Statins are a new class of drugs that reduce cholesterol in the blood. Their main goal and the main difference from other lipid-lowering drugs is to reduce the risk of a poor outcome of atherosclerosis and, as a result, to increase the life expectancy of patients. At the same time, these medicines have a number of serious contraindications and should not be used without the prescription of a qualified specialist.
The main task of the doctor in this case is to determine the appropriateness of the use of drugs in accordance with the degree of risk. It is she, and not the level of cholesterol in the blood is an indication for the appointment of statins. This key difference between statins and other drugs that regulate intracellular cholesterol synthesis provides a basis for isolating them into a separate class of drugs.
Statins - harm and good
The feasibility of the widespread use of drugs in this group causes a lot of controversy among doctors. Arguing for and against statins, some promise universal deliverance of humanity from atherosclerosis. Others are much less enthusiastic, paying attention to the controversial results of clinical studies. At the moment, many experts in the field of health agree that taking statins to people who have never had problems with the cardiovascular system is not advisable as a preventive measure because of the inconsistency between the expected benefits and the risk to health.
With extreme caution, statins are assigned to people diagnosed with cataracts, including its initial signs. If at the same time the patient has an increased blood sugar level (diabetes), then the risk of developing cataracts when using statins increases more than five times! At the same time, the risk of developing diabetes itself increases ninefold!
At the same time, the effect of using statins for groups of people suffering from atherosclerosis and a number of other diseases listed below is undeniable. And the task of the doctor is to correctly prioritize for each patient, his health.
Appointment of statins for life
A doctor can prescribe statins only after a patient’s blood tests are performed. These are aimed at determining the level of cholesterol in the blood and identifying the patient’s belonging to one of the following groups that are recommended to use this drug:
- patients with severe atherosclerotic vascular lesions;
- in diagnosing atherosclerotic plaques of the carotid arteries;
- in ischemic heart disease and after a heart attack;
- patients with identified hereditary hypercholesterolemia, in the case when the use of other lipid-lowering drugs did not give the desired results;
- persons at risk of cardiovascular disease, suffering from hypertension;
- patients with diabetes with high content of lipids in the blood - with great care;
- patients with high cholesterol levels - after assessing the risk of adverse outcome.
Side effects of statins
With the medical reduction of cholesterol, a change in other indicators is observed, which provokes the onset of symptoms of other diseases. In each case, the further use of statins, all the pros and cons should be considered individually. The most common side effects are:
- Along with cholesterol, the level of mevalonate, which is involved in its biosynthesis and is a source of other substances that are beneficial to our body, also decreases.
- The use of statins inhibits serotonin receptors in the human brain and the synthesis of steroid hormones.
- Low cholesterol increases the risk of cancer, provokes anemia.
- Studying reviews of statins to reduce cholesterol, often have to deal with the description of neurotic disorders, depression, up to deep depressions and suicide.
- The ability of tissues to regenerate is suppressed.
- Great risk of developing myalgia, accompanied by edema, muscle pain and weakness, up to muscular dystrophy.
- There may be progress in the development of existing active liver diseases.
- Disorders of the vestibular apparatus, starting with worsening of sleep and increased fatigue and ending with speech disorders.
Last generation statins
The first tested and clinically tested statins were released in the late 80s of the last century. These are drugs such as lovastatin (the first American equivalent), pravastatin and simvastatin, obtained as a result of the fermentation of fungal derivatives. Fluvastatin, cerivastatin and atorvastatin (derivatives of the second and third generation) that replaced them have already been obtained on the basis of synthetic raw materials - these are the latest generation of statins.
The fourth generation inhibitors have not yet found their use yet, some of them are now at the stage of clinical trials. Thus, the list of statin drugs in the near future may be expanded.
Russian doctors work mainly with familiar and proven first-generation statins, while in the world the number one drug in this area is atorvastatin (liprimar). According to reviews, this statin to reduce cholesterol allows you to reach the "target" level of lipids in the shortest possible time.
The interaction of statins with other drugs
Occasionally, statins are used in combination with other drugs that help lower lipid levels to achieve a faster and more significant effect. This dual, and in some cases, triple therapy helps to quickly achieve satisfactory control over cholesterol. However, at the same time increases the risk of "side" of diseases, in the first place, myopathy.
Therefore, this practice can be applied only if there are really good reasons for this. It requires a detailed explanation to the patient of the need to strictly follow the prescriptions of the doctor in order to avoid negative consequences. Such vital indications for enhanced treatment of lipid-lowering drugs may be, for example, coronary heart disease.
In the case of the appointment of any other drugs in the period of taking statins, the interaction of these drugs should be considered in each case individually.
It should be remembered that the question of the appointment of statins in no case can not be solved independently. In each case, it requires a serious assessment of the risk of side effects against the background of the available vital indications for this therapy. And if the doctor believes that the potential harm may exceed the benefits, then the patient should not take statins, even if they belong to the last generation.