Statin Warnings and Precautions

For people taking statins, warnings and precautions to be aware of include those concerning potential drug interactions, allergic reactions, and side effects. Other safety concerns include not drinking heavily while taking the medication and avoiding grapefruit and grapefruit juice while on statin medications. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid these drugs.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking a Statin?

Before taking a statin, let your healthcare provider know if you have:
  • Liver disease or liver failure
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Planning to undergo a procedure or surgery
  • Drinking alcohol frequently.
In addition, tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, antacids, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Finally, make sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness (especially if you feel ill or have a fever).

Specific Statin Precautions and Warnings

Precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking a statin drug include the following:
  • Statins can potentially interact with a number of other medications.
  • If you are an alcoholic or drink alcohol frequently, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to starting statins. Alcohol can affect the way the liver works, indirectly affecting the medication.
  • Do not eat grapefruit, drink grapefruit juice, or take supplements containing grapefruit while taking statins (see Statins and Grapefruit).
  • Statins have been known to cause an increase in liver enzymes. Therefore, healthcare providers typically recommend that you have a blood test that assesses your liver function before starting statins, another blood test 12 weeks after treatment has started, and then blood tests periodically thereafter.
  • Rhabdomyolysis (a severe breakdown of muscles) has rarely been reported with statins. Make sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness, especially if it is accompanied by a fever or if you feel ill.
  • Statins are pregnancy Category X medicines, which means they could potentially cause harm to your unborn child. Therefore, healthcare providers do not recommend statins for women who are pregnant. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider right away (see Statins and Pregnancy).
  • If you are breastfeeding, you should not take statins. Ask your healthcare provider whether to stop nursing or discontinue the medication (see Statins and Breastfeeding).
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Statin Medication Information

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