What You Can Do About Muscle Pain From Statins
Keep track of any new symptoms that develop when you begin taking a statin, and report them to your doctor. Some symptoms may go away as you continue to take the medication. If youre taking the statin preventively, your doctor may try to determine if your muscle pain symptoms are actually due to the statin by suggesting a brief holiday from the drug to see if they disappear when youre not taking it. However, dont stop taking a statin without telling your doctor. Although there are no proven remedies for statin-related muscle pain, the following may help.
Exercise. There is some evidence that people who have exercised regularly before taking statins are less likely to experience muscle pain and cramping. Although gentle stretching may relieve muscle cramps, beginning a new vigorous exercise regimen while taking a statin may increase the risk of muscle pain.
Ramp up your lifestyle changes. Commit to an exercise routine, lose weight if you need to, and adopt a heart- healthy eating plan such as the Mediterranean diet. Doing so may enable you to reduce your statin dosage, or possibly even lower your cholesterol enough to enable you to stop the statin. Even if a healthier lifestyle does not lower your lipid levels, it may still lower your long-term risk of heart disease and stroke.
Have a thyroid blood test. If you have a low thyroid hormone level, taking replacement thyroid hormone pills may alleviate muscle pain and can also improve your lipid profile.
Who Can Take Statins
You might be prescribed a statin if you have heart disease or another disease of the heart and blood vessels, or if you are at risk of developing them in the next 10 years.
If you have high cholesterol
You should be offered a statin if you have high cholesterol and lifestyle changes havent been enough to bring it under control.
Depending on your cholesterol levels and how healthy you are otherwise, you and your doctor or nurse might want you to try to bring your cholesterol levels down with a healthy diet and lifestyle first, before starting statins.
If you are at risk of developing heart disease
You will probably be prescribed a statin if you are at high risk of developing heart disease or a disease of the blood vessels. For example, if you have:
Who Needs To Take Statins
Your healthcare provider will look at your individual situation when deciding if you should take a statin. Having diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and using tobacco products are all risk factors for getting heart disease. Your provider will also consider your age, sex and race when deciding if you need a statin.
Providers prescribe statins for people who:
- Have high cholesterol that exercise and diet changes couldnt reduce.
- Had a stroke, heart attack or peripheral artery disease.
- Have diabetes and an LDL of at least 70 mg/dL and are 40 to 75 years old.
- Have an LDL of at least 70 mg/dL and a high risk of getting heart disease and are 40 to 75 years old.
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What Medications Are Similar
Lipitor belongs to a class of drugs called statins. Other statin drugs are available besides Lipitor. Like most types of medications, individual results can vary with different drugs in the same class. If one statin doesnt work well for you or causes side effects, your healthcare provider may switch you to a different statin drug. You should not take more than one statin drug at the same time. If you have questions about other treatment options, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Statin drugs that are similar to Lipitor include:
- Altoprev, Mevacor
Is Lipitor Considered A Safe Medication Why Might Some People Think Its Bad For You
Yes, Lipitor is considered a safe drug for most people. Its been used to treat certain conditions for more than 20 years and has been studied in adults and children.
Lipitor may cause certain side effects, which could make some people think taking the drug is too risky. But the most common side effects reported in studies were mild. Examples of these side effects include diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, and upper respiratory infection.
Some serious side effects may occur with Lipitor, but theyre not common. For example, in rare cases, Lipitor may cause severe muscle pain.
If you have questions about whether Lipitor is safe for you to take, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
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What Should I Know About Lipitor Vs Pravastatin
To see a side-by-side comparison of these medications, check out this article. And talk with your doctor to learn more about Lipitor and pravastatin.
You should not take more Lipitor than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.
Does Lipitor Cause Weight Loss Weight Gain Diabetes Memory Loss Ed Tiredness Or Headaches
No, none of these were reported as side effects in studies of Lipitor.
Keep in mind that Lipitor is prescribed along with a balanced diet. Some people may experience weight loss while taking Lipitor if they make certain changes to their diet.
Other statins used to treat high cholesterol may cause diabetes or memory problems. These side effects werent reported in studies of Lipitor. But high blood sugar levels have been reported as a side effect of Lipitor since the drug became available on the market.
Because Lipitor treats high cholesterol, it may actually help reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction . See this article to learn more about the link between ED and high cholesterol.
Certain side effects of Lipitor, such as infection or liver problems, may cause tiredness. But tiredness isnt a direct side effect of the drug.
Headache isnt a side effect of Lipitor, but it could be a symptom of other conditions, such as high blood pressure.
