Statin Answers

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Intermittent dosing of statins as an alternative regimen

Statins are almost always prescribed for once-a-day ingestion. Experiments with every-other-day regimens proved impractical. No extended-release formulation has been created to allow once-a-month regimens, either.

Intermittent dosing, however, may be feasbible, if not optimal. The idea is that the patient takes the pills every day for a few days, then abstain from pills for a couple weeks. Or some other schedule determined by the doctor. A retrospective stufy of Cleveland Clinic patients found intermittent schedules could have some benefit in reducing LDL cholesterol levels in patients who cannot tolerate statins on a regular schedule.

There was a slight decline in overall mortality but not enough to be statistically significant. The patients who used the intermittent pattern did not experience as big a drop in LCL-C as patients on traditional regimens.

Another study found a once-a-week dosing schedule of rosuvastatin in patients with a history of muscle pain found 80 percent of subjects were able to stay on the medicine, and most got some reduction in LDL-C levels.

Intermittent dosing appears to be a good middle way for patients with statin intolerance. The very bad side effects don’t show up until after some period of time (weeks or months),

Also called "pulsatile" treatment – because a graph of statin concentration over time looks like a pulse, intermittent treatment needs more investiigation before doctors will feel comfortable prescribing it more widely.

However, a study published in the American College of Cardiology. In 2016 might make doctors think twice about recommending an intermittent regimen. Researchers found that patients with hypertension and high cholesterol had a substantially greater risk of a fatal stroke if they didn't follow their drug regimen for cholesterol and blood pressure.

This type of finding gives fuel to the argument in favor of the polypill.

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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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