Statin Answers

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Alcohol and Statins

Alcohol in moderation has been associated with increases in high density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol). Statins are great at lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol) but not so good at raising HDL. Researchers looked at whether statin users who drink in moderation experienced in any additional benefit. As expected, it was found that alcohol use improved the overall cholesterol profile, but the authors of the study concluded that "the clinical implication has to be established." A separate study showed the moderate alcohol consumption did not diminish the effectiveness of lovastatin in men who had undergone bypass surgery. This is not a license to drink. Some people cannot handle alcohol and it may interfere with other drugs, so ask your doctor. Blood tests should be conducted regularly while you take statins (at least once a year) to look for any liver damage caused by the statin alone or in combination with alcohol.

Physiologists and doctors used to think that moderate alcohol consumption (five to seven drinks a week) might offer some protection from heart attack and stroke. Research has shown that blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in such moderate drinkers are lower than in heavy drinker and people who don't drink. CRP might be a marker (might be) for risk of heart disease. (We hate to use so many caveats, but the scientists aren't totally sure.) Heavy alcohol use seems to cause patients to forget to take their medicines, but this is not a special case for statins. A large study published in 2019 found that no amount of alcohol produced an overall health benefit.

Also, be aware of possible interactions between the acid reflux medicine Zantac and alcohol with statins.

Statins have also been found to lower the risk of 'decompensation" in patients with hepatitis-related cirrhosis.

There is also interest in using statins to treat alcohol-related cirrhosis.

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Statin Answers: Straight Facts About Cholesterol Drugs

Learn about the side effects and benefits of statin drugs that millions of people take to control their cholesterol. Statin Answers presents scientifically grounded, yet easy-to-understand facts about these drugs. Read all sides of the ongoing debate within the medical community debate about who should take these medications and whether the costs exceed the benefits.

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