FEB 16, 2017 10:28 AM PST

Your Response to Statin Drugs Predicts Risk of High Cholesterol

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

The experience of side effects while taking statin drugs is the strongest predictor of an individual’s failure to meet healthy standards of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, says a new study from the European Society of Cardiology.

Source: Keto Island

"Patients who experience side effects are probably more likely to reduce or terminate statin use, or their doctor may prescribe a weaker drug or take them off statins altogether," lead author Dr. John Munkhaugen explained. "Individual variations in how the body reacts to and uses the drug may also play a role."

Munkhaugen said that reducing LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol compared to high-density lipoprotein (HDL), is beneficial to human health because it reduces the progression of coronary heart disease. "European guidelines recommend a blood LDL cholesterol goal of less than 1.8 mmol/l, but just one in five cardiac patients taking lipid-lowering drugs achieve this.”

Statins are lipid-lowering, or cholesterol-lowering, drugs that inhibit the production of cholesterol in the liver. In addition to lowering “bad” cholesterol, statins are also designed to elevate levels of “good” cholesterol, or HDL. Accumulation of “bad” cholesterol in the body can contribute to blood flow-blocking plaque formation in the arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis and often leads to multiple types of heart disease.

Last spring, experts from Johns Hopkins University made recommendations for medical professionals on when to prescribe statins. In the rare case that statins could cause muscle damage or diabetes, it is important for doctors to consider a patient’s whole health when considering a statin prescription. Professor Neil J. Stone from Northwestern University explained that the decision should be informed by the intersection of scientific evidence, clinical judgment and patient preference, but clinicians need to individualize the advice.”

Munkhaugen and his team conducted a study of over one thousand patients hospitalized with a coronary event or treatment, including heart attack, coronary artery bypass graft, or coronary stent procedure. Researchers collected a variety of information from each participant while in the hospital as well as up to three years after their visit. Based on their data, the researchers calculated that statin-specific side effects, consisting mostly of muscle complaints, were by far the strongest predictor of a patient’s likelihood of missing the healthy cholesterol level.

"The findings show that the focus for interventions to improve LDL cholesterol control are statin side effects, and adherence to and prescription of sufficiently potent statins," Munkhaugen explained.

Munkhaugen’s study was recently published in the journal European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.

Sources: European Society of Cardiology, MedlinePlus.gov, Johns Hopkins University

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 05, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
AUG 05, 2018
The Major Health Risks Posed by Cipro
In recent years, studies have shown that a once-popular class of antibiotics can have life-threatening side effects....
AUG 16, 2018
Cardiology
AUG 16, 2018
Get Physical for Heart Health
Increasing physical activity past age 60 can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and increase cardiovascular health....
AUG 26, 2018
Technology
AUG 26, 2018
An App That Can Detect Atrial Fibrillation
According to a DIGITAL-AF study, a smartphone application (app) can now assist in detecting atrial fibrillation. The principal investigator of the study, P...
OCT 24, 2018
Cardiology
OCT 24, 2018
Understanding Complex Heart Defects Like Tetralogy Of Fallot
Defects at birth are common with 3% of children in the United States born with them each year. Of those defects congenital heart defects are the most commo...
OCT 29, 2018
Neuroscience
OCT 29, 2018
Gut: a second brain and novel therapeutic target
Undersatnding the role of gut microbiome in disease pathologies and targetting them for potential treatment strategies....
NOV 13, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 13, 2018
How the Microbiome, Fiber, and Heart Health are Linked
High-fiber diets are linked to better health, including healthier hearts and arteries, but why?...
Loading Comments...