If you have concerns about experiencing any of these side effects during your Lipitor treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
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Will I Have Side Effects After Stopping Lipitor
Ending your Lipitor treatment should not cause any side effects. But if you stop taking Lipitor and do not replace it with a different treatment, your cholesterol may increase again. This could lead to serious heart problems.
If youd like to stop taking Lipitor, talk with your doctor. They can determine if you should stop taking Lipitor and if you need to start taking a new drug in its place. You should not stop taking Lipitor unless your doctor recommends it.
What Drugs And Food Should I Avoid While Taking Lipitor
Avoid eating foods high in fat or cholesterol, or atorvastatin will not be as effective.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.
Grapefruit may interact with atorvastatin and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid drinking more than 1 liter of grapefruit juice while taking atorvastatin.
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How Do You Take Lipitor
Take this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t take more of it, don’t use it more often or for longer than you’re told to by your doctor.
Your doctor may also prescribe additional medicines to control your blood sugar levels if they are high. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully about any particular diet.
Take this medicine at the same time each day. Swallow the pill whole, don’t break, crush, or chew it. You can take this medicine after meals or prior, but this medication is most effective at bedtime.
Minimize your alcohol consumption while taking atorvastatin. It could cause serious liver problems.
If you regularly drink grapefruit juice, tell your doctor. Drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice while taking this medicine may increase your risks of muscle injury and lead to kidney problems.
*Patient Eligibility for Savings Card:
You may be eligible for this offer if you are insured by commercial insurance and your insurance does not cover the full cost of your prescription, or you are not insured and are responsible for the cost of your prescriptions.
Patients who are enrolled in a state or federally funded prescription insurance program are not eligible for this offer. This includes patients enrolled in Medicare Part D, Medicaid, Medigap, Veterans Affairs , Department of Defense programs or TriCare, and patients who are Medicare eligible and enrolled in an employer-sponsored group waiver health plan or government-subsidized prescription drug benefit program for retirees. If you are enrolled in a state or federally funded prescription insurance program, you may not use this Savings Card even if you elect to be processed as an uninsured patient.
This offer is not insurance and is restricted to residents of the United States and Puerto Rico, and patients over 18 years of age. This offer is valid for retail prescriptions only.
Program managed by ConnectiveRx, on behalf of AstraZeneca.
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What Does Lipitor Cost
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use.
Lipitor is available as the generic drug atorvastatin. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs. Talk with your doctor if youd like to know about taking atorvastatin.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Lipitor manufacturers website to see if they have support options.
You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.
Effect Of Statin Therapy On Clinical Outcomes
A large number of studies using a variety of statins in diverse patient populations have shown that statin therapy reduces atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The Cholesterol Treatment Trialists have published meta-analyses derived from individual subject data. Their first publication included data from 14 trials with over 90,000 subjects . There was a 12% reduction in all-cause mortality in the statin treated subjects, which was mainly due to a 19% reduction in coronary heart disease deaths. Non-vascular causes of death were similar in the statin and placebo groups indicating that statin therapy and lowering LDL-C did not increase the risk of death from other causes such as cancer, respiratory disease, etc. Of particular note there was a 23% decrease in major coronary events per 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL-C. Decreases in other vascular outcomes including non-fatal MI, coronary heart disease death, vascular surgery, and stroke were also reduced by 20-25% per 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL-C. Additionally, analysis of these studies demonstrated that the greater the reduction in absolute LDL-C levels the greater the decrease in cardiovascular events. For example, while a 40mg/dl decrease in LDL-C will reduce coronary events by approximately 20%, an 80mg/dl decrease in LDL-C will reduce events by approximately 40%. These results support aggressive lipid lowering with statin therapy.
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Starting An Exercise Program
Your healthcare provider might suggest lifestyle changes before stopping the medication. These may include adopting an exercise program or modifying your diet.
Remember, these lifestyle changes may not work as quickly or as well as a statin in reducing your cholesterol. A wholesome diet and regular exercise program can have many health benefits, but they may not lower cholesterol enough to replace statins.
You and your healthcare provider should closely monitor your cholesterol level to ensure your lifestyle changes have the desired effect on your cholesterol.
Are You A Candidate For A Statin
Guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association recommend statin therapy for:
- Secondary prevention in people with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
- People with an LDL cholesterol level of 190 milligrams per deciliter or higher, due to a genetic condition.
- People with diabetes ages 40 to 75 with an LDL level over 70 mg/dL and no atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
- Non-diabetic adults ages 40 to 75 with a 20% or greater likelihood of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years .
- Non-diabetic patients ages 40 to 75 with an LDL level of 70 to 189 mg/dL and a 10-year ASCVD risk of 7.5% to less than 20% if the risk estimate and presence of certain risk-enhancing factors* favor treatment.
