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When Should I Be Taking Statin Drugs?

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Updated May 16, 2014

Question: When Should I Be Taking Statin Drugs?
Answer: While you are sleeping, your liver is making the majority of your cholesterol, so theoretically, it would probably be best to be taking statin drugs before you go to bed. That way, your statin will be working at the point when most of the cholesterol is being made, helping it be most effective.

However, all statins are not created equally. Some statins may last only for a short period of time in the body (around a few hours). These include:

  • Mevacor (lovastatin)
  • Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Lescol (fluvastatin)
Therefore, in order to get the maximum effect from these three statins, it would probably be best to take these statins with your last meal of the day (evening meal) or before you go to sleep. That way, you can get the most cholesterol-lowering effect from your statin.

On the other hand, there are also other statins that last longer in the body. While it may be best to take these statins before you go to sleep, too, these statins can be taken at any time of the day. They include:

  • Lipitor (atorvastatin)
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin)
  • Pravachol (pravastatin)

Before you do this, make sure that you consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you are taking multiple medications at bedtime. Some drugs can interact with statins when you take them together, which can either decrease their effectiveness or increase the likelihood of side effects.

Sources:

Gotto AM. Statins: Powerful Drugs for Lowering Cholesterol. Circulation. 2002;105:1514.

Lacy CF, Armstrong LL, Goldman MP, et al. Lexicomp's Drug Information Handbook, 15th ed 2007.

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