These medications are used in conjunction with a low-cholesterol diet to help reduce your lipid levels and to help reduce the risk of traditional and/or transplant coronary artery disease.
HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors or "statins"
Other Names: Pravachol, Lescol, Zocor, Lipitor, Baycol
Why are these drugs prescribed?
Statins are prescribed, along with a diet low in fat and cholesterol, to reduce your low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides. Both are lipids (fats) in your blood that are related to heart disease. These drugs also may slow the development of transplant coronary artery disease (chronic rejection) since they have anti-inflammatory properties.
When should these drugs be taken?
These drugs are taken once a day, usually in the evening. The prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose. Ask your doctor pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand.
What special instructions should I follow while using this drug?
Do not take more of this drug than your doctor tells you.
Keep all appointments for blood work and check-ups with your doctor. Your doctor will check your lipid profile and liver function tests and may adjust the dose of the drug depending upon the results.
For the best results, follow a low-fat, low cholesterol diet and follow your doctor's guidelines about exercise, weight control, smoking and drinking alcohol while taking this drug.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose.
What side effects can this drug cause? What can I do about them?
Side effects are very rare. If they occur, they may include:
- abdominal discomfort
- stomach cramps
- unusual tiredness (fatigue)
- muscle cramps
- skin rash
Very few people will notice these side effects. If they do occur, it is usually when first starting to take this drug. The medication rarely needs to be discontinued. Take the medication with food, if it upsets your stomach. If these problems continue, contact your doctor.
Elevated liver function blood tests
About 1 to 3 percent of people who take statin drugs develop elevated liver function blood tests. These blood tests should be taken at regular intervals (along with your lipid profile) during therapy. These blood tests can usually detect problems before you are aware of any symptoms.
What storage conditions are necessary for this drug?
Keep the medication in its original container, out of the reach children, and away from moisture, heat or direct sunlight. Do not allow anyone else to take your medication.