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Risks associated with statins

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Statins are quickly becoming some of the most widely used medications in the world.

Proven to lower "bad" cholesterol - or LDL - and decrease the risk of heart attacks, approximately 20 million people in the U.S. now take statins.

However, statins have also been associated with serious side effects such as headaches, muscle pain, weakness, liver problems, increased risk of developing diabetes, heart complications and diarrhea.

And now, a new study from Oregon State University has found that many people have been forced to stop taking statins because they interact negatively with other medications.
Some popular brand name drugs that are in the statin class include Crestor, Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor and Lescol.

In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration announced a number of label changes to statin class drugs to alert patients to potential side effects. Women who are pregnant are also cautioned to avoid using statins because of the risk of adverse effects on their unborn child.

The FDA has not removed statins from the market because it believes the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks. But Matt Ito, president of the National Lipid Association, which funded the new study, is advising patients to talk with their doctor about understanding the issues surrounding statins' side effects.