In a recent review of scientific research, scientists found the cholesterol-lowering medicine called statins have much more health benefits than risks.
The new American Heart Association scientific statement shows that the side effects of statins are quite rare.
It comes 16 years after a clinical advisory issued by the AHA, the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, and the American College of Cardiology.
Statins are commonly used to reduce low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol. LDL is a waxy, fat-like substance that builds up in our arteries.
Previous studies have shown that statins could help lower heart attack risk by 25% or more and may help patients avoid heart procedures like coronary stents.
In the current study, the team reviewed many long-term studies dating back at least 20 years.
Most of the studies were clinical trials, and they are considered the most scientifically sound type of study.
The new analysis focused on the most commonly reported side effects of statins, including muscle pain, muscle weakness and type 2 diabetes.
They found statins may slightly increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor of heart disease and stroke.
However, the researchers also found that many patients already had a high risk of type 2 diabetes before they took statins.
When they took statins, their blood sugar levels could increase a lot.
Muscle pain and weakness was another side effect of statins. The current analysis found that the symptoms were quite rare and often linked to statin dosage.
The team also found statins may have interactions with other drugs. For example, they can interact with HIV drugs.
When HIV patients take statins, they may feel muscle weakness and muscle pain.
In addition, patients with a brain hemorrhage may have a higher risk of a second hemorrhage when they take statins.
The team hopes their analysis can help many patients or health care providers understand better about statins as a lifesaving medication.
They suggest that health care providers should keep monitoring certain patients who need to take statins.
This is very important for older adults who take more than one drug for treating chronic illnesses.
Overall, the report shows that statin therapy is a very safer and effective way to lower cholesterol than most people believe.
Patients shouldn’t stop taking statins without talking with their doctors.
One author of the study is Lynne Braun, heart disease and stroke prevention expert at Rush University in Chicago.
The scientific statement is published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
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