Drugs & MedicationsHeart DiseasePreventive Medicine


The use of statin drugs has been challenged for years by the fear of alleged adverse effects. Patients who need this drug have opted not to take it because of the terrible things they heard statins are supposed to do. This fear becomes a barrier that physicians have difficulty breaking through to prescribe these benchmark drugs. 

Researchers in Poland studied over 4 million patients who had been on statins and found the true prevalence of statin intolerance was 6%-10%, far lower than previously thought.

More importantly, what they also found were several factors which increased a patient’s chances of having adverse effects from a statin. Those factors are:

     Female Gender

     Hypothyroidism—an under-active thyroid

     High Statin Dose—higher the dose, the more likely are side effects

     Advanced Age

     Antiarrhythmic drugs—potent drugs with their own side effect problems

     High alcohol consumption


Patients having these risk factors had between 22% (high alcohol consumption) and 48% (being female) prevalence of stain intolerance. 

However, taking the entire 4,143,517 patients, the prevalence was 9.1%. They also emphasized the need to carefully assess if the patient’s side effects are really caused by the statin. Patients may be so biased against statins that they convince themselves they are having side effects—the “nocebo effect.” The inclusion of a statin in one’s drug regimen is usually important enough to be sure those achey legs are really from the statin and not from overuse.

Statins have unjustifiably gotten “a bad rap.” They are safe and effective and should not be feared. I’ve said this before, but I think they are so safe and effective, they should be in our water. This study gives perspective to the unfounded anxiety generated by the media who report on those bizarre and rare freak adverse effects which probably have an unacknowledged  underlying reason for occurring. Unless you make a concerted effort to find the reason, you can’t just assume a strange side effect is caused by the statin. 

When a drug is 100% effective and 91% safe, I think the public has no reason to fear it. People can easily convince themselves they are having an adverse effect, but upon closer investigation, it’s not caused by the statin. The use of a statin has benefits that occur   completely unknown to the patient. The heart attack you don’t have, the carotid artery narrowing that doesn’t occur, the blockage in your leg artery that you don’t have are some of the good things of statins. Those achey leg muscles will never kill you, but those other events will. The results of the study reported here hopefully will convince you to not fear taking a statin. The benefits definitely outweigh any risk.

Reference: https://dgnews.docguide.com/statin-intolerance-overestimated-overdiagnosed.

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