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How Do I Take Statin Drugs?

Statin Drugs Can Lower Your Cholesterol If Taken Correctly


Updated June 16, 2014

Updated June 16, 2014
Statin drugs are a popular class of cholesterol-lowering medications that target all aspects of your cholesterol profile: they lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides while raising HDL (good cholesterol) levels.

Although statins are generally beneficial and safe, there are some things you should know before you begin taking a statin. Taking your statin correctly will give you optimal cholesterol-lowering effects:

  • Statins may be taken with or without food.

  • Do not take your statin with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice contains a chemical called bergamottin, which interacts with some statins. This interaction may cause an increase in the amount of statin drug in the body.

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If your missed dose is within a couple of hours of your next dose, just take your next dose and omit the dose you skipped. Never take a double dose of your statin.

  • Take this drug exactly as prescribed by your health care provider. You will be required to visit your health care provider more often so that he or she can monitor your cholesterol levels and ensure your medication is working effectively. Your liver enzyme levels will also be monitored periodically while taking the medication to ensure that it is not harming your liver.

  • Be sure to notify your health care provider if you develop progressive muscle weakness with or without bloody urine. Although this experience is rare, it should be brought to the attention of your health care provider so that you may be switched to another cholesterol-lowering medication.

  • Although you are already taking something to lower your cholesterol, this should not substitute following a low fat diet and exercise program, since they will further help you lower your cholesterol levels. Be sure to eat foods that are low in saturated fat and high in fiber, including lots of fruits and vegetables. In addition to this, be sure to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week.

DiPiro JT, Talbert RL, Yee GC et al. Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiological Approach, 6rd ed 2005.

Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (PDF), July 2004, The National Institutes of Heath: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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