Things to Have in Mind Before Stopping Statins

By Kelvin Daniel |
|5 min read

As we all know, statins are a class of drugs that can lower the levels of cholesterol in the blood by reducing its production in the liver. In most cases, people who had a cardiovascular problem such as a stroke have to use statins on a daily basis to control levels of cholesterol. At the same time, the main problem with using a statin is that it has severe side effects in addition to its advantages and medical benefits. Even when you stop taking statins, the lasting side effects will keep annoying you. In this article, we decided to explain what happens if you stop taking statins.

Possible Side Effects When Stopping Statins

The main reason why it is difficult to answer the question of how to stop taking statins is that risks are too high, and even if you have completely changed your lifestyle, the side effects could disturb you. In the further text below, we will present you with the most common side effects that could happen if you suddenly stop taking statins:

1. Muscle Pain

We don't have a full understanding of why muscle pain can be a side effect of statins. According to some theories, statins can affect proteins in muscle cells which will lead to decreased muscle growth. According to another theory, this is because statins decrease coenzyme Q10 which helps muscles produce energy. The main issue that can happen after you stop using statins is rhabdomyolysis or a thorough breakdown of muscle tissue. Even though it is a rare side effect, it can cause muscle pain and even more severe issues that can lead to life-threatening problems.

2. Increased Blood Sugar

Most people can easily tolerate statins. However, they still have some side effects such as increased blood sugar levels. Usually, it is only a slight increase, but that can be problematic for people with diabetes or for someone who has an increased risk of developing diabetes.

3. Memory Problem/Neurological Side Effects

Statins have beneficial properties, but they can also cause confusion or memory loss. This particular problem starts during statin therapy and will reduce gradually when you stop using statins.

4. Liver Damage

Significant liver damage can occur when using statins, especially in situations where you had problems with alcohol throughout your life. Your physician should complete a thorough examination before prescribing a statin treatment because if you have significant liver damage, you won't be able to use statins. During statin usage, liver damage can also suddenly appear and cause additional problems. If you notice signs such as the inability to gain weight and dark urine, you should consult with a doctor as soon as possible.

Types of Patients Who Should Stop Taking Statins

There are some warnings and precautions that you should have in mind before you start taking a statin medication:

  • If you have problems with alcoholism, we recommend you discuss this with a doctor before you start or continue taking statins. Alcohol can affect liver functions and determine whether you will be able to use medication or not.

  • You should always keep in mind that statins could potentially be harmful to your unborn child. That is why you shouldn't use them when you are pregnant or if you want to get pregnant.

  • If you are breastfeeding, you should avoid using statins.

How to Stop Using Statins Safely?

It is important to consider the answer to the question, "Can you stop taking statins?”, because some people cannot handle it. We mentioned above that if you had a stroke or heart attack, you shouldn't stop using statins because that could lead to more problems. The best way to reduce the usage of statins is to do so under a doctor's surveillance.

  • Gradual Reduction

You can start by reducing the statin dosage which will lead to mild side effects and you will still be able to manage cholesterol levels.

  • Switching Medications

You can safely switch to other cholesterol medications. According to the AHA (American Heart Association), you can use Ezetimibe, Fenofibric Acid, Niacin supplement, or another drug that will keep cholesterol levels in a safe range.

  • Lifestyle Changes

You can reduce the side effects hassle and withdrawal symptoms by changing your lifestyle. Therefore, you should implement and adopt an exercise program for your needs and create a specific diet that will help you cope with side effects. The best way to reduce cholesterol naturally is to follow the Mediterranean diet.

  • Supplementation

Different types of supplements will help you cope with the withdrawal and side effects. The best ones recommended for this are L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, and other amino acids that will help you cope with muscle fatigue. Note: It is important to mention that you should consult with your doctor and only make changes under strict supervision because stopping this particular medication could lead to severe health issues.

Take Home Message

We have presented you a thorough guide to what happens if you stop taking statins. As you can see from everything we mentioned above, using statin medications has positive effects on your health, but they can also include a wide array of disadvantages. Harmful side effects can occur if you stop using it, and this can cause problems for your entire body.

Therefore, you should use this particular medication only under the supervision of your doctor, and your medical team should also carefully supervise any time you stop taking this medication.

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