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What Are the Concerns of Statins for Women?

By J. Gonzalez
Updated May 17, 2024
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Medications known as statins are among the most commonly prescribed medications in use. Statin drugs are commonly prescribed for patients with high cholesterol, and have been used to lessen the risk of cardiac troubles in patients with various forms of heart disease. While sometimes medications are necessary for treatment of this condition, side effects are a risk for anyone ingesting a drug; women may experience different side effects or reactions than men do. Some potential side effects of prescribing statins for women are the risk of developing digestive upsets, muscle pain and weakness, diabetes, and kidney failure, just to name a few.

When doctors prescribe statins for women, stomach upset and discomfort sometimes occur. Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gas, and bloating are all common among women taking statin medication. If one experiences stomach discomfort while taking a statin medication, eating a small snack or meal before the dosage is taken can help to lessen the uncomfortable feeling caused by taking the medication. Eating heavy foods, or foods that contain a large amount of grease before taking medications can also aid in the feelings of digestive discomfort.

Muscle pain and feelings of weakness can also be felt in a patient when a doctor has prescribed statins for women. Studies have shown that when taking a statin medication, about 32 percent of people experienced some degree of muscle pain and weakness. In more serious cases that are often seen in patients taking a higher dose of statins, this muscle weakness developed into rhabdomyolysis, which is a life threatening condition. Aside from death, rhabdomyolysis can also cause kidney failure, and the risk of the patient falling into a coma.

Statins for women can also cause a slight increase in the risk of developing diabetes. When taking these medications, ones risk of developing diabetes increased by about nine percent, compared to the risk of those that do not take a statin medication. Although this risk is low, diabetes can lead to other health concerns such as an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke, which in turn can lead to various other health complications.

A doctor who is prescribing statins for women should warn them about the possibility of acute kidney failure. Kidney failure may be reversible, but acute kidney failure — which can be caused by taking statins — requires emergency treatment; otherwise the condition can prove to be fatal. Since there are good reasons for a woman to consume statins, one should always be sure to speak with a medical professional to weigh the pros and cons of taking any prescription medication.

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