Are statins worth taking for high cholesterol? (2023)

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Research has shown that statins are very effective in reducing the risk of fatal heart attack and stroke. But some people are hesitant to take these life-saving drugs. They fear having to take medication every day for the rest of their lives or have been told that statins have unwanted side effects. What does science have to say about these and other concerns about statins? We spoke with the interventional cardiologist at HUDr. Ian Neeland, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Prevention at University Hospitals, for more information.

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matt jepson

High cholesterol. You know, I always thought that eventually I would find out. And then I would officially say that I am old.

pedro kenworth

Yes. Well, I'm not that old. And I have high cholesterol. In fact, I have had high cholesterol for years. And we both know it's not just about age, right? I mean, genetics also play a role in high cholesterol. Now I want it to be smaller, but I'm also not sure I want to take medication for the rest of my life. Hi, I'm Pete Kenworthy.

matt jepson

And I am Macie Jepson. And that's Healthy@UH. You know it's interesting. I found quite a bit about this drug. Before we go any further, it's worth mentioning that we're on Zoom for this podcast. We are doing everything we can to stay safe and stay away from each other. So please bear with us if the quality is a bit over the top. There is a lot of information available that would encourage people to avoid statins. I've heard they affect your memory, your muscles, and even your chances of getting diabetes. These are commonly prescribed drugs, but the more I researched them, I began to wonder if they really should be. We are joined today by Dr. Ian Neland. He is Director of the Cardiovascular Prevention Center of the University Hospitals. First of all, thanks for joining us, Dr. Holland.

Dr. Ian Neeland

Thanks for your invitation.

matt jepson

Let's talk about what exactly cholesterol is. I mean, we all do. What is it used for in our body?

(Video) Healthy@UH Podcast - Are Statins Really Worth Taking for High Cholesterol?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well, cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that helps the body make cell membranes, many hormones, and vitamin D. Therefore, it is a very important part of the body's metabolism. And blood cholesterol comes from two sources: the food you eat and your liver. In fact, your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. Thus, the excess cholesterol that you consume in your diet is above your real needs. Now, cholesterol and other fats are carried in the bloodstream as round particles called lipoproteins. And the two most well-known lipoproteins are low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, and high-density lipoproteins, or HDL. Now you may have heard of these terms. LDL, or bad cholesterol, contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This is called atherosclerosis. And this is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and is considered the good cholesterol. Now, a person's HDL level should be around 50 milligrams per deciliter, but there are a number of ways to increase your HDL, including exercising for at least 30 minutes five times a week, quitting smoking, avoiding saturated fat and lose weight. .

pedro kenworth

So the big concern, I guess, is LDL, right?

Dr. Ian Neeland

This right.

pedro kenworth

Right. So there are drugs that can sometimes lower our LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, by 50%. Right? So I guess the question is, why shouldn't we take these drugs? I heard in one of your presentations that an internet search on statin myths returned 30 million results online. So before I debunk some of these myths, I think the first question is, why is there so much negativity about them?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well, you know, I think there's a lot of misinformation on the internet. And people are really confused about what is true and what is a myth. And so they don't necessarily talk to their doctors about these issues all the time. So I think it's very important to get the facts straight. Well, I think for most people there is generally a low desire to take medication long term. And also, I heard, you know, why should I take it if the medicine doesn't make you feel any different? Many people have this myth. And the other thing is that a lot of people think that once their cholesterol levels improve with a statin, they can stop taking it. Unfortunately, in many situations your cholesterol levels will return to their previous level. And you know, you're no better than when you started.

matt jepson

And perhaps the biggest myth of all is that they don't work when it comes to preventing heart attacks. Doctor, you obviously don't agree. But what is the science behind this disagreement?

