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What are common side effects of statins?

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Common side effects associated with cholesterol-reducing statin drugs include difficulty sleeping, headache, drowsiness and flushing of the skin, according to WebMD. Some people who take prescription statins may experience weakness, tenderness or aching in the muscles. Other common side effects include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and diarrhea. Statins can cause gas, bloating, constipation and pain or cramping in the abdomen. Some people may notice a rash after taking statins.

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Other possible side effects associated with statins include memory loss, mental confusion, high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes, states WebMD. Because statins may interact with other medications, it is important to inform a doctor of any prescription medications, vitamins or supplements the patient takes concurrently or may take in the future, before using statins.

Rare side effects of statins that are potentially serious include myositis, rhabdomyolysis and elevated creatine kinase levels, notes WebMD. Myositis is inflammation of the muscles, and rhabdomyolysis is extreme inflammation and muscle damage. Elevated creatine kinase levels may cause muscle weakness, muscle pain and mild inflammation.

If pain, weakness or tenderness occurs in joints or muscles when taking statins, the patient should contact a physician immediately, recommends WebMD. People with chronic liver disease and pregnant women shouldn't take statins.

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