The drugs which help to lower the levels of cholesterol in blood are known as the statins.

Statins are normally used in the treatment of

Primary hypercholesterolaemia which develops due to unhealthy lifestyle factors such as lack of physical exercise or intake of food that is rich in high levels of fat.
Familial hypercholesterolaemia which occurs as a result of an inheritance of a gene that result in higher production of cholesterol by the liver.

Statins can also be used for reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack in a person if the person has:

  • Angina
  • Had a heart attack previously
  • Mini stroke or transient ischaemic attacks
  • Had a stroke previously
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • An age of over 40 years
  • Poor control of blood sugar
  • Hypertension
  • Family history of heart diseases

Working of statins

The level of cholesterol produced by the liver is controlled by the statins. They cause a reduction in the level of the cholesterol called the low density lipoprotein.

High levels of low density lipoproteins can result in the formation of deposits of fat along the arterial lining. This results in the narrowing and furring of the arteries. This condition is called medically as atherosclerosis. This results in a restricted flow of the blood, which in turn can the risk of a person developing stroke or heart attack.

Most of the statins like pravastatin, simvastatin and fluvastatin are usually advised for intake during the evening. This is because the cholesterol is manufactured by the liver in the night. So when statins are taken in the evening so that the statins level is high during the production of cholesterol.

The statins like rosuvastatin and Atorvastatin are known medically as pro-drugs. This indicates that these require the conversion into active medicines before their action on the level of cholesterol. So the intake this drug in the morning is also possible. But it should be used at the same time regularly.

Consideration while using statins

Statins should not be used if the person has;

constant blood tests for abnormal functioning of liver.
hepatic complaints

So the person should undergo a blood test for checking the presence of serum transaminase, a liver enzyme.

This test must be done once in every three months after the person starts using statins and once in a year while using the statins on a longer time. If the quantity of serum transaminase is thrice the normal required quantity, then the intake of statins must be stopped.

The use of simvastatin should be avoided if medication for its slow break down by the liver is being used. These include:

  • antibiotics
  • mediations for HIV
  • Stains should be used with care if there are chances for the person developing rhabdomyolysis and myopathy.

Use of statins are advised in a person have hypothyroidism only if treatment is being done for hypothyroidism

Women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding are not .not advised to use statins.

Side effects

Side effects of using stains include:

  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • headache
  • myalgia
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • appetite loss
  • myalgia
  • rashes on the skin
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • dizziness
  • hepatitis
  • rhabdomyolysis

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