(Video) Mayo Clinic Minute: Should You Take Statins?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Yeah. So that's definitely myth number one. We know from decades of research that statins and other lipid-lowering therapies are highly effective in reducing the risk of major vascular events, such as death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, i.e., heart attack, stroke, or the need for a coronary stent or bypass surgery. We now have data from more than 20 statin studies involving more than 135,000 patients showing that compared to placebo or no drug, statins resulted in a 23% reduction in heart attacks, a 17% reduction in fatal and nonfatal stroke deaths and a 19 percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths and a 12 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. So they definitely work. They are definitely effective in heart disease and death. And they are data that have always existed. And I think this myth definitely needs to be dispelled.

pedro kenworth

So it looks like someone with high cholesterol, my cholesterol is 220, 230 for example, that's considered high. It sounds like people should just take statins, but I suspect there are people who should avoid statins who shouldn't be taking statins. Right? You know, there's a lot of other stuff out there, right? Like statins cause dementia, or maybe people with a family history of dementia should avoid taking statins. Are there people who shouldn't, who have high cholesterol, who shouldn't be taking statins?

Dr. Ian Neeland

You know, if you are allergic to a statin or statin drug components, this is definitely a situation where you should choose an alternative drug. He has mentioned memory or dementia. Well, you know, the truth is that memory problems in people who take statins tend to occur in the same age group. So it's very difficult to know if it's the statin or other factors. Initial concerns about dementia came from self-reports to the Food and Drug Administration, but many reports came from people who actually took the drug for only one day. Therefore, it is unlikely that the drug had any effect. And we know we have more reliable data from other studies, including more than 20,000 people taking statins. And the bottom line is that statins really have no effect on thinking or memory problems. While statins do have some potential long-term side effects, in most cases, once your doctor has determined that you have high cholesterol and need a statin, the risks far outweigh the risks, or sorry, the risks. benefits far outweigh the risks.

matt jepson

It really amazes me how many people are choosing statins based on what you're telling us right now. But the fact is that they are. I mean, we've already touched on that. But I want to ask you again, doctor, why is that? Why is there so much negative information?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well, I think many people have some questionable side effects that come with starting a statin and have heard negative reports or anecdotal information or stories from friends and family. And very often it comes to muscle pain. So, you know, in general, muscle pain is not dangerous and there is really only a degree of discomfort. There are rare cases of severe muscle breakdown that can be dangerous for organs like the kidneys, but these cases are extremely rare. And I haven't seen a case since medical school many years ago. There is now some compelling evidence that vitamin D supplementation, thyroid regulation, and perhaps the drug coenzyme Q-10 can help reduce the muscular side effects of statins. And while it certainly makes sense to try them, we know that most of the suspected side effects of statins aren't actually statin related. According to a recently published studyNew England Journal of Medicinelast month it was shown that in patients who discontinued statin therapy because of reported side effects, 90% of the symptom burden caused by a statin challenge was actually also caused by placebo. Therefore, most people who reported a statin side effect symptom had the same side effect as the placebo. And half of the patients in the study were able to successfully resume their statins. So this data really shows that while there are side effects, they are very rare as they are actually related to statins and most people can get past them and take a certain dose of a statin for long term benefit. .

pedro kenworth

As with many things in medicine, the benefits far outweigh the risks. And it seems to be the case here too. You just mentioned that you talked about the possible long-term side effects of statins. Who are they? For example, what are the… They talk about a lot of the myths that are out there, but are there real side effects that, whether they should be a concern or not, what are they?

(Video) Study Confirms What Many Patients Taking Statins Have Said for Years | NBC Nightly News

Dr. Ian Neeland

So, as with any medication, as I mentioned before, you have to weigh the potential risk against the benefit. I mentioned that the only side effect will be muscle pain. This is called myalgia. And we know that statins in general have multiple benefits, and the longer you use them and lower your cholesterol, the greater the benefit and the lower your risk of developing heart disease. On the other hand, as you said, there are small potential risks. One of those risks, for example, is the development of diabetes. What we do know, however, is that out of 255 patients who receive a statin for four years, only one of those patients may be diagnosed with new diabetes. And this usually occurs in people who are already at risk of diabetes. Well, they could have prediabetes, for example, or be very overweight, and that could have happened over time anyway, regardless of the statin medication. So aside from the possibility of muscle pain, the remote possibility of diabetes, there really aren't any significant side effects of statins that most people experience. Situations of liver or muscle damage are rare, but even these cases are extremely rare. And certainly, in people who are at high risk of heart attack and stroke, who have high cholesterol, and may have a family history of heart disease, the benefits will definitely outweigh these long-term risks. You know, what we know from genetic studies is that the longer your LDL cholesterol is as low as possible, the higher the risk, the lower the risk of heart disease. For example, taking a statin drug that lowers LDL cholesterol for 10 years can reduce your risk by 20%; 30 years in 40%; 50 years at 60%. For this reason, there are people and families with genetic alterations that lead them to have very low LDL cholesterol, less than 20.

