For a long time, doctors have used to prescribe statins to lower heart attack risk and cholesterol levels. For most of the people, statins are effective and cheap. They also have the advantage that many rigorous clinical trials have shown that statins have just minimal side effects.
However, up to 25 percent of patients who take statins have experienced some muscle pain. Others patients complain about sleep problems or a hazy memory, even if these side effects are not documented in clinical studies.
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved on Thursday, August 27, a powerful new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs. However, this new medication is much expensive and doctors might confront with the dilemma which type of medication they should recommend on their prescription. For those patients with high cholesterol levels who complain that they cannot tolerate statins, they might be prescribed the new drugs at a cost of more than $14,000 a year. This could also potentially add some billions of dollars to the nation's medical bill.
According to doctors, their first responsibility is always to their patients, however it might be difficult for them or their patients to forget the price of drugs, especially when this kind of drugs for lowering cholesterol levels are meant to be taken for a lifetime.
The new medication is approved as a treatment for people with heart disease who cannot control their dangerous cholesterol called LDL by other means. Doctors have declared that they will ensure to work with patients in order to continue to prescribe statins to those who can safely take them. Most of the statins cost only pennies a day. However, for those patients who complain that the side effects are too severe to tolerate the new medication comes as an alternative.
According to Dr. Stephen L. Kopecky, who directs a program for statin-intolerant patients at Mayo Clinic, the middle-age and older adults may blame statins for pains, aches and memory losses that might have some different causes. The patients who use the Internet might get misinformed with some horror stories about the dangers of statins.
According to Dr. Kopecky, despite what clinical trials have shown, some statin intolerance is real. But the problem here is that in most of the cases there is no objective test that can distinguish real from imagined statin intolerance.