A class of drugs called statins lowers blood cholesterol levels by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Lipid regulators, which are primarily statin drugs, are the most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S., according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
Last month the FDA acknowledged that statins may play a role in elevated blood sugar, as well as memory and cognition problems. It determined that the increased risk of diabetes was sufficient to warrant a warning on statin labels.
Although cholesterol is essential to normal cellular function, it also contributes to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition in which cholesterol-containing plaques form within arteries. They can become blood clots and cause angina (chest pain) and heart attacks. If the clot occurs in the brain, the result is a stroke.
Statins are prescribed to prevent and treat atherosclerosis. The most common statin brands are Liptor, Lescol, Mevacor, Crestor, Socor and Pravacahol, among others. They can save lives, but, as always with prescription medicine, are not without risk.
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