These people almost never have heart disease. We know, we know that if we could put statins in the water and everyone could tolerate them, the risk of heart disease would drop significantly. So the longer you take the statin, which translates to lower cholesterol over time, the lower your risk. So if someone in their 30s really wants to lower their risk long-term, especially if they have a family history or maybe have borderline risk factors, those are the people who are going to get the most benefit over time as they move forward. Changes in heart disease will dramatically change and dramatically lower LDL cholesterol.

matt jepson

Is discontinuation of these prescription drugs during treatment, or even without consulting a doctor, a big problem in the medical community?

Dr. Ian Neeland

I think this is a big problem. I mean, people often stop taking medications without talking to their doctor. You know, the most important thing is to discuss your questions and concerns with your doctor. And even if you're thinking about side effects, talk to your doctor about it. There are things your doctor may recommend, such as: This includes checking and restoring your vitamin D and thyroid blood levels, adjusting your statin dose, or switching to a different statin that may have different effects. And many of these things can fix the side effects you're worried about. But most importantly, continue to take your statin if your doctor determines that it will benefit you in the long term. I always say that prevention is the best medicine. And statins are certainly one of the most important tools that we have in cardiology to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

pedro kenworth

Which is the magic number? Right? I mean, we know that you can lower your cholesterol by changing your diet or by exercising. Of course, genetics play a role. And sometimes you just have a little bad luck. But is there a magical age? Is there a magic number? Okay, now I'm 49. Right? And my cholesterol is 220, 230. No doctor has ever told me I need a statin. Right? Every time I go to the doctor, which is not as often as it should be, but once a year, they tell me, you know, change your diet a little or exercise a little more. But no one ever said you should take a statin. And then I think I'm not old enough. Or my cholesterol is not very high. There must be some factor.

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well I guess it starts with suspicion and knowledge. You know, I'm a preventative cardiologist, so I'm very focused on risk and long-term risk. So to have a statin indication, you have to understand it in the context of a person's risk. So, you know, people who already have heart disease, people with diabetes, people who have very high LDL cholesterol, this is called severe hyperlipidemia, so it would be LDL cholesterol greater than equal to 190. And then people with precoronary problems. history of heart disease, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, these people should really be taking a statin. So the people who don't, you know, if the patients don't meet those criteria, then it's all a matter of how long is the risk of developing a heart attack or stroke. And that helps us decide whether or not you should take a statin. So in general, you know that younger people who don't have risk factors for heart disease usually get away with lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise. But as you get older or develop risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, inflammatory diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, all of these things can increase your risk of heart disease and would be indications to take a statin. Well, you mentioned, you know, diet and exercise. So you know, to some extent, changing your eating habits and getting some exercise can lower your bad cholesterol, specifically lower saturated fat in your diet, lower dietary cholesterol, and increase soluble fiber and plant sterols in your diet. can lower LDL cholesterol. On the other hand, exercise and weight loss can improve triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol. But overall, the effects are relatively modest, usually around a 10 to 20 percent change, whereas statins can lower LDL cholesterol by more than 50 percent in many cases.

pedro kenworth

(Video) The dangers of stopping cholesterol medication

So if you put me on a statin, I can go ahead and eat my grilled chicken and cheeseburgers all the time.

