Statins: The way to take the popular drug to reduce side effects by 40 percent – study

This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins

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Statins provide a crucial lifeline for those with dangerously high cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol is a precursor for far more dangerous conditions including heart attack or stroke. Taking statins in the evening has been shown to be the most effective time but could you be forgetting something crucial which has been shown to significantly increase the risk of side effect such as muscle pain, sleep problems and dizziness?

When it comes to taking statins on an empty stomach, most professionals agree it is harmless.

In fact, taking cholesterol medication with food could reduce risk of side effects.

A study led by Doctor Richard Kim, a scientist at Lawson, found that eating food when taking the medication rosuvastatin can reduce the risk of side effects.

The study marks the first time the relationship between rosuvastatin, and food intake has been assessed in a real-world setting.

In the study, certain factors were focused on including the effect to which humans respond to drugs.

The research involved 23 healthy volunteers randomised to either eat a low-fat meal, high-fat meal or fast immediately before taking their dose of medication.

The research team found that taking the medication with food resulted in a near 40 percent reduction in the amount of rosuvastatin present in the blood of healthy research participants. 

Sometimes doctors may recommend taking statins in the evening.

“This is because your body makes most cholesterol at night,” said the NHS.

The national health body added: “If you’re not sure when to take your medicine, ask a pharmacist or your doctor for advice.

“Atorvastatin doesn’t upset the stomach, so you can take it with or without food.

“Swallow atorvastatin tablets whole with a glass of water.

“If you’ve been given chewable tablets, you can chew them or swallow them whole with a glass of water.”

What happens if you forget to take your statins?

If you occasionally forget to take a dose, take your next dose the next day at the usual time.

Never take two doses at the same time and ever take extra doses, warns the NHS.

If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.

You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

Are there any side effects?

Like all medicines, statins can cause side effects. But most people tolerate them well and do not have any problems.

“You should discuss the benefits and risks of taking statins with your doctor before you start taking the medicine,” explains the NHS.

Side effects can vary between different statins, but common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling unusually tired or physically weak
  • Digestive system problems, such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or farting
  • Muscle pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Low blood platelet count.

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