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Statins side effects: Drug could cause inflammation of the liver – symptoms to spot

Leading cardiologist says there are concerns over statins

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Statins have saved countless lives by reducing the production of cholesterol inside the liver. High cholesterol levels raise your risk of heart disease so it’s vital to lower high levels. Statins are a vital weapon in this fight but are also synonymous with increasing a number of other health conditions.

But stains have been known to increase inflammation.

Inflammation of the liver, known as hepatitis, causes flu-like symptoms.

When there is inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, symptoms can include stomach pain.

One study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, further looked at statin-induced autoimmune hepatitis.

“Drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis is one potential cause of autoimmune hepatitis accompanied by development of autoantibodies in predisposed patients,” noted the study.

The research looked at previous literature and found a case study of a 52-year-old Hispanic female and had started taking atorvastatin.

Four weeks later, laboratory work was done and showed elevation in serum aminotransferase levels.

Despite stopping atorvastatin, liver function tests continued to worsen..

The research concluded: “Use of the Naranjo adverse drug reaction probability scale indicated a possible (score of 2) temporal and causal relationship between the patient’s autoimmune hepatitis and atorvastatin.”

The patient was initiated on prednisone 60 mg daily by mouth, and she had clinical and laboratory improvement in two weeks.

In another study published in the National Library of Medicine, statins and pancreatitis were further analysed.

The data found that pancreatitis can occur at both high and low doses, with 12 cases developing pancreatitis at less than the dose equivalent of simvastatin 20 mg daily.

“Statin-induced pancreatitis can occur at any time but seems to be very uncommon early on and more likely to occur after many months of therapy,” concluded the study.

Other lesser-known side effects of statins include:

  • Being sick
  • Memory problems
  • Hair loss
  • Pins and needles
  • Skin problems, such as acne or an itchy red rash.

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