This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins
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The Mayo Clinic says pravastatin is used together with a proper diet to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It says along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. “Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.”
The Mayo Clinic says you should check with your doctor immediately if you experience arm, back, or jaw pain.
The same applies if you experience pain in the joints, muscle stiffness or muscle cramps, spasms, tenderness, wasting, or weakness.
The health body notes side effects can vary between different statins, but common side effects can occur throughout the day and also at night.
These include a headache, dizziness, feeling sick, muscle pain, and feeling unusually tired or physically weak.
Others also report digestive system problems. This can include constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or farting.
Two other common side effects are sleep problems and low blood platelet count. Uncommon side effects include skin problems, such as acne or an itchy red rash.
The Mayo Clinic adds statins can occasionally cause muscle inflammation and damage.
The NHS says rare side effects of statins include loss of sensation or tingling in the nerve endings of the hands and feet, which is called peripheral neuropathy.
It suggests: “Speak to your doctor if you have muscle pain, tenderness or weakness that cannot be explained – for example, pain that is not caused by physical work.”
The NHS notes a review of scientific studies into the effectiveness of statins found around one in every 50 people who take the medicine for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.
You usually have to continue taking statins for life because if you stop taking them, your cholesterol will return to a high level within a few weeks.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “If you’re taking simvastatin or atorvastatin, avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice as they can increase your risk of side effects.”
It adds that if you take another type of statin, limit your intake of grapefruit juice to very small quantities or you may want to avoid it altogether.
The charity says lots of people don’t need a strong statin to reduce their cholesterol level.
The BHF explains: “Your GP or cardiologist will find the right statin for you, depending on your medical history and the cholesterol level they want you to aim for.
“If you’re sensitive to one statin, you might not be sensitive to another. You should have a blood test after any change of statin to see how effectively the new medicine is lowering your cholesterol.”
The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you’re taking.
It is run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The purpose of the scheme is to provide an early warning that the safety of a medicine or a medical device may require further investigation.
Side effects reported on Yellow Cards are evaluated, together with additional sources of information such as clinical trial data.
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