Common side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs you need to know

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Many people, as they grow older, have to take medicines to manage cholesterol levels.

These medicines are helpful as they keep our heart healthy, manage high blood pressure, and prevent diabetes and other diseases.

But, did you know these medicines might also have some unexpected side effects? Let’s explore this in simple terms.

What Are Cholesterol Medicines?

When doctors talk about medicines for cholesterol, they usually mean drugs like statins – you might have heard of Lipitor or Crestor, which are common names for these drugs.

Another kind is called PCSK9 inhibitors. These medicines either slow down how much cholesterol our body makes or help get rid of the cholesterol that’s already there.

Breaking Down the Surprises

While these medicines are great at what they do, recent studies show there might be more to them than we thought.

  1. Unexpected Side Effects:

Some researchers found that people who take PCSK9 inhibitors might have problems with their lungs. Since we don’t know everything about these drugs yet, more research is needed to understand their long-term effects fully.

On the other hand, statins might cause some people to gain weight and body fat. They could also lower the levels of an important hormone called testosterone, which is important for both men and women.

  1. The Good News:

It’s not all surprising side effects, though! Some studies suggest that people taking statins might experience growth in a part of their brain called the hippocampus.

This part is important for our memory and emotions, so growth in this area could help reduce the risks of memory loss and mood-related conditions like depression.

How Do We Know All This?

A research team, led by a student named Kitty Pham at the University of South Australia, looked at our body’s blueprint, called genetic information, to see how different people might react to these medicines.

This way of studying is important because testing new drugs directly in people can be very costly and time-consuming. Also, it is often impractical to look at the long-term effects this way.

What Does This Mean for All of Us?

Knowing all this, should we stop taking our medicines? Absolutely not! Medicines are like tools – they help us stay healthy when used correctly.

It’s crucial to use them right and to keep in touch with our doctors to monitor our health and adjust the medicines if needed.

So, understanding what these medicines do is really important. If you notice that you’ve gained weight while on statins, it’s important to talk to your doctor about it; it might be a side effect of the medicine.

Similarly, if you are on a PCSK9 inhibitor and notice changes in your breathing, you should let your doctor know; it could be a sign that the medicine is affecting your lungs.

Looking Forward

These new findings don’t mean that the medicines are bad; they simply help us understand them better.

This kind of knowledge can help doctors decide what’s best for their patients, and it can help us make better choices about our health. The more we learn about how our medicines work, the better we can use them to stay healthy.


Cholesterol medicines are important and help a lot of people stay healthy. But like any medicine, they need to be understood fully, used properly, and monitored regularly.

The surprises that the studies have uncovered help doctors and patients make informed decisions about health and treatment.

More research will help us know more about the medicines we take and how to use them best for our health.

Interested in More?

If you find health topics interesting, you might want to read more about the best times to take vitamins to avoid heart disease and how vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of cancer death.

There’s also interesting information on how certain nutrients from plants can help reduce high blood pressure and how some antioxidants might reduce the risk of memory loss diseases.

The detailed study is published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

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