Who Should Avoid Using Statins?

Who Should Avoid Using Statins? - welzo

statin therapy

A class of drugs called statins is used to reduce high levels of LDL cholesterol. LDL, known as the 'bad cholesterol, is a fatty, waxy substance that sticks to the artery and blood vessel walls in your heart which may cause your arteries to stiffen.

Additionally, it may create plaques that impede regular blood flow. If plaques separate from the arterial wall or blood clots form on them, a heart attack or stroke may occur. Statins inhibit the body's production of LDL cholesterol. Depending on your risk factors, statin medication can reduce your risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular events by up to 48 per cent. In reality, almost 32 million Americans utilise statins due to its effectiveness.


What Kind of Statin Should You Take?

Statins have been the subject of extensive investigation due to their multiple uses. Statins are typically safe for the majority of individuals, but there are variations amongst statins that may affect their suitability for certain people.

Which statin is therefore the safest? It depends on a variety of things. If you have particular medical issues, certain statins are safer for you to take. This is due to common pharmacological interactions between particular statins and other medications.

The effective dose of a statin is another factor to consider. The majority of statins minimise risk with lower dosages.

According to a study, those who take pravastatin (Pravachol) or simvastatin (Zocor) may experience fewer side effects.

Read more: Everything you need to know about statins.

Drug interactions

If you are taking an azole antifungal medication

Antifungal agents containing azoles are frequently used to treat fungal infections, particularly vaginal yeast infections. It is advised that those using the antifungal medications itraconazole and ketoconazole avoid lovastatin and simvastatin.

If you are taking protease inhibitors

Avoid the following if you are taking protease inhibitors to treat HIV/AIDS, such as atazanavir, ritonavir, lopinavir, or ritonavir:

  • Simvastatin
  • Pitavastatin 
  • Lovastatin 

If you are taking cyclosporine

Cyclosporine is used for the treatment of a range of illnesses, such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, it is used to prevent organ rejection after transplantation. The AAFP advises those receiving cyclosporine to avoid pravastatin and pitavastatin. Other statins, including lovastatin, atorvastatin, fluvastatin, and rosuvastatin, may require dosage adjustments.

If you are using macrolide antibiotics

The AAFP urges avoiding lovastatin and simvastatin if you are using macrolide antibiotics for infections. If you are taking atorvastatin or pitavastatin, your dosage may need to be adjusted.

Read more: What is considered a low-dose statin?

What Is the Safety Concern?

Approximately 3 to 4% of individuals who take statins do not respond favourably to them. In some of these individuals, statins are ineffective at lowering cholesterol levels. Others may have an adverse reaction.

Minor Adverse Effects

The following side effects may commonly occur when using a statin medication:

  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea 

Inflammation and Pain in the Muscles

Furthermore, statins can cause muscle soreness and touch sensitivity. Rhabdomyolysis, a disorder characterised by significant muscular destruction, is extremely rare. Rhabdomyolysis is more prevalent in those with other risk factors, such as low thyroid function, liver illness, or decreased kidney function.

Inflammation of the Liver

In a minority of individuals, statins produce an increase in enzymes that the liver utilises to aid in digestion. The liver may swell, which can result in certain complications.


Statins can also cause fatigue, particularly in women. This may also affect their ability to exercise. In fact, in one study, researchers found that four out of ten women who took 20 mg of simvastatin daily had a decrease in energy and greater weariness during workouts. Your doctor should always evaluate inexplicable fatigue if you're taking a statin.

Risk of Diabetes

Some individuals taking statins may notice an increase in blood sugar levels. This may raise the likelihood that you may acquire diabetes.

Read more: Statins and diabetes.

Cognitive Issues

Some individuals may struggle with memory and focus. These are not severe side effects that are reversible by quitting statins or switching to a different statin.

Breast-Feeding or Pregnancy

Statins should not be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Risk of Kidney Problems

You should be aware that your statin dose may need to be modified if you have kidney problems. Some high-intensity statin dosages are unsuitable for individuals with renal disease.


Take Away

The benefit of statins is contingent on your risks of developing heart illnesses. Based on a study, only individuals with very low risks of acquiring heart illnesses may suffer from adverse effects that exceed the advantages.

Consult your physician for advice on how to lower your cholesterol through food and exercise. That is always the optimal option. If diet and exercise are insufficient, discuss with your doctor which statin is appropriate for you based on your level of risk, any medical conditions you may have, and other drugs you may be on.

If you're interested in determining your cholesterol levels, order a Welzo at-home Cholesterol Blood Test.

Or, learn more about statins and cholesterol medications on our information page here!
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