With widespread use of cholesterol-lowering statins, managing potential interactions with other drugs is a must, as highlighted in a recent statement from the American Heart Association.
Published in Circulation, this statement provided recommendations for the management of drug interactions with statins, which has become a growing concern among heart patients.
Over the past few decades, statins have become widely used in people with and without heart disease to help lower cholesterol and prevent life-threatening heart events. The problem is that most heart patients are also taking other drugs, many of which have positive and/or negative interactions with statins. For example, when statins are taken in combination with other drugs, it can increase likelihood of muscle pain—the most common side effect associated with statin use. Certain drug combinations can also increase risk of bleeding and other potentially serious complications. However, combining statins with other drugs can also have beneficial effects, like reducing risk for blood clots.
So in their recent statement, experts from the American Heart Association list all known interactions between common heart drugs and statins, based on previous research. They also include recommendations for which combinations of drugs may be useful or considered safe, and which should be avoided. The goal was to raise awareness for this important issue and provide clear recommendations that providers can implement in their day-to-day practice.
Ultimately, authors conclude that interactions between statins and other heart medications are often unavoidable. The key, however, is ensuring that patients and providers are aware of these effects and manage them appropriately. Thus, when patients are taking statins, it’s essential that their medications are reviewed at each and every visit. By routinely updating medication lists, providers are able to catch all potential interactions as early as possible and make adjustments when necessary.