Statins have been proven to effectively reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. As the most widely used medicine to lower cholesterol, statins have been around for more than 30 years with plenty of research into side effects during that time. While statins can affect everyone differently, these are the most common symptoms to look out for.
Statins are some of the most widely prescribed medications across the globe for people with concerning levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
More commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol’, LDL can build up around the arteries and trigger anything from a heart attack to a stroke by restricting the blood flow around the body.
According to the medical website, Healthline, most people who take statins have no noticeable adverse side effects.
Though side effects can occur, it is important to know the difference between common symptoms of statin use, and the more rare issues that could be a sign of a more serious problem.
Common side effects of pravastatin
Unlike simvastatin, pravastatin has been linked to fewer muscle aches and other side effects compared with other variations of statins.
It is generally well tolerated when used on a long term basis, though it has been shown to trigger muscle stiffness and painful joints in some people.
Common side effects of atorvastatin
Atorvastatin has been most commonly linked to headaches and cold or flu-like symptoms.
If you are taking atorvastatin and experience consistent flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor to rule out the risk of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
Fluvastatin side effects
Fluvastatin is used as an alternative drug for people who have had muscle pain when taking stronger statins – though side effects are still common and can include:
- Joint pain
- Trouble sleeping and tiredness
According to Healthline, infection symptoms are also commonly linked to fluvastatin and can cause anything from chills, fever and runny nose to a sore throat and sweating.
Rosuvastatin side effects
This type of statin has the highest number of reported side effects, though Healthline claimed that taking a lower dose may reduce or eliminate uncomfortable symptoms which can include:
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Skin rash
Uncommon side effects of statin use
Less common symptoms like memory issues and sexual problems have been linked to statin use in some cases.
Though these symptoms are less common, they can generally feel more pressing than a headache or muscle pain.
It is important to seek medical advice if you feel overwhelmed by any of the following side effects reported by the NHS:
- Being sick
- Memory problems
- Hair loss
- Pins and needles
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)
- Flu-like symptoms – could indicate hepatitis
- Stomach pain – could be a sign of pancreatitis
- Skin problems – acne, itchy red rash
- Sexual issues – loss of libido or erectile dysfunction