To stop taking statins safely, it is necessary to make dietary changes and undergo weight loss at sufficient levels to keep cholesterol low even after the medicines stop. Without those other changes, cholesterol is likely to rise again after one stops taking statins, notes Mayo Clinic.
Lifestyle changes are important for patients with high cholesterol, whether they start statins or not. Quitting smoking, adopting a diet low in salt, cholesterol and fat, exercising at least 30 minutes each day at least four or five days a week and finding ways to manage stress effectively are all part of driving those totals down. Statins can help with cholesterol reduction, but they cannot bring the numbers down all on their own, according to Mayo Clinic.
Statins are commonly prescribed for people who have made lifestyle changes but are not seeing desired results in their total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol numbers. Many doctors urge patients to consider taking statins a lifelong regimen because they are necessary to maintain the lower levels of cholesterol. Some patients, though, lose so much weight and make so many positive changes to their diet that they can stop taking the statins, but their cholesterol numbers remain acceptable, states Mayo Clinic. Talking to one's doctor is the best way to progress toward making that decision.