Statin Medication Information
Statins, also known as "HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors," are very effective medications for lowering cholesterol. These medicines are only available with a prescription and have several benefits. The main goal of high cholesterol drugs (including statins) is to lower LDL cholesterol levels enough to reduce your risk for developing problems such as heart disease or a heart attack.
Statin medications work by inhibiting a particular enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, which controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol. Statins also:
- Increase the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
- Increase HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
- Decrease triglycerides.
Statins come in tablet or capsule form, and are typically taken once or twice a day (depending on the statin medication you are taking). Although most people tolerate these medicines well, they are not suitable for everyone. Before starting treatment with statins, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any other medical conditions you may have or any other medications you are taking (including vitamins and herbal supplements). Some of the common side effects include headaches, muscle pain, and abdominal pain (stomach pain).
(Click Statins for more information on how statins can be beneficial in lowering cholesterol. This article also discusses safety precautions, tips on effectively using these medications, and what to tell your healthcare provider before starting treatment with statins.)