High Cholesterol Medication - How Do Statins Work?

Almost certainly, Statins are the most effective and most popular prescribed high cholesterol medication. Furthermore, Statins are considered to be ones of the top seller drugs in the pharmaceutical industry worldwide.

Statin drugs (including Lipitor and Crestor) mode of action is through reduction of the amount of cholesterol synthesized by the liver. This can lead to:

Significant decrease in LDL “bad” cholesterol levels

Moderate decrease in TG (triglycerides) levels

Minor increase in HDL “good” cholesterol levels

Researchers have proved that Statins reduce occurrence of sudden heart attacks, cerebrovascular strokes, and even death in patients with high risk of cardiovascular disease.

So, the guidelines given by National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) and the American Heart Association are based mainly on the LDL cholesterol levels in your bloodstream and on the level of risk you have to develop CHD (coronary heart disease).

According to that, you should start taking a high cholesterol medication if you :

• Have a family history of incident CHD

• Or have inherited high blood cholesterol levels (Hypercholesterolemia)

• Have any peripheral arterial diseases (mainly due to atherosclerosis)

• Are a diabetic

• Have suffered a heart attack or CV stroke recently.

Basically, the most commonly used Statin drugs are as given in the table below:

Among lowering cholesterol drugs, Baycol (cerivastatin) has been completely removed from the pharmaceutical markets since 2001 when proved its dangerous and devastating side effects.

It’s true that all the high cholesterol medications can lower your cholesterol inhibiting its production from the liver. Actually, they inhibit HMG-CoA reductase in liver, which intermediate the cholesterol synthesis.

Thus, the following would be the benefits (good effects) of using Statins as high cholesterol medication :

1. Prevent further precipitation of plaques (cholesterol deposits) in your arteries.

2. Minimize the size of the previously formed plaques.

3. Stabilize blood clots and prevent thrombosis.

4. Minimize intra-arterial inflammation (main cause of plaque formation and precipitation).

5. Enhance your general blood circulatory system function.

Among all the Statins, Lipitor is the mostly used as a potent high cholesterol medication worldwide.

Brand name Lipitor
Generic name
Atorvastatin calcium
Mode of action
Lipitor is HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
HMG-CoA reductase is an enzyme which regulates production of cholesterol in your body; Lipitor blocks the receptors of this enzyme, thus reducing cholesterol blood levels.
Therapeutic indications
1-Reduction of high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides
2- Increasing HDL levels in patients suffering from hypercholesterolemia (familial or mixed).
Lipitor is used in combination with diet control
Side effects
o Pain in abdomen, stomach, chest, back, muscles and joints
o Some allergic reactions, like rash
o Bronchitis ,sinusitis, common cold symptoms
o Nausea, mal digestion, constipation ,diarrhea
o Dizziness, headache, insomnia
o General weakness
o Renal infections
o Retention of body fluids and gases
Drug interaction
Antacids ,Cyclosporine ,Digoxin, Immunosuppressive drugs, Erythromycin, Fenofibrate, Ketoconazole, Niacin ,Oral contraceptives
In pregnancy or breastfeeding
Doctors never prescribe high cholesterol medication; because fetus and baby need a lot of cholesterol
It should be taken once at the same time each day Therapeutic effect appears after using drug for 2 weeks

As you see, there is a long list for side effects. And here we have the other part of the medallion: the “bad” one. The side effects keep the doctors being in doubt all the time. That’s why the first line of treatment are Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes .

Natural ways to reduce cholesterol remain always a better choice to any medication. Think more about that! Stay firm. Keep healthy. nature comes first.

But careful : when there is need for drug (and doctor prescribed to you) you must have it, do not neglect it.

What is recently discussed in the Cholesterol Questions and Answers Room:

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Return to Home