Is it safe to stay on atorvastatin whilst trying to conceive?

I'm in my early 30s and just starting to think about starting a family. I have been taking 40mg of atorvastatin for the past 6 years due to FH. I have spoken to various medical professionals and the GP has advised I remain on the statins until I get pregnant rather than come off them straight away. He advised the benefits out weigh the low risk. My cholesterol was 10.1 before starting statins but is now down to 5.7. I have done a bit of searching online but there seems to be little info on this subject. Except from a few links to early birth defects. I wondered if anyone had any more info or experience with this?

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  • This is from the HEART UK website

    heartuk.org.uk/files/upload...

    It recommends stopping statins for 3 months before you want to conceive (not that pregnancies are always that planned!). I have absolutely no experience, being well past it, but if I was in your situation, I would stop them if you had a choice.

    In the great scheme of things the months of trying for and being pregnant are not that long. There may be others here who have first hand experience.

  • Statins deplete coenzymeQ10 - a vital component of mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the energy furnaces of cells and anyone on statins should be supplementing. However, the thought of chemically interfering with the growing foetus via the placenta appalls me. Anyone contemplating bringing new life into the world should consume nothing but wholesome food and drink - no chemicals whatsoever - remember thalidomide and foetal alcohol syndrome?

    Years ago people with the commonest form FH lived normal lifespans, but their diets were a lot different than todays i.e. they were not afraid of saturated fat.

    Frank Cooper(who wrote the French Paradox)

    amazon.co.uk/Cholesterol-Fr...

    and posts here, has FH, does not take statins and is a healthy sixty three(?) year old.

  • Hi, I am 31 and have just had my first baby, my cholesterol level is usually around 9. My doctor advised me to stop taking statins as soon as I came off the pill (2 years before I actually started trying to conceive). We did try alternatives, think one was called Cholestid? They just work in your gut and don't enter the blood stream but they had no effect on my cholesterol level. My baby girl is 5 weeks old now and I am not planning on taking any cholesterol medication until we have had a second child. I am fit and healthy so have no other risk factors, I feel a few years break from the medication won't do me any harm! Better to be safe than sorry when becoming pregnant. Wishing you all the best for exciting times ahead xx

  • Hello,

    Found this on the web.

    Statins and Pregnancy:

    It can be dangerous to take statins when pregnant. Statin medication are classified as a pregnancy Category X medication, which means that statins have been shown to cause problems to the fetus in animal studies or in pregnant women who have mistakenly taken the medicine. Because of the risks associated with taking statins during pregnancy, women should not take the medication if they are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.

    Please take care and good luck.

  • You must stop taking your statin about 2 months before you start trying to conceive. I accidentally got pregnant whilst taking statins and made the difficult decision not to continue with the pregnancy. I went on to have 2 children after making sure I had stopped my medication prior to trying to get pregnant and stayed off the statins until after I had stopped breast feeding. This relatively small amount of time off medication should have no detrimental effect to you. I have subsequently been told by my children's consultant (both kids have FH) that I made the right decision to terminate the pregancy as babies born to women who take statins have terrible birth defects (similar to babies born with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome). In addition there is a link to premature births and low maternal cholesterol.

  • Hi, thanks all for your answers. I have stopped taking them. i suppose this is where GPs do not have enough in depth knowledge about the dangers.

    Thanks

  • I am really pleased that we were able to help you on this vital issue. GP's should be aware of this when they prescribe statins for women of child bearing age. Good luck with your baby plans.

    As a post script, no trial of statins in pregnancy could ever be carried out as it would be totally and absolutely unethical.

  • It just goes to show how poor the full research picture is on Statins. How can there NOT be information for child bearing women, especially those with FH, on statins, the affects on their health and the health of their unborn children? It is appalling that you had to go to this forum for advice when your own GP has no idea!! Perhaps it would be a good idea to get in touch with a paediatrician before you conceive and get a more indepth picture of your health and future pregnancy before conception. That way you will have a much fuller picture before you finally have a child. All the best to you and your future baby!!

  • Just an update on this for anyone else reading this - i found this article on rxlist.com which says that cholesterol lowering medications don't work as effectively during pregnancy anyway:

    Pregnancy Category X

    LIPITOR is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant. Serum cholesterol and triglycerides increase during normal pregnancy. Lipid lowering drugs offer no benefit during pregnancy because cholesterol and cholesterol derivatives are needed for normal fetal development. Atherosclerosis [thickening of the artery walls] is a chronic process, and discontinuation of lipid-lowering drugs during pregnancy should have little impact on long-term outcomes of primary hypercholesterolemia therapy.

    There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of atorvastatin use during pregnancy. There have been rare reports of congenital anomalies following intrauterine exposure to statins. In a review of about 100 prospectively followed pregnancies in women exposed to other statins, the incidences of congenital anomalies, spontaneous abortions, and fetal deaths/stillbirths did not exceed the rate expected in the general population. However, this study was only able to exclude a three-to-four-fold increased risk of congenital anomalies over background incidence. In 89% of these cases, drug treatment started before pregnancy and stopped during the first trimester when pregnancy was identified.

    Atorvastatin crosses the rat placenta and reaches a level in fetal liver equivalent to that of maternal plasma. Atorvastatin was not teratogenic in rats at doses up to 300 mg/kg/day or in rabbits at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day. These doses resulted in multiples of about 30 times (rat) or 20 times (rabbit) the human exposure based on surface area (mg/m²) [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, Pregnancy].

    In a study in rats given 20, 100, or 225 mg/kg/day, from gestation day 7 through to lactation day 21 (weaning), there was decreased pup survival at birth, neonate, weaning, and maturity in pups of mothers dosed with 225 mg/kg/day. Body weight was decreased on days 4 and 21 in pups of mothers dosed at 100 mg/kg/day; pup body weight was decreased at birth and at days 4, 21, and 91 at 225 mg/kg/day. Pup development was delayed (rotorod performance at 100 mg/kg/day and acoustic startle at 225 mg/kg/day; pinnae detachment and eye-opening at 225 mg/kg/day). These doses correspond to 6 times (100 mg/kg) and 22 times (225 mg/kg) the human AUC at 80 mg/day.

    Statins may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. LIPITOR should be administered to women of childbearing potential only when such patients are highly unlikely to conceive and have been informed of the potential hazards. If the woman becomes pregnant while taking LIPITOR, it should be discontinued immediately and the patient advised again as to the potential hazards to the fetus and the lack of known clinical benefit with continued use during pregnancy.

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