Statin medications (LIPITOR, MEVACOR, PRAVACHOL, ZOCOR, CRESTOR) have been around for 25 years and have a proven track record of effectiveness and safety. No drug is perfect and these drugs are no exception, but the recent concerns that are raised for use of these medications are important, but should not disuade patients of using them when properly prescribed.
What are the concerns?
1. Diabetes: There is a very small risk of diabetes of these medications. It is very small and statistical. This risk does not outweigh the benefits to heart and brain from prevention of strokes and heart attacks.
2. Muscle pains: True…this is the most common side effect of these medications and if it is a real bother, the medication should be stopped or the dose lowered to prevent bothersome symptoms.
3. Memory loss: There have been some reports of transient memory loss from these medications, but I must say that I have not seen a case of this that I am certain of. Memory benefits of these medications include a presumed lowered risk of dementia by prevention of strokes and microstrokes, thus resulting in less cases of dementia is patients with associated brain damage from plaque and brain injury from underlying degenerative conditions. Although speculative, I feel this potential benefit outweighs the risks of these medications on this account.
In summary, these medications are not for ‘all people’. That is why in my patients I have selected those who will have a statistical and real benefit from treatment. We have chosen wisely….do not undo these benefits by stopping medication based on vague concerns that are not highly likely to cause you significant harm. Do discuss the issue with me directly before considering stopping the medications. I am certain you will benefit from these medications in the long run.