The most common connection between statins and aspirin is that they are used to prevent heart problems. Statins belong to a group of prescription medications that are used to lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol levels. Aspirin is an over-the-counter medication that is used in low doses to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Statins and aspirin have been recommended by doctors to be used together for several years, particularly for patients who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease or having a heart attack or stroke. A patient is deemed at risk based on tests, medical history, and family history.
Available only by prescription, statins are recommended when a patient has high bad cholesterol levels. The statins work to block the bad cholesterol from entering the bloodstream. Once the bad cholesterol is blocked, good cholesterol levels begin to increase. Research has shown that statins can also benefit blood vessels by making them stable, which reduces the odds of a vessel rupturing.
Aspirin has proved to be beneficial in reducing strokes and heart attacks. Platelets in the blood are responsible for clot formation. Heart attacks and strokes are most commonly caused by clots that form in blood vessels, preventing blood flow. In low doses, aspirin can be used as a preventative medication because it makes platelets less likely to stick together and form a clot.
Statins and aspirin each have potential side effects. Although many patients do not notice side effects, there are some undesirable effects that have been reported. The two medications are not known to interaction with each other.
Side effects of statins include muscle aches, mild insomnia, and constipation. The side effects of aspirin include ringing of the ears, nausea, and fatigue. Generally, these side effects subside over time, particularly with low doses.
If at any time the side effects experienced with statins and aspirin worsen or do not subside, consult a doctor. Immediate medical care is necessary if an allergic reaction occurs or if chest pains accompany any other side effects, such as feeling flushed or experiencing any numbness. Signs of an allergic reaction include rash and difficulty breathing.
Combining statins and aspirin is common when patients are at risk for developing serious heart problems. People who have already developed heart disease and diabetics and those who are predisposed should discuss treatment options and risks versus benefits with doctors. High levels of bad cholesterol are dangerous, but combining a risk of heart disease with a risk of heart attack and stroke makes the situation nearly disastrous.