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Discharge Instructions: Taking Statins

Your doctor prescribed a statin medication for you. Statins lower your cholesterol level. They help prevent the buildup of a fatty material called plaque in your blood vessels and reduce the risk of a heart attack.

The name of your statin is  


Medication Guidelines

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Take this medication only as directed. Regular dosing helps to control cholesterol. It will take several weeks to reach your goal.

  • If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember—unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, just wait and take your next dose at the normal time. Don’t take a double dose.

  • Take this medication at the same time every day.

  • Use birth control while taking this medication. Talk to your doctor about which form of contraception is best for you.

  • Before any procedure, notify your doctor, dentist, and any other healthcare providers that you are taking a statin drug.

  • Use sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater), wear protective clothing, and avoid excessive sun exposure. Statin drugs may increase your sensitivity to the sun.

  • Keep scheduled appointments with your doctor to monitor blood cholesterol levels, effectiveness of medications, and side effects.

  • Don’t stop taking this medication abruptly. Your cholesterol level could rise again quickly (this is called rebound).

Lifestyle Changes

  • Follow a low-fat diet. Ask your doctor for menus and other diet information.

  • Start an exercise program as directed by your doctor.

  • Break the smoking habit. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or cramping

  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

  • Vision problems

  • Yellowing of your eyes or skin (jaundice)

  • Dark-colored urine

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medication unless your doctor tells you to. Mild side effects include the following:

  • Dizziness

  • Blurred vision

  • Headaches

  • Upset stomach, cramping, gas, or heartburn

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Skin rash and itching


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