Statins: NHS says if you forget to take your dose ‘do not take an extra one’ to make it up

This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins

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The health body says if you accidentally take too many statin tablets, more than your usual daily dose, contact a doctor or pharmacist for advice or call NHS 111. It says statins come as tablets that are taken once a day, and for some types of statin it does not matter what time of day you take it, as long as you stick to the same time. High cholesterol is said to account for seven percent of deaths in England, according to the UK Government.

The NHS says: “Some types of statin should be taken in the evening. Check with your doctor whether there’s a particular time of day you should take your statin.”

It states: “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.”

Heart UK says: “Statins are the most widely used medicine to lower cholesterol and they have been around for a long time, but there have been a lot of news stories about them which can be confusing.

“Statins have been around for over 30 years and have been prescribed to millions of people in the UK. They should only be prescribed when there is a real clinical need. Stopping taking them can lead to serious problems.”

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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.

Nonetheless, there are some potential side effects. The NHS says other side effects can vary between different statins, but side effects can include a headache, dizziness, feeling sick, muscle pain, and feeling unusually tired or physically weak.

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 health body 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.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says a research study suggested in very rare cases statins may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“However statins are among the safest and the most studied medications available today,” the BHF suggests.

The BHF says: “Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any other medications. Taking certain medicines together may affect how well they work.

“If you’re taking simvastatin or atorvastatin, avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice as they can increase your risk of side effects.”

The charity adds: “If you take another type of statin, limit your intake of grapefruit juice to very small quantities or you may want to avoid it all together.”

The BHF says: “Statins target the liver cells where cholesterol is made. Before you start taking statins, you’ll have a blood test to check how well your liver works.

“Your doctor may request that you have a follow-up blood test a few months later. If your liver is affected, your doctor may want to reduce your dose or change your statin to another kind of medication that lowers your cholesterol.”

It says there are five types of statin available on prescription in the UK. They include atorvastatin, fluvastatin pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin.

The NHS recommends maintaining cholesterol levels below 5mmol/L. In the UK, however, three out of five adults have a total cholesterol of 5mmol/L or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7mmol/L, which can be a risk factor in heart disease.

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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