How can I reduce my statins? - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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How can I reduce my statins?

Misstibbs profile image

I would like to try to reduce my statins, I’m currently on Atorvastatin 80 mg after a HA and stent almost 2 years ago. My cholesterol is 3.73 with an LDL of 1.86 has anyone any suggestions.

54 Replies

Hello :-)

I would not reduce them without asking my Doctor first

I was on 80mg for a short while but I had some side effects so I contacted my Doctor who let me drop to 40mg but I would not have done it without asking first

I am sure if you speak to yours and they are happy for you to reduce them they will tell you how and the safest way would be as well as checking with a lower dose your cholesterol stays at a good reading :-) x

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to BeKind28

That’s good advice thanks very much

If you are only on them to reduce Cholesterol, then speak to your GP/Cardiologist to see if they are happy to reduce them.

If they are not just to reduce Cholesterol then you could still have the conversation, but they are less likely to agree!

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Gaz_chops

Thank you Gaz good advice

MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star

The guideline total cholesterol for those with heart disease is 4.0 below. You are only about 5% inside this so I am unclear why you wish to reduce the dose. Speak to your GP but bear in mind statins also reduce irritation often a precursor to plaque formation and stabise any existing plaque.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to MichaelJH

OK that’s very helpful

It is important not to alter anything without consulting you doctor. They need to know in case other problems arise.I assume you are following diet and exercise advice.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to RufusScamp

Thanks for that very sound advice yes diet and exercise in check

The primary reason for prescribing statins is to reduce cholesterol. But they have two other benefits, indeed some experts say these additional benefits are actually MORE important than the cholesterol reduction.

Firstly statins reduce the background inflammation which was often the root cause of a patient's heart disease.

Secondly statins tend to stabilise the plaque that's present in your arteries. The importance of this can be readily appreciated when it's realised that the majority of heart attacks occur in people whose arteries are less than 50% blocked, and conversely there are plenty of people on this forum with arterial blockage well in excess of 90%, but who have never had a heart attack. In other words your risk of dying from atherosclerosis is as much about how stable your plaque is, as about the amount of plaque that you have.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Chappychap

Chappychap that’s good to know and understand and adds some sensible context for any reduction thank you

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Misstibbs

This role of Statins stabilising any plaque that is present along with reducing inflammation is very important.

Statins also improve the function of the inner lining of the blood, the endothelium.

My heart condition is due to endothelial dysfunction. I have been prescribed statins to help prevent a heart attack, even though I have unobstructed coronary arteries.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Milkfairy

Thank you Milkfairy yes much more to consider and clearly need to consult the experts

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Misstibbs

I hope you are able to make an informed, evidence based shared decision, with a healthcare professional, which suits you as an individual.

Petejake profile image
Petejake in reply to Chappychap

The root cause of of background Inflammation is stress and sugar period reduce those especially sugar which you can can control then go down to 40 mg of statins.

Keep in mind doctors stand firm to the concept of “standard of care” so they will not reduce anything in case they are liable for a court case but you don’t need there permission to reduce your statins regardless what the doctor says or you can buy a pills cutter if needed

Also research shows that doubling dosage of statins doesn’t double the reduction in plaque or the stabilising of plaque and there little proof of statins stabilising plaque as many other factors come into the equation.

Statins have many side-effects quite bad ones too especially at 80mg plus which ain’t talked about by the doctors so if you can reduce it to 40 mg which is the best dose for the best results then I would recommend that period

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Petejake

OK Petejake - there’s a lot of sense in what you say, a reduction to 40mg would be my target but safely

I've stopped taking mine. Like you, I have low cholesterol and so have refused them.

HenryB profile image
HenryB in reply to Snoweybm

Ah. Sounds like the lad my wife worked with a few years ago. He was on medication for epilepsy and had gone a few months without a seizure. So he told everyone in the office that he didn’t need the medication and had stopped taking it. Of course he very soon started having seizures.

Snoweybm profile image
Snoweybm in reply to HenryB

Yeh, sounds like a bloke I know down the pub who always has a story...

Unless you’re having side effects what’s the point of doing that? I take 80 mg every day and all it seems to do is reduce my cholesterol. Happy days as far as I’m concerned.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Mentdent

Fair enough thanks Mentdent

I just stopped taking them, gradually feeling so much better. Do your own research though.

OK Sparkey thank you - good luck

NICE has approved a ground breaking cholesterol lowering treatment and nhs will be making it available widely as from October. Contact your gp. Most haven't heard of it which is shocking given it was widely reported. 2 jabs a year. See nice.org.uk/news/article/ni...

Is this the one whereby you have an injection that lasts for months? A bit worrying if you have bad side effects

JennyRx profile image
JennyRx in reply to Jonathan6766

However if your cholesterol can be reduced using statins you won’t be offered the new injection. It’s for those patients who either don’t respond to statins, exetimibe or bempedoic acid. That’s a very particular cohort.