* These factors include a family history of ASCVD, LDL levels persistently 160 mg/dL, triglyceride levels persistently 175 mg/dL, chronic kidney disease, ethnicity, inflammatory diseases, metabolic syndrome, and results of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, lipoprotein, and apolipoprotein B. Note: The guidelines recommend considering coronary artery calcium scoring for people at intermediate risk in whom a decision about starting statin treatment remains uncertain.
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There Are Several Things You Can Do To Prevent Or Minimize The Aches And Pains That Might Accompany Statin Use
If youre not taking a statin now, you may well be soon. These medications are commonly prescribed to lower bad LDL cholesterol and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. They are routinely recommended for people who have cardiovascular disease and for many people ages 40 to 75 who dont have cardiovascular disease but have at least one risk factor and a 7.5% or greater risk of a stroke or heart attack in the next decade. Moreover, recent research indicates that they may benefit high risk individuals over age 75 as well.
Isolated Hypercholesterolemia In Primary Prevention
In patients with isolated hypercholesterolemia without cardiovascular disease initial drug therapy is with a statin. The statin dose should be chosen based on the percent reduction in LDL-C required to lower the LDL-C level to below the target goal . As discussed earlier, the side effects of statin therapy increase with higher doses so one should not automatically start with high doses, but instead should choose a dose balancing the benefits and risks. Generic statins are inexpensive drugs and are very effective in both lowering LDL-C levels and reducing cardiovascular events. Additionally, they have an excellent safety profile. If the initial statin dose does not lower LCL-C sufficiently, one can then increase the dose. If the maximal statin dose does not lower LDL-C sufficiently adding ezetimibe is a reasonable next step if the LDL-C level is in a reasonable range and an additional 20-25% reduction in LDL will be sufficient. High dose statin and ezetimibe will lower LDL-C by as much as 70%, which will lower LDL-C to goal in the majority of patients who do not have a genetic basis for their elevated LDL-C levels. If the combination of statin plus ezetimibe does not lower the LDL-C to goal one can add a third drug, such as bempedoic acid or colesevelam. If the patient has diabetes with a moderately elevated A1c level using colesevelam instead of ezetimibe or in combination with ezetimibe could improve both glycemic control and further lower LDL-C levels.
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Other Drugs That Escalate Muscle Pain
Other than the drugs described above, other medications may increase your risk of muscle pain or weakness if taken with Lipitor.
These medications include:
Some medicines used for hepatitis C: Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir and elbasvir/grazoprevir
Before taking Lipitor, talk with your doctor if you’re using any of these medications: Your doctor may decide you need a smaller dose of Lipitor. They may prescribe you a different drug instead of Lipitor.
Accessible Medication Containers And Labels
If its hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:
- have large print
- contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesnt.
Also, if youre having trouble opening your medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to put Lipitor in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also recommend tools to help make it simpler to open the drugs container.
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Does Lowering Your Cholesterol Protect You From Ever Having A Heart Attack
Not necessarily. Since their arrival in the 1990s in Americans medicine cabinets nationwide, statin drugs have indeed proven very effective for reducing high LDL levels, and they do slow the progression of cholesterol-filled plaques. But sadly, the #1 cause of death in Americans taking statins to lower their elevated LDL levels is still heart attacks.
Thats because lowering heart attack risk is not just a matter of lowering cholesterol. There are many other factors that damage artery walls and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, including:
- High glucose levels
- High blood pressure
- Carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke
- Increased tendency towards blood clotting
- High triglycerides
- Remnants of triglycerides, called VLDL and chylomicrons, that flood the blood right after a fatty meal and promote the growth of cholesterol-filled plaques
- Elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels, which are associated with inflammation that weakens and destabilizes plaques, leading to plaque rupture and a heart attack
- Excess weight, especially abdominal weight
- Stress associated with anger and hostility
- A sedentary lifestyle
How long does it take to lower cholesterol with medication? It depends on the dosage. The higher the dosage, the greater the reductions, but higher dosages often bring greater risk of side effects.
- Decreased LDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels, and
- Loss of excess body fat
How Do Atorvastatin And Simvastatin Work
and are both statins, so they work in similar ways to lower cholesterol. You may already know that cholesterol can come from your diet, but did you know that you also make cholesterol in your liver? Statins like atorvastatin and simvastatin prevent your liver from making cholesterol.
Statins are the go-to medication for treating high cholesterol and preventing a heart attack or stroke. They are especially good at lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, the kind that can clump together in your blood when theres too much. This can eventually lead to fatty material forming on your blood vessel walls, known as atherosclerosis. Plaques can block blood flow, which raises your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
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