Common cholesterol-lowering drugs have harmful side effects

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Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in our blood. While our bodies need some cholesterol for building cell walls and producing hormones, too much can block our blood vessels and lead to heart diseases.

To manage this, many people take cholesterol-lowering medicines. However, not all cholesterol drugs work the same way or have the same effects.

A new study from the University of South Australia has explored how different cholesterol medicines work and their potential side effects. This research helps us understand these drugs better and make informed health decisions.

Why People Take Cholesterol Drugs

Cholesterol is essential for our bodies, but having too much can be harmful. High cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in our arteries, similar to how clogs form in pipes.

Over time, these blockages can lead to heart attacks or strokes. To prevent these dangerous blockages, doctors often prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Statins are the most common type of cholesterol medicine. Over 200 million people worldwide take statins to manage their cholesterol levels. These drugs have been around for a long time and are widely used.

Key Findings of the Study

The University of South Australia’s study looked at two types of cholesterol medicines: statins and a newer kind called PCSK9 inhibitors.


For most people, statins are effective in lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and some age-related issues. Some people might experience mild side effects like diarrhea.

Interestingly, the study found that statins might cause a part of the brain, the hippocampus, to grow slightly larger. The hippocampus is related to memory, suggesting that statins might help reduce memory problems as people age.

PCSK9 Inhibitors

PCSK9 inhibitors are a newer type of cholesterol-lowering drug. They work by removing cholesterol from our body’s cells. The study indicated that PCSK9 inhibitors might affect lung function.

This doesn’t mean they are harmful, but it does suggest that more research is needed to understand their long-term effects.

Weight and Energy Levels

The study also found that statins might cause changes in body weight and energy levels. People taking statins might gain weight and have more body fat. Some men experienced a drop in testosterone, a hormone that affects energy and mood.

Why This Matters

Understanding how different cholesterol medicines work and their potential side effects is crucial.

Medicines are powerful tools that can help us stay healthy, but they can also cause side effects. Knowing more about these drugs allows doctors and patients to make better health choices.

Kitty Pham, who led the research, emphasized that this study helps us understand how different people might react to cholesterol medicines. For instance, if someone already has lung problems, a doctor might reconsider prescribing PCSK9 inhibitors.

The main takeaway is that more knowledge leads to better health decisions. It’s important to stay informed, ask questions, and work closely with healthcare providers. Managing health is a team effort.

If you’re interested in heart health, you might want to explore the benefits of low-dose lithium supplements and learn about the relationship between egg intake and heart disease.

Additionally, there are promising developments in diabetes drugs that could revolutionize heart failure treatment, offering a low-cost option for managing heart failure.

This study was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and adds valuable insights into how cholesterol medicines work and their potential effects on our health.

By staying informed and working with our doctors, we can make the best choices for our health and well-being.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about how espresso coffee affects your cholesterol level, and results showing Vitamin K2 could help reduce heart disease risk.

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