A recent meta-study on statins was huge - it looked at 135 studies throughout the past 28 years with more than 245,000 patients.
What it discovered was great news: Statins, especially low to moderate doses of simvastatin and pravastatin, were found to reduce the risk of heart attack in cardiovascular patients by 54 percent and reduce the risk of stroke by 48 percent. Those significant benefits substantially outweighed the risks associated with statins. This is welcome info for approximately 32 million North Americans who take the medications.
The risks (they're not common) include muscle soreness, diabetes, fatigue and an increase (although usually reversible) in liver enzymes. Does that mean that those few folks who have adverse reactions to statins have to give up on the benefits? Possibly not.
If you're statin-intolerant, meaning you experience side effects or the meds don't lower your lipid levels - be honest, are you taking them regularly? - you may be able to work with your cardiologist to discover a solution. With testing and changes to your brand, frequency and/or dosage, you may become statin-tolerant and be able to reap the rewards. (Turns out, some initial studies show statins may also reduce the risk for some cancers and dementia.)
So if you've had a statin prescribed for you and you're not taking it (50 percent of you don't follow the Rx), don't quit. Go back to your doc and work together to find the dose and statin that's right for you.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.