This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins
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You may need to take statins if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, in order to reduce your risk of another cardiac event. You usually have to continue taking statins for life because if you stop taking them, your cholesterol will return to a high level within a few weeks. Nonetheless, there are some possible side effects to consider, including some which may influence your mood.
The NHS says that there are five types of statin available on prescription in the UK.
NICE says that there are some possible side effects for all statins, as well as some which are experienced more rarely.
For some side effects, the frequency is not known.
This is the case for the occurrence of depression. Indeed, several studies note that psychiatric adverse drug reactions have been reported with statin use.
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One study, published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, says: “Though statins are widely tolerated, they may be among the growing list of prescription agents that, in some participants, may increase the risk of serious psychiatric events and/or behavioural changes.”
The study concludes that the findings suggest that cholesterol-lowering drugs should be “added to the list of agents that bear consideration when new irritability, or aggressive or violent behavioral changes arise”.
the NHS says that you should discuss the benefits and risks of taking statins with your doctor before you start taking the medicine.
“If you find certain side effects particularly troublesome, talk to the doctor in charge of your care,” it adds.
There are also several other side effects which may occur, according to NICE.
Common or “very common” side effects include diarrhoea, dizziness, a headache, nausea and sleep disorders.
Uncommon side effects induced alopecia, memory loss, pancreatitis, sexual dysfunction, skin reactions and vomiting.
The NHS adds that statins can occasionally cause muscle inflammation and damage. It advises that you speak to your doctor if you have muscle pain, tenderness or weakness that cannot be explained.
Other rare side effects of statins include muscle weakness, loss of sensation or tingling in the nerve endings of the hands and feet, and tendon problems.
The NHS also notes statins can sometimes interact with other medicines, increasing the risk of “unpleasant” side effects, such as muscle damage.
Some types of statin can also interact with grapefruit juice, the health body adds.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “It’s important to take your medication regularly as prescribed. Most statins are taken at night, as this is when most of your cholesterol is produced. Check with your doctor or pharmacist when you should be taking your statin.”
The charity also notes that a research study suggested that in very rare cases statins may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“However statins are among the safest and the most studied medications available today,” it suggests.
The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you’re taking.
It’s run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
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