Statins, how to come off safely? - Cholesterol Support

Cholesterol Support
8,533 members2,439 posts

Statins, how to come off safely?

Ruby-Ruby
Ruby-Ruby

Does anyone know what the recommended safe way is to wean off statins? What sort of timescale? It's my understanding that it could be dangerous to stop abruptly. Anything that I've found online just recommends weaning off but gives no further detail.

Thanks

19 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi can I ask your reasons for going on them to start with and your reason for deciding to stop them, also have you discussed this with your GP, what were you on and the dosage.

Hidden
Hidden

I just stopped taking them. I have tried three different ones . I couldn't cope with the pain I was getting with them. Each time I just stopped.

kasibarndoor
kasibarndoor
in reply to Hidden

Just stop there is no need to reduce dosage

sos007
sos007Ambassador

I have written extensively about my experience in coming off statins. You can read all of my postings here:

healthunlocked.com/user/sos007

sos007
sos007Ambassador

I see some people advocate to 'just stop them'. There is no medication that should be stopped cold turkey as there will be side-effects in doing so. It is always best to wean off slowly.

I weaned off of a 30 mg daily dose of Crestor over a 10 month period. I reduced by 5 mg every 6 weeks and then had a blood test to see how my body was reacting each time.

It is important to monitor bloodwork closely during the process and AFTER the process. There is a 'rebound effect' for many medications when you first stop. The condition they were suppressing tends to spring back more severely initially when you stop. It is important to know this so you don't panic and restart. If you monitor your blood-work after stopping, every 2 months, you'll notice your cholesterol levels starting to drop again, assuming you have made a dietary and lifestyle change on a permanent basis.

If you were prescribed statins, your doctor believes that you either have or are on the path to getting cardiovascular disease. This means that you need to permanently change your lifestyle. This means a daily vigorous walk for at least 30 minutes, and ideally up to 60 minutes. It also means the virtual elimination of simple carbohydrates and sugars, and a substantial reduction in the consumption of animal proteins and an increase consumption of plant proteins such as beans, chick peas and lentils.

It means more leafy greens like spinach and arugula and more whole fruits, not fruit juice. It means the elimination of fried foods.

As noted, more can be learned from my previous posts:

healthunlocked.com/user/sos007

Hi, many thanks for the replies. It's actually my husband who is on statins and thinking of coming off them. He will be discussing it with the cardiologist when he sees him next month.

Why he was put on them would be a different discussion I think as it's a long complicated story and we haven't yet had full clarification from doctors etc as to diagnosis/ cause etc.

His cholesterol readings were in the "normal" range prior to statins and subsequent investigations have shown no blockages and a calcium arterial score of 12.

The statin he's on is Atorvastatin 40mg and he's been on it for 11 months.

It is my understanding from what I've read online that as the body starts to return to normal when you stop statins, if it does so too quickly there might be an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. I can't remember at the moment by what mechanism but will see if I can find the articles I read again. Nowhere can I find out what period of time is recommended to wean off statins. I understand about lifestyle changes to reduce cardiovascular risk.

I was hoping to get an idea of the sort of timescale for weaning off and thought that there would be at least a guide that doctors would recommend.

@sos007, I wasn't expecting it to be as long as ten months, did you decide on that length of time or was that doctor recommendation?

sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Ruby-Ruby

My cardiologist did not want me to come off of statins. I was experiencing side-effects (my left shoulder seized up and I couldn't move my rotator cuff) and I had made a major lifestyle change, plus had been reading medical studies on a daily basis and determined that I didn't need statins due to my committed lifestyle change.

My original dose was 30 mg of Crestor. I did not approach the issue with a specific timeline in mind. Instead my approach was to test my bloodwork every 6 weeks to see if my lifestyle change was improving my lipid profile - triglycerides, LDL-C, HDL-C, non-HDL etc...If my blood work improved, I would cut the dosage by 5 mg since my pills were 5 mg. each in size.

Unrelated to this, and during the weaning period, I experienced of couple of minor illnesses that required antibiotics which delayed the weaning. This is because blood test results for cholesterol are distorted when taking antibiotics.

I began in January of 2016 and had completely weaned and took my final statin pill in mid-October 2016.

My first blood test 6 weeks after my final dose, showed a major rebound in elevated cholesterol levels which prompted my family doctor to call me at home when he saw the results. When he questioned what I was doing, I explained that it was likely the 'rebound effect' of coming off the statins. He wasn't aware of the 'rebound effect' which I had learned about when reading medical journals and studies.

Since my various ratios when comparing LDL to overall TC and, LDL relative to HDL were all excellent, he agreed with my decision but suggested that I should retest in 2 months to confirm the results.

At that follow up blood test, my cholesterol levels began to fall again, but not to the levels that I had while on statins. I stuck to my new lifestyle program and each subsequent test my cholesterol levels have continued to fall. My current levels are nearly optimal had I been a 'normal' person without bypass surgery in 2015. However, since I have had bypass surgery in my early 50s, my cardiologist wants to bring my LDL-C levels as low as possible.

My own research says that Apo-B which is a proxy measure for the number of LDL particles (LDL-P) instead of the volume of LDL which is the LDL-C value, measured by doctors, is more indicative of cardiovascular risk. In the meantime, I also discovered several other blood tests that provide a more complete picture of cardiovascular health and risk of heart attack or stroke. After taking these tests several times and noting both absolute levels and improvement from one test to the next, I determined that my risk for heart attack and stroke were low and with my lifestyle change, I didn't see the logic in taking statins which have the potential for major side-effects.

I have changed my periodic blood testing to once every 3 months and am due for my test next week. I will post my blood work results in a new posting for everybody to see.

