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Statins Side Effects

Statins can be used to regulate the levels of cholesterol in your body. They help to decrease the amount of unhealthy or bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol levels. Like any drug, there is the potential for side effects.

Thankfully, most people experience only mild side effects while using statins or no side effects at all. The majority of side effects people experience can generally be handled by over-the-counter medication or by simply letting the effect run its course and fade away. In most cases of prolonged use of statins, the side effects will no longer be a problem as the patient’s body adapts to the drug and its effects.

However, there is still the potential for side effects, and it is important that statin users understand what those side effects are and be aware of when it is necessary to get medical help for their side effects.

Common Side Effects

Even though side effects are rare, there are some that are far more common than others. These are:

  • nosebleeds
  • digestive problems (such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea)
  • a runny nose
  • a sore throat
  • body pain
  • an increased risk of diabetes

In many cases where these side effects manifest themselves, it is not very clear whether the side effects are caused by the medication or by something else. There is often speculation that the effects will be caused by the patient’s medical condition that warrants they take statins in the first place. Still, it is important to pay attention to side effects and report them to your doctor as they occur.

People who take statins may also suffer from hyperglycaemia as a result. This is an elevated level of blood sugar in the body and it has the potential to cause serious health problems. If your blood sugar reaches dangerous levels, then it is imperative that you seek medical help right away.

Uncommon and Rare Side Effects

A small percentage of patients who take statins will suffer from the following side effects:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Problems with memory
  • Inflammation of the liver
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes
  • Acne or rashes
  • Hepatitis (a liver inflammation)

and these rare side effects:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin)
  • Hallucinations

If you experience any of these side effects, you should let your doctor know right away. If your doctor is not available, then report them to a hospital or a medical professional. The severe symptoms, such as changes in vision, hepatitis and easy bruising and bleeding need to be attended to with immediate medical care. Even less severe symptoms can occur in severe ways, and if your side effects are giving you serious problems, then you should seek medical help. Waiting too long to see if they just go away on their own is not recommended, as the condition can become progressively worse over time and cause more serious harm.

Allergic Reaction

A small percentage of those who take statins will have an allergic reaction to them. This can be indicated by a swelling in the extremities or tongue, or it may be characterised by skin rashes, hives, itchiness or trouble breathing. If you have any previous allergies to medication, then let your doctor know before you start taking a statin. It is possible that you were allergic to some of the inert binders in the drug, and you may suffer the same effects with the statins.

Interactions

Statins have the potential to interact in unpleasant ways with other drugs and with medical conditions you may suffer from. Be sure to let your doctor know about any medication you are currently taking, any surgery you have had in the past and any medical conditions for which you are receiving treatment. This can help your doctor make a better assessment of your current state and decide how much of the drug you require or if you need to use alternative medication for treatment of your high cholesterol.

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