Cholesterol Lowering Statins
Statins are the most common drugs prescribed in medicine. Clinical studies report that statins help in reducing the risk of heart attack and sudden death in individuals with coronary artery disease. It can also help in reducing cardiac events in people with high levels of cholesterol who are at risk of heart disease. It may also help to improve cardiac risk. Statin drugs are considered to be more important in cholesterol-reducing properties.
Following are the statin drugs which help to reduce high cholesterol levels:
- Lescol (fluvastin)
- Lipitor (atorvastatin)
- Pravachol (pravastin)
- Mevacor (lovastatin)
- Crestor (rosuvastatin)
- Zocor (simvastatin)
Benefits of Statins
- Statins are primarily considered as cholesterol-lowering drugs by most people.
- They improve blood cholesterol levels by inhibiting HMG Co-A reductase, which is a liver enzyme. Thus reduces the ability of the liver to make cholesterol.
- They effectively reduce LDL levels (bad cholesterol), moderately reduce triglyceride levels and also helps in a small increase in HDL levels (good cholesterol).
Other beneficial effects of statins include:
- Reduce the plaques’ size in the arteries.
- Stabilize plaques, therefore they are less prone to rupture (and thus lowers the acute heart attacks)
- Reduce inflammation (which is thought to be a major component of forming plaque and rupture)
- Reduce CRP levels
- Decrease blood clot formation
- Improve overall vascular function
Studies have reported some other benefits from statins which include:
- Reduce Alzheimer’s disease incidence
- Prevention of cataracts
- Benefits in diabetics
- Reducing blood pressure
Side Effects of Statins
- Stomach upset, nausea and gas are the most common side effects.
- Dizziness, rash, sleep disturbances and headache occur less common.
- Elevations in liver enzymes can occur in 1 in 100 patients.
- Muscle disorder can be caused by statins which produces muscle weakness and pain occasionally, in about 1 in 1,000 patients.
- Some studies report that occasionally statins produce cognitive effects (difficulty with thought or concentration). Some reports show that statins increase the risk of cancer slightly. But, either of these reports were accepted by experts.