Jonathan6766 profile image
Jonathan6766 in reply to JennyRx

If you've had a HA and you cannot tolerate ssyatins / achiece ldl less than 2 you should be able to get it.

JennyRx profile image
JennyRx in reply to Jonathan6766

The tolerance of statins is the key. This patients seems to be able to tolerate them so doesn’t qualify. There’s also ezetimibe and bempedoic acid to be tried before the injection would be considered. The injection won’t be widely used if NICE guidelines are followed by the medics

kathie659 profile image
kathie659 in reply to JennyRx

I am on repatha for cholesterol. Pill forms have caused painful muscle aches, making it difficult to walk. This med is injected like an epi pen. Im enjoying lower cholesterol rhan I could ever imagine...but my private insurance runs out when i turn 65 and (in U.S) I wont be able to afford it.

Jonathon that sounds like a game changer thanks

I was on 80mg after HA 6 years ago but felt exhausted. Now down to 20mg but take other cholesterol lowering supplements and follow the Dean OrishEsselstyn diet for reversing heart disease. Cholesterol consistently between 3/3.4 so happy with that. 80mg reduces cholesterol by 55% and 20mg 42% so there’s not a huge difference but do your own research.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Mac-beats

Mac - beats I didn’t know those figures so much appreciated thank you

Whereas your readings look to be good, I would only think about reducing any dosage after consulting with my doctor, so my advice to you is to make an appointment ASAP

Hiya. I have just come off 80mg Atarvastatin after lots of worsening side effects and my cholesterol levels actually going up! I am taking a supplement of clean plant sterols ( no fillers) for a month and seeing how that goes. After that I will reconsider statins. People seem to get good results with Rosuvastatin sometimes combined with Ezetimibe which works differently to a statin. Good luck!

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to DunnoY

Thanks Dunno good luck to you too

By following a vegan diet

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to SmokeAKipper

Not everyone would find following a vegan diet much fun 😊Quality of life is important.

TRST profile image
TRST in reply to Milkfairy

I'm sure the animals who are eaten would say their "quality of life" was important too 🤪.(That was a joke, before anyone jumps on me!)

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to TRST

😊

I won’t rule anything out thanks

Mac-beats profile image
Mac-beats in reply to Misstibbs

Hi again Tibbs, do you know about the Ornish\Esselstyn plant based diet? Clinically proven in randomised trials to reduce heart disease and cholesterol. Google the book ‘Undo it’ and make up your own mind, at very least it’s a good read.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Mac-beats

Hi Mac beats that’s worth a look thank you 🙏

Hi..My cardiologist told me statins were not only prescribed for cholesterol reduction but have other effects on the hearts well being..so take medical advice first..🤔

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Dj1962

Yes good point Dj

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Dj1962

Yes good point Dj more to consider thank you

If you’ve had an event like a heart attack then your LDL needs to be below or just 1.8. My lipidologist tends to use that figure to guide dosage This is lower than those who haven’t had an event. And there are other cardioprotective effects of statins as many others have mentioned above.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to JennyRx

Thanks Jenny yes you have to consider it all in the round

I was put on 40mg Atorvastatin automatically after a stroke. Prior to that there was never an issue with my cholesterol level. I was getting side effects of joint pain in my hips and wrist and asked my doctor if I could reduce the dose to 20mg as I knew there were other benefits from statins. She agreed but also said if the joint pain didn't improve she was willing to prescribe other statins. Happy on 20mg so far but don't know yet what difference it's made to my level.

Hi Silvasava it’s worth a mention to my GP, I hope the reduction helps for you

I believe that Statins not only reduce cholesterol but make it less likely that a plaque will detach from your artery wall thus causing another clot. So they are likely to prescribe a higher dose. Before my HA I was on 40mg, but after 80mg of atorvastatin.

A year later, the cardiologist reduced the dose to 40mg. He did this after seeing a further angiogram which showed completely clear coronary arteries.

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to richard_jw

Thanks Richard 👍

I take statins as part of my meds after angina problems 18 months ago. I also take Verapamil, Clopidogrel and have a spray. Very rarely do I need the spray. I had an allergic reaction to the statin Rosuvastin and allergic to Semsatisn. When I got changed to Atorvastin I started to have some allergic reactions but a lot less. Our pharmacist at our surgery then suggested one every second day. After 6 months my cholesterol level continues to come down. 3.5. I was on the lowest dose for all the statins. As others suggested please consult with doc surgery before changing anything yourself. Good luck

Hi Isabella - sounds like it’s worked well for you well done 👍

Hi, it really depends on whether you are having side effects and what your GP and heart consultant say. My readings are the same as yours and we agreed a 6 month trial where I stopped statins due to the leg pains they caused, my readings stayed the same! As a preventative measure I now stake Ezetimibe which is more expensive so less prescribed but cause me no problems, have a frank discussion… good luck 😊

Misstibbs profile image
Misstibbs in reply to Triheart

Thanks Triheart that’s interesting good luck to you also

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