Dr. Ian Neeland

No, I really wouldn't put it that way. You know, nutrition has many components. And while statins help lower cholesterol, a poor diet that's high in saturated fat, high in sodium or salt, and low in potassium and essential nutrients can have negative effects on your health far beyond cholesterol. First, high levels of sugar are stored in the body as fat. So even if you don't eat a high-fat diet, you're bound to gain weight if you drink sugary drinks, such as: B. Non-diet soft drinks, sugary drinks. Things high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium cause blood pressure to rise and triglycerides to rise. And triglycerides, I mentioned that briefly, but it's another lipid-related risk factor that many people overlook. So we know that even if you could lower your LDL cholesterol to a low level with a statin, there are many other lipoproteins in the blood that contribute to heart disease that aren't necessarily lowered by a statin, and diet plays a big role. . very important role in this. So you're not out of the woods when you eat cheeseburgers and fried chicken.

matt jepson

So conventional wisdom has always told us that what we eat affects our health, and it does. But what I heard from you is that genetics also play a role. And when it comes to high cholesterol, could you break it down for us?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Yes of course. You know, genetics play a role in your cholesterol set point. In other words, the amount of cholesterol your liver makes and reabsorbs from your bloodstream is largely determined by your genetics. However, statins and other lipid-lowering drugs can change the way the liver handles cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol to very low levels. Well, there are some genetic diseases that are linked to very high cholesterol levels, such as: B. Familial hyperlipidemia or HF, which can cause the premature development of heart disease, heart attacks and death. And these diseases, which are genetic diseases, can be hereditary and can be very dangerous.

matt jepson

Doctor, you have the last word here. What would you like to say to anyone who is undecided about statins? What is your reasoning?

Dr. Ian Neeland

So I would say, you know, talk to your doctor, see a preventive cardiologist if you're concerned. We can answer all your questions. We can help you understand the risks and benefits of taking drugs like statins and other drugs to prevent heart disease and stroke. And it's really important to have the right information and feel confident about what it means to take a statin. It is also important to understand what are the myths and what are the truths. And the only way to really do that is to talk to someone who has experience in these areas and really find out what you need to know. And as always, it's important to check your numbers. So many people don't know they have high cholesterol until they are checked by their doctor, which can be until someone is in their 40s or 50s. Therefore, it is very important that you check your numbers and know what your numbers are and what your goals are. And I think this will help you a lot to identify areas where you need to improve. And when you have a good preventive cardiologist to work with you, you're guaranteed to reduce your risk of heart disease as much as possible and live a longer, healthier life.

matt jepson


Thank you for joining us, Dr. Ian Neeland, Director of Cardiovascular Prevention at University Hospitals. And remember, you can find and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and anywhere else you get your podcasts. Look up Universitätskliniken or Healthy@UH depending on where you are listening.

pedro kenworth

For more health news, advice from medical experts and Healthy@UH podcasts, visit


Do you really need a statins for high cholesterol? ›

If your risk is very low, you probably won't need a statin, unless your LDL is above 190 mg/dL (4.92 mmol/L). If your risk is very high — for example, you've had a heart attack in the past — a statin may be helpful even if you don't have high cholesterol.

What happens if you don't take statins for high cholesterol? ›

Taking statins

Check with your doctor whether there's a particular time of day you should take your statin. You usually have to continue taking statins for life because if you stop taking them, your cholesterol will return to a high level. If you forget to take your dose, do not take an extra one to make up for it.

Are statins really worth the risk? ›

If you have high cholesterol and are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, you should consider statins. That's because the benefits of statins greatly outweigh the risks. Statins reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular events like heart attack or stroke by up to 25%, and death by 10%.

Should I or shouldn't I take statins? ›

Statins should be taken with caution if you're at an increased risk of developing a rare side effect called myopathy, which is where the tissues of your muscles become damaged and painful. Severe myopathy (rhabdomyolysis) can lead to kidney damage. Things that can increase this risk include: being over 70 years old.

What is the downside of statins? ›

While statins are highly effective and safe for most people, they have been linked to muscle pain, digestive problems and mental fuzziness in some people who take them and may rarely cause liver damage.

Can you get off statins once you start? ›

If you're taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you will need to keep taking your prescription, or your cholesterol will likely go back up. Stopping your statin can put you at risk of having heart disease and other preventable health problems like stroke and heart attack from high cholesterol.

Why are doctors pushing statins? ›

In almost all high-risk populations (exceptions are those with kidney failure on dialysis or symptomatic heart failure) studied, those who took statins had 20%-40% fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths over 2-5 years than those who took the placebo. What are the risks of statins?

Why do people not want to take statins? ›

Fear of side effects and perceived side effects are the most common reasons for declining or discontinuing statin therapy. Willingness to take a statin is high, among both patients who have declined statin therapy and those who have never been offered one.

