Statins should be taken with caution if you’re at an increased risk of developing a rare side effect called myopathy, which is where the tissues of your muscles become damaged and painful.
The NHS says: “Statins should be taken with caution if you’re at an increased risk of developing a rare side effect called myopathy, which is where the tissues of your muscles become damaged and painful. Severe myopathy (rhabdomyolysis) can lead to kidney damage.” Other risk factors include having a history of liver disease, having a history of muscle-related side effects when taking a statin and having a family history of myopathy.
The health body says the doctor will also ask you how much alcohol you drink before prescribing statins.
It notes: “People who regularly drink large amounts of alcohol are at increased risk of getting more serious side effects.
“If you’re prescribed a statin, you may be able to continue drinking alcohol. However, you should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.”
The Mayo Clinic explains: “Statins are effective at lowering cholesterol and protecting against a heart attack and stroke, although they may lead to side effects for some people.”
It says: “One of the most common complaints of people taking statins is muscle pain. You may feel this pain as a soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles.
“The pain can be a mild discomfort, or it can be severe enough to make your daily activities difficult.”
Heart UK says: “Statins are the most widely used medicine to lower cholesterol and they have been around for a long time, but there have been a lot of news stories about them which can be confusing.
“Statins have been around for over 30 years and have been prescribed to millions of people in the UK. They should only be prescribed when there is a real clinical need. Stopping taking them can lead to serious problems.”
The NHS notes a review of scientific studies into the effectiveness of statins found around one in every 50 people who take the medicine for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.
Nonetheless, there are some potential side effects. The NHS says other side effects can vary between different statins, but side effects can include a headache, dizziness, feeling sick, muscle pain, and feeling unusually tired or physically weak.
Two other common side effects are sleep problems and low blood platelet count.Uncommon side effects include skin problems, such as acne or an itchy red rash.
The NHS says rare side effects of statins include loss of sensation or tingling in the nerve endings of the hands and feet, which is called peripheral neuropathy.
The NHS says if you forget to take your dose, do not take an extra one to make up for it, “just take your next dose as usual the following day”.
High cholesterol is said to account for seven percent of deaths in England, according to the UK Government.
The NHS recommends maintaining cholesterol levels below 5mmol/L. In the UK, however, three out of five adults have a total cholesterol of 5mmol/L or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7mmol/L, which can be a risk factor in heart disease.
The health body says if you accidentally take too many statin tablets, more than your usual daily dose, contact a doctor or pharmacist for advice or call NHS 111.
The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you’re taking.
It is run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The purpose of the scheme is to provide an early warning that the safety of a medicine or a medical device may require further investigation.
Side effects reported on Yellow Cards are evaluated, together with additional sources of information such as clinical trial data.
This news was originally published by Express.