Are There Side Effects From Taking Statins?


Quick Answer

The most common side effects of statin drugs include headache, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, drowsiness, abdominal cramping and rash, according to WebMD. Some patients may experience memory loss, muscle inflammation, and high blood sugar when taking statins. Most patients tolerate these drugs well with few side effects.

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Full Answer

In rare cases, patients suffer serious muscle-related side effects to statin drugs, according to WebMD. Myositis, an inflammation of the muscles, sometimes occurs when statin drugs are taken concurrently with other cholesterol-lowering drugs such as fibrates. Rhabdomyolysis, an extremely serious and potentially deadly condition in which the muscles all over the body become painful and weak, occurs in less than one in 10,000 people taking statins. Patients who experience any unexplained joint or muscle pain when taking statins should call their doctors immediately.

Statins are a class of drugs that help lower cholesterol levels, explains WebMD. By lowering cholesterol, statins reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Statins work by blocking the action of an enzyme that is responsible for producing cholesterol. Patients can enhance the cholesterol-lowering effects of statins by eating a balanced, heart-healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and limiting their alcohol intake. Commonly prescribed statin drugs in the United States include Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor and Livalo.

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