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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 636-646

Safety of statins

1 Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Vivekanand Institute of Medical Sciences, Kolkata, India
2 Department of Endocrinology, Nagpada Junction, Mumbai, India
3 Department of Medicine, Dr. Yagnik Road, Rajkot, Gujarat, India
4 Astra Zeneca India Ltd., Hebbal, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
Debasish Maji
Department of Medicine, Vivekanand Institute of Medical Sciences, Kolkata
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.113754

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Statins are an established class of drugs with proven efficacy in cardiovascular risk reduction. The concern over statin safety was first raised with the revelation of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis with the use of now withdrawn cerivastatin. Enhanced understanding of the mechanisms behind adverse effects of statins including an insight into the pharmacokinetic properties have minimised fear of statin use among clinicians. Studies reveal that occurrence of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis are rare 1/100000 patient-years. The risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis varies between statins due to varying pharmacokinetic profiles. This explains the differing abilities of statins to adverse effects and drug interaction potentials that precipitate adverse effects. Higher dose of rosuvastatin (80 mg/day) was associated with proteinuria and hematuria while lower doses were devoid of such effects. Awareness of drugs interacting with statins and knowledge of certain combinations such as statin and fibrates together with monitoring of altered creatine kinase activity may greatly minimise associated adverse effects. Statins also asymptomatically raise levels of hepatic transaminases but are not correlated with hepatotoxicity. Statins are safe and well tolerated including more recent potent statins such as, rosuvastatin. The benefits of intensive statin use in cardiovascular risk reduction greatly outweigh risks. The present review discusses underlying causes of statin-associated adverse effects including management in high risk groups.

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