Statins: Harnessing the Full Power of Your Prescriptions
The Importance of Medication Adherence
If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol your doctor may prescribe you a statin medication to help manage it. But getting that prescription is just half the battle. Millennium Physician Group Clinical Pharmacist Brittany Orr explains how to harness the full power of your prescription.
“When you think about statins, it’s all about prevention. A lot of different health conditions can increase our risk of heart attack and stroke. Things like obesity, high blood pressure, genetics, smoking.
Statins reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular events like heart attack or stroke by up to 25%, and death by 10%.
“Most diabetics age 40 to 75, we recommend to be on a statin medication. Or if you’ve had a heart attack, stroke, or other significant heart problem in the past, oftentimes your doctor will recommend a statin even if your cholesterol is normal.
“Statin medications are extremely important to take as prescribed. And not only do they lower bad cholesterol, which is known as LDL cholesterol but they also have decades of evidence to lower the chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
Concern about side effects is the leading reason patients refuse to take or stop taking statins.
“The biggest barriers that we see with statin really revolve around concerns of side effects. So particularly myalgia, which is a fancy way of saying muscle pain, it can occur in about two to 13% of patients that are prescribed statin therapy. It’s really important that if you do experience these side effects you talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Because we have seven different statin medications on the market. As a pharmacist, I recommend trying at least three different statins at a different dose or frequency schedule before saying we can’t tolerate statins altogether. The benefit drastically outweighs the risk.
The American Heart Association says statins continue to be the most effective lipid-lowering treatment.
“The other big barrier we see with statins is just really having an understanding of why they’re so important and that they’re really meant to be a maintenance medication for long-term use.
“I really recommend if you have trouble with your statin medication, don’t wait. Call your provider, call your pharmacist, work together to make sure to find that there there’s a better option for you.
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