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Long Use of Statin: Know How to Avoid the Side Effects Before the Condition Gets Worse

Updated on March 14, 2014
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What drive LoryRich's desire to share health-related hubs with the readers would be her own discoveries / learning with real health issues.

Is taking pills already a way of life? If it is helping you get stable or better, then, why not? Make sure though that you are able to manage its side effects very very well.
Is taking pills already a way of life? If it is helping you get stable or better, then, why not? Make sure though that you are able to manage its side effects very very well.

Certain risk is intrinsic to taking pharmaceutical drugs

In general, all medicines, most especially conventional or pharmaceutical drugs like statins, have both risks and benefits. The adverse effect may vary depending on the person's age, sex, weight and overall health condition. It is for this reason that as a normal precautionary measure, expert advice of a doctor or a licensed health care practitioner should be sought first and is therefore highly recommended before any form of oral relief for a particular health condition should be taken. Yet, sometimes it can happen that medical consultations and prescriptions alone may not yield the desired positive result since conditions and reactions to drugs vary individually.

On the other hand, self-medication is a usual cause for concern as it poses a greater potential risk for adverse effects. Resorting to self-medication is more tempting since it is easier and more convenient, and yet its effects and the complications that may arise, immediate or long-term, could turn out to be more detrimental to health, and at times, it can be irreversible or fatal. It would seem therefore significantly important and more prudent if the afflicted person himself and family members will be proactive and be more informed about the nature of a particular health condition, the risks attendant to its medications, and the available complimentary therapies from a wide variety of reliable sources. Better awareness can result to an early detection which can allow for greater chances of remedy and relief.

Among the many prescription medicines that present such dilemma for years is what we call statins. According to the February 2012 advisory of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Health Information, the value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established. Their benefit is indisputable but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.

What are statins?

Statins are cholesterol-lowering medicines usually prescribed by doctors to patients with high cholesterol levels. Among all the risk factors for coronary heart disease, cholesterol is given primary importance since it can cause heart attacks as it blocks the heart's arteries. Statins block the enzymes in the liver that makes cholesterol The more familiar generic names in this category are: atorvastatin, cerivastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, and simbastatin.

Side effects

Among the identified potential adverse effects of statins include:

  • Possible liver injury but rarely occurring - symptoms may include unusual fatigue, loss of appetite, right upper abdominal discomfort, dark urine or yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin.
  • Reports of memory loss, forgetfulness or confusion - though rare, reports of impairment of cognitive function over the long use of statins have been reported.
  • Diabetes risks- a small increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and development of type 2 diabetes have been reported with the use of statins.
  • Potential muscle damage - some drugs interact with statins in a way that increases the risk of muscle injury called myopathy, characterized by unexplained muscle weakness or pain
  • Kidney failure
  • Nerve damage in hands and feet
  • Immune depression
  • Headaches, Indigestion, Nausea, Diarrhea, Anemia

Ways to avoid statins side effects

  • In general - The first line of defense against any disease (and against risks of drugs side effects) is prevention. In other words, as much as possible, do not get sick so that you don't have to take any medicine at all. Genuinely love yourself - make time caring for your health and well being. Boost your immune system by eating healthy; having an active life through physical workouts; after work (or whatever that is that you do daily) get enough rest, leisure, fun and relaxation; avoid smoking; take easy on the alcohol; take your vitamins and supplements regularly; let inner harmony be your goal; and have a positive mental frame of mind about anything and everything. In short, take control of your life.
  • In particular- keep your cholesterol at a normal level. Take note that our body needs a healthy level of cholesterol.
  • However, in case you missed out and got sick (which is the normal occurrence), try natural remedies first: do more exercise, eat healthy, take vitamins, etc. (see above general discussion).
  • Be watchful and alert. Make sure to monitor required lab results, specifically, sgpt amd your lipid profile. The tests especially for those persons at risks should be done regularly, at least, annually. As a precautionary measure, people with established liver problems should stay away from statins.
  • In the event that statins is to be taken, make sure that it has been prescribed by your doctor. Consult your doctor about its side effects given your specific health condition and possible interaction with other medications you are taking.
  • Patients are advised to consult their health care providers at the soonest time if they noticed any symptoms of side effects at all.
  • Try complimentary therapies, such as: acupressure, emotional freedom technique (EFT),etc.. There are claims that through these therapies, after adopting them for a certain period, some patients were able to stop taking statins completely.

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