Recent research indicates that “statins might not work as desired, for one in two people” – but are they working for you? The study also shows that for half of the patients prescribed statins, the medication was still very effective and offered protection against cardiovascular disease. But for the other half, genetics, nutritional status, drug interactions and additional side effects seem to affect the overall performance of the drug.
Statins are commonly known as cholesterol lowering drugs, aiming at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Statins can reduce LDL-cholesterol up to 20-35%, by targeting the liver, where lipoprotein production, cholesterol biosynthesis and LDL production take place. Although all statins aim at similar effects, they can differ in terms of pharmacokinetics and chemical structures, so you would need to check yours individually to avoid any interactions. Common statin brands might interact with fibrates, fusidic acid, grapefruit juice, calcium channel blockers, blood pressure lowering medications and antiarrhythmic medications – so if you are on any of these, consult with your doctor and nutritional therapist before starting statin treatment.
As statins are metabolised by the liver’s enzyme system, they can pose a risk for interactions with drugs using the same pathway, so they are not commonly recommended for patients with liver disease, or elevated levels of serum transaminases. This is due to statins being hepatically cleared, which when added to the stress of liver disease, it could potentially increase risk for hepatotoxicity. If you drink alcohol on a regular basis, or have any liver issues, it would be beneficial to further discuss this contraindication with your doctor and/or further examine your liver health, in addition to discussing your diet with your nutritional therapist.
Statins have also been reported to cause sleep disturbances in some instances – so think about your recent sleep quality and if it has been affected?
If you are concerned about the effectiveness of your medication, do not hesitate to discuss it with your doctor. Stay healthy!
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Schachter, M. (2005). Chemical, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of statins: an update. Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology.
Tandra, S. and Vuppalanchi, R. (2009). Use of statins in patients with liver disease. Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine.
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