If you have not yet read all of my previous posts, I encourage you to read them:

healthunlocked.com/user/sos007

By the way, the elevated risk of heart attack and stroke when weaning from statins is due to increased platelet 'stickiness'. Have your husband take a blood test and check his fibrinogen level, as well as the homocysteine level. An 80 mg daily dose of aspirin, will help in reducing this stickiness factor as well as some supplements.

"Platelet aggregation inhibitors include aspirin, curcumin (found in turmeric), green tea, ginkgo, and vitamins C and E. But to lower elevated fibrinogen levels directly, look to vitamin A (which helps to break down fibrinogen), beta carotene, and fish or olive oil." blog.wellnessfx.com/2013/09...

Homocysteine increases fibrinogen levels and you can reduce homocysteine by using vitamin B6 and Folic Acid.

Good luck.

Please read the information on this link:

healthline.com/health/high-...

Hi Bala, thanks for the link. Unless I've missed something, it only tells you to talk to your doctor so the two of you can work out a plan. It doesn't say how long it should take to wean off.

I just stopped (Crestor 10mg), no problems. Also, my doctor said I could. It did take time for the side effects to go away completely, about six months. Possibly my doctor expects me to go back on Crestor or another statin, but I will never take a statin again.

I had two TIAs in a week back in March 2017. I was 62 then. Healthy lifestyle, diet, adequate exercise. Scan confirmed tiny blood clot, luckily no deficits. Cholesterol was 6.4 mmol. Started on clopidogrel and atorvastatin 40mg. Statin turned me into a piece of vegetable, flat on my back all day felling ill with muscle and joint aches, headache and fearing that my heart was about to pack in cos it was getting weaker. Forty days later I reduced dosage to 20mg, a week later GP reduced it 10mg and another week later stroke consultant (first follow up) stopped it. However, days later she backtracked (for fear of not following NICE guidelines?) and persuaded me to resume. Cholesterol reading at this point was 3.8 mmol. GP switched me onto Pravastatin 10mg and the problems worsened! Then the stroke consultant agreed to let me stop altogether following my email response. Within a week, I was feeling better and stronger. A month later first blood test confirmed cholesterol shot back up to 6 mmol, and GP and I panicked big time! Prescribed me rosuvstatin 5mg, but later I decided I had enough of this emotional rollercoaster. It's now day 32 since I stopped this statin poison nonsense, and I won't be going back. Done tons of research (medical journals/databases, websites, YouTube, books etc). The main cause is blood viscosity or thick or sticky blood (clopidogrel or aspirin is the saviour). Cholesterol is one of many factors, but there's no consensus among experts re 'safe' level. My view is to bring it down to below 8 mmol by natural means (plant based diet, exercise, etc), but not below 3 mmol. Stroke doctors couldn't confirm where blood clot originated, but checked me out for AF, nothing. The answer is likely to be inflammation in the arteries/body, not cholesterol as widely believed by the mainstream medical community. Clots and thick blood can be fatal! The staff nurse could hardly draw blood out of me, I was that dehydrated! Always drink more water (Dr Kensey, The blood thinner cure, 2001).

Thank you for your story, this is the first time I read "blood viscosity", I looked at blood velocity and blood viscosity during my research. In my case statin got the cholesterol down to 2.8, due to my research and side effect I stopped statin.

If my GP write statin prescription, I just take it and keep it at home!!!!

Try and avoid any stress.

Enjoy life with food and drinks intake control and regular exercise if you can.

maithrees
maithrees
in reply to celloting

take fish oil (preferably fish body oil) capsules 1000g is also help to thin blood as well as antioxidant. it reduce Tgy a lot. Also , I read that using cayenne pepper tea also a natural blood thinner as Aspirin also has lot of side effects on your gut.

1000g is a lot!

I stopped abruptly, had been on 40mg of avorstatin for 10 years, I was going to ramp down but the side effects were so bad i was worried about being permanently crippled (which i still am) i did not have any side effects except to feel almost immediately better in all ways. I will never take any form of this poison ever again.

sos007
sos007Ambassador

I have successfully weaned off of statins and ALL medications through dietary and lifestyle modification.

Read my posts:

healthunlocked.com/choleste...

healthunlocked.com/choleste...

You can also see other posts on the same subject listed here:

healthunlocked.com/user/sos007

sos007
sos007Ambassador

I had open heart surgery in March 2015 followed by 2 angioplasty surgeries that implanted 4 stents in total.

I took statins as recommended until December 2015 and then I couldn't handle the muscle pain.

January of 2016 I completed changed my diet and began to exercise more rigorously.

I was on 30 mg of Crestor and cut it by 5 mg every 6 weeks and then did a blood test to monitor LDL cholesterol value. Since my dietary and lifestyle change resulted in weight loss, the blood test showed continuous improvement. By end of October 2016 I went from 5 mg to zero of the statin. The first blood test showed a spike in LDL cholesterol which is called the 'rebound effect'. This is temporary - the next blood test 6 weeks later showed the LDL continue to migrate into the normal category. Over that time from January to October my weight normalized as I lost 40 lbs.

I have been off all medications since that time, I even stopped baby aspirin in the spring of 2019.

I follow the Mediterranean Diet rigorously and exercise daily. I also take some supplements the most important of which are:

fish oil, curcumin, pycnogenol and liposomal vitamin C. I also add one teaspoon of Ceylon Cinnamon daily in my breakfast tea which has anti-inflammatory properties.

If you are disciplined as I am, you may also be able to come off of statins.

You can read my pinned post to the right side of this page:

'How I Conquered Heart-Disease and I What I Have Learned in the Process'.

Watch these two videos:

Gut Reaction Part 1 – 20 minute Australian TV magazine show

Gut Reaction Part 2 – 27 minutes

How the food we eat affects our immune system, MS, autism, hormones and mental health among other things.

Good luck.

You may also like...