What can I take instead of statins to lower cholesterol? ›

7 cholesterol-lowering alternatives to statins
  • Fibrates. Mostly used for lowering triglyceride levels in patients whose levels are very high and could cause pancreatitis. ...
  • Plant stanols and sterols. ...
  • Cholestyramine and other bile acid-binding resins. ...
  • Niacin. ...
  • Policosanol. ...
  • Red yeast rice extract (RYRE) ...
  • Natural products.

Is there a safer alternative to statins? ›

Ezetimibe. Ezetimibe is a tablet that lowers cholesterol. It may be prescribed if statins cannot be taken, or alongside a statin for extra cholesterol-lowering. It's a 'cholesterol absorption inhibitor' that limits the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine.

What percentage of people have problems with statins? ›

World's largest study shows less than 10% suffer side-effects caused by the drug. Summary: As many as one in two patients stop taking statins, reduce the dose or take them irregularly because they believe the cholesterol-lowering drugs cause muscle pain and other side-effects.

What is safer than statins? ›

If statins aren't the best option for you, there are other medications available. These include sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, and PCSK9 inhibitors.

Is there a natural substitute for statins? ›

Some people do not tolerate statins or may want to try natural remedies to treat their high cholesterol. Statin alternatives include some prescription medications like ezetimibe and fibric acids. Natural remedies that some people use to help treat high cholesterol include omega-3 fatty acids and red yeast rice extract.

What does the Mayo Clinic say about statins? ›

Taking statins lowers your body's production of cholesterol and may lower your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart-related death. However, you may experience mild to severe statin side effects such as muscle aches, pain, weakness or other side effects, including asymptomatic liver damage.

At what age are statins not recommended? ›

Adults age 75 and older may not need statins.

Their doctors usually prescribe statins to prevent heart disease. But for older people, there is no clear evidence that high cholesterol leads to heart disease or death.

What is the least harmful statin? ›

According to a research review people who take simvastatin (Zocor) or pravastatin (Pravachol) may experience fewer side effects.

Do statins make you gain weight? ›

Statin use is associated with increased calorie intake and consequent weight gain.

At what cholesterol level is medication required? ›

Your health care team may prescribe medicine if: You have already had a heart attack or stroke or have peripheral arterial disease. Your LDL cholesterol level is 190 mg/dL or higher. You are 40–75 years old and have diabetes and an LDL cholesterol level of 70 mg/dL or higher.

What is considered dangerously high cholesterol? ›

A person is considered at high risk for developing heart disease if their total cholesterol level is higher than 240 mg/dL, LDL levels are higher than 160 mg/dL (190 mg/dL is even higher risk), and if the HDL level is below 40 mg/dL.

Which cholesterol drug is safest? ›

Which cholesterol-lowering drug is the safest? Overall, statins are safe as a class of drugs. Serious adverse events are very rare. Among the individual medications, studies have shown that simvastatin (Zocor®) and pravastatin (Pravachol®) seem to be safer and better tolerated than the other statins.

Do statins clear the arteries of plaque? ›

Statins help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, in the blood. They draw cholesterol out of plaque and stabilize plaque, Blaha says.

What food can replace statins? ›

A near-vegetarian diet rich in fiber-filled foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, similar to the Pritikin Eating Plan, was as effective as statin drugs in reducing LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, according to research.

What reduces cholesterol quickly naturally? ›

Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your LDL cholesterol.

Who Cannot tolerate statins? ›

Statin Intolerance Risk Factors
  • Being older than 80.
  • Being female.
  • Descending from an Asian ethnicity.
  • Having a pre-existing neuromuscular condition.
  • Having a personal or family history of myopathy, or disease of the muscles.
  • Having pre-existing liver disease.
  • Having pre-existing kidney disease.
Jun 1, 2021

Do all doctors recommend statins? ›

Most doctors would say no. In those cases, we need to take into account other heart health risks when deciding whether to prescribe a statin. Our first step in preventing or treating high cholesterol is with diet and lifestyle changes.

What is the success rate of statins? ›

Statins work for people of all ages

For every mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol, statins reduced the risk of an MI by 25% and a stroke by 21% across all age groups. Even in the oldest group, statins lowered the risk of a severe event by up to 20% for every mmol/L reduction.

What is the first drug of choice for cholesterol? ›

Statins are the most common medicine for high cholesterol. They reduce the amount of cholesterol your body makes. You take a tablet once a day. You usually need to take them for life.

How do I get off statins? ›

Reducing statin use
  1. Adding other cholesterol drugs. Drugs your doctor could add to your medication regimen while reducing your statin use include ezetimibe, bile acid sequestrants, or niacin. ...
  2. Adding L-carnitine supplements.
  3. Adding CoQ10 supplements.

What is a natural statin? ›

Natural statins are dietary supplements that are considered helpful in lowering your cholesterol. There's some evidence that the following are effective when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels.

Can you take CoQ10 instead of statins? ›

Some studies suggest that CoQ10 supplements may help with muscle-related side effects from statins. But overall evidence doesn't support this use. Talk to your healthcare provider if you're experiencing statin side effects. In some cases, these go away over time.

Are statins better than a healthy lifestyle? ›

Greenfield, MD, medical director of noninvasive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at MemorialCare Health System, agrees that statins reduce cholesterol more than lifestyle changes. “Diet and weight loss can lower total cholesterol between 10 and 20 percent.

At what stage do you need statins? ›

The current recommendation is that you should be offered statins if: there's at least a 1 in 10 chance of you developing CVD at some point in the next 10 years. lifestyle measures, such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, haven't reduced this risk.

Do most seniors have high cholesterol? ›

Total cholesterol levels steadily increase with age from 20 to 65, following which they decrease slightly in men and tend to plateau in women. Elevated cholesterol levels are not uncommon in the elderly (61% of women aged between 65 and 74 have total cholesterol levels over 6.2 mmol/L [240 mg/dL]).

How can I lower my cholesterol instead of statins? ›

7 cholesterol-lowering alternatives to statins
  1. Fibrates. Mostly used for lowering triglyceride levels in patients whose levels are very high and could cause pancreatitis. ...
  2. Plant stanols and sterols. ...
  3. Cholestyramine and other bile acid-binding resins. ...
  4. Niacin. ...
  5. Policosanol. ...
  6. Red yeast rice extract (RYRE) ...
  7. Natural products.

How long does it take to lower cholesterol without statins? ›

It can take 3-6 months to reduce cholesterol by eating healthy and exercising, potentially longer for cisgender females. Some people may still need to take medications. Your cholesterol levels are directly tied to your heart health, which is why it's so important to make sure they're in a healthy range.

Why would a patient not want to take statins? ›

Fear of side effects and perceived side effects are the most common reasons for declining or discontinuing statin therapy. Willingness to take a statin is high, among both patients who have declined statin therapy and those who have never been offered one.

What does Mayo Clinic say about statins? ›

Taking statins lowers your body's production of cholesterol and may lower your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart-related death. However, you may experience mild to severe statin side effects such as muscle aches, pain, weakness or other side effects, including asymptomatic liver damage.

What is a natural alternative to statin drugs? ›

For patients who can't tolerate cholesterol-lowering statins, natural remedies like bergamot, garlic and green tea may be a useful alternative, based on a recent statement published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

What percentage of people Cannot tolerate statins? ›

Studies show that about 5 percent to 10 percent of people are unable to tolerate statins, largely because of muscle aches and related side effects, including potential muscle damage.

What is the best cholesterol medication with the least side effects? ›

According to a research review people who take simvastatin (Zocor) or pravastatin (Pravachol) may experience fewer side effects.

Can you live with high cholesterol without medication? ›

Most people can lower high cholesterol with lifestyle changes, like prioritizing heart-healthy foods, quitting tobacco products, exercising regularly, and sleeping enough. Making changes to lower your cholesterol might mean you don't need to take cholesterol medication anymore (or deal with the side effects).

What is the truth about statins? ›

Statins are the first-line preventive treatment in people with high cholesterol and are safe and effective for most of the population. But some people's cholesterol levels remain high even after trying a statin, and some cannot tolerate them, so alternative or additional cholesterol-lowering treatments are required.


1. Statin Misinformation: Mayo Clinic Radio
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2. How Much Longer Do You Live on Statins?
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