This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins
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If not, you could be missing some important information that your doctor may not have the time to inform you about. While generally well tolerated, some people might experience side effects. When first taking statins, such as simvastatin for example, it can take a few months before side effects appear. The NHS pointed out that less than one in 1,000 people taking simvastatin “may have a serious side effect”.
One particular concerning side effect is the development of a skin rash that appears on the palms of the hands.
This skin rash will look like “pink-red blotches” that may also appear on the soles of the feet.
Should this occur on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet, the NHS advise to “stop taking