What Are Some Long-Term Effects of Statins?


Quick Answer

While doctors do not categorize the effects of statin use into short-term and long-term categories, possible long-term side effects of statins include memory loss, mental confusion, high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes, according to WebMD. Potentially serious side effects include inflammation of the muscles, rhabdomyolysis and elevated creatine kinase.

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The majority of people who take statins tolerate the medication very well, explains WebMD. Among people who experience side effects, the most common include rash, headache, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. Additional common side effects include constipation, insomnia, bloating or gas, abdominal cramping and drowsiness. A person who experiences unexplained joint or muscle pain, tenderness or weakness while taking statins should notify his physician.

When rhabdomyolysis occurs as a result of statin use, kidney failure or death can occur, states WebMD. When this condition occurs, muscles in the entire body become extremely weak and painful. Although the condition is rare and only occurs in less than one person per 100,000 people who are taking statins, extreme muscle inflammation and damage occur as a result. The damaged muscles release proteins into the blood, which collect in a person's kidneys. As the kidneys attempt to handle the large amount of muscle breakdown, damage occurs.

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