials.

Although medication with statins does not include any side effects like dizziness, drowsiness or somnolence, patients under medication with statins have shown a moderate energy level.

Statins have an impact on the liver enzyme production, and therefore, they may induce various liver enzyme derangements. Although liver problems are rare, enzyme tests are recommended for patients with a history of liver disease or liver problems, before starting medication with statins. Also, in case symptoms like loss of appetite, upper abdominal pain, severe weaknes, dark-colored urine and yellowing of the eyes and skin occur, immediate medical help is required.

High doses of statins and a chronic use of these drugs increases the risk of diabetes. Some of the statins may elevate the blood sugar in certain patients.

Patients that experience allergic side effects of statins, usually have to deal with symptoms like rash or flushing. These effects can also occur in case a statin was administered in conjunction with various other drugs like niacin. Severe allergic reactions to statins may also be bronchospasm, swelling of the mouth, tongue, pharynx, anaphylaxis.

Lastly, other very rare side effects that have been associated with statins are of neurological nature. These side effects of statins may be: memory loss and confusion. Statins may increase the risk of polyneuropathy (simultaneous malfunction of various nerves), however, statins trials on over 50,000 people have not shown any significant nerve damage or side effects of statins of neurological nature.

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