New Patient Tool: Statin Side Effects

Statins are the gold standard for managing dyslipidemia in patients with elevated cardiovascular risk. The benefits of statins in primary and secondary prevention is among the most studied in modern medicine.

While their safety has been well documented, statin intolerance continues to be a major concern, resulting in non-adherence or discontinuation of therapy. An estimated 50% of patients with coronary heart disease discontinue statin therapy after one year, placing them at increased risk of acute cardiovascular (CV) events including heart attack and stroke. 1 

Statin intolerance occurs when a person can no longer take a statin, either because of a symptom or side effect or for safety concerns related to elevated liver or muscle enzymes in the blood. The most common presentation of statin intolerance is generalized muscle aches, pains, weakness, or cramps commonly referred to as myalgia. 

Managing Statin Intolerance

Health care providers can manage statin intolerance and CV risk reduction in a number of ways:

  1. Verifying that myalgia is truly a symptom of statin intolerance versus other causes
  2. Switching statins
  3. Reducing statin dose and/or intermittent dosing
  4. Prescribing non-statin therapies that lower LDL-cholesterol and reduce CV risks.

Patient-Centered Communication

An important component of improving medication adherence is patient-centered communication and shared-decision making. Tools and resources providing current and accurate information regarding statin intolerance are needed to frame patient/clinician conversations and decisions around statin intolerance.  

PCNA’s new tool, Statin Medicine Side Effects – What You Need to Know, will help your patients with medication adherence and improved outcomes–even when they cannot continue taking their statin due to a symptom or side effect. This tool is designed to reduce patientsā€™ unease and increase their understanding as you work together to reduce their LDL.

Fact Sheet: Statin Medicine Side Effects – What You Need to Know

This two-sided sheet describes:

  • Statins
  • Side effects
  • Who is at risk for side effects
  • How providers and patients will work together to address side effects

This two-sided tool is available in English and can be downloaded or ordered in sets of 25 sheets. PCNA members can order hard copies at no charge. Get this tool and other cholesterol patient education tools and handouts here.

References

  1. Toth PP, Patti AM, Giglio RV, Nikolic D, Castellino G, Rizzo M, Banach M. Management of Statin Intolerance in 2018: Still More Questions Than Answers, Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2018; 18(3): 157-173.

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