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Statins are medicines that lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol that builds up inside the blood vessel walls. It makes them too narrow. This can block blood flow to the heart or brain. And it can cause a heart attack or stroke. LDL cholesterol also raises your total cholesterol levels.
You can improve your cholesterol levels by making lifestyle changes. These include eating less animal fat and getting plenty of exercise. But for some people, this is not enough. You need medicines to lower your cholesterol.
Statins lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and early death for people who have heart disease or are at high risk for heart disease. They do this by blocking how much cholesterol your body makes. You must take statins regularly for them to work well. If you stop, your cholesterol will go back up.
Examples of statins include:
Statins interact with many medicines. So tell your doctor which other medicines you take, including gemfibrozil, fenofibrate, niacin, ketoconazole, and erythromycin.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: April 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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