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Cholesterol lowering medicines (statins) (Cardiology)

Patient information A-Z


  • Simvastatin
  • Atorvastatin
  • Pravastatin
  • Fluvastatin
  • Rosuvastatin


Statins are used to lower cholesterol in the blood. If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, you are at risk of heart disease or stroke.

Taking your statin

Statins are usually taken at night. Your doctor might change your dose after a blood test to get your blood cholesterol just right. Always follow the instructions on the label about the number of tablets to take.

Important: You must also try to follow a healthy low-fat diet and try to take some exercise.

Problems to watch for

  • Tell your doctor straight away if you:
    • Get muscle pain or weak muscles
    • If you feel generally unwell or if you notice your skin has turned yellow.
  • Statins can make you feel sick or upset your stomach at first but this often stops after a few days. Tell your doctor if it is a problem for you.
  • When you take your statin you might notice side effects such as:
    • a headache
    • sleeping problems
    • a rash
    • pains in your chest
    • unexplained loss of hair
  • Tell your doctor if you have any strange effects from taking your statin.
  • Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take statins.

Other advice

Avoid grapefruit juice if you are on statins as this can increase the risk of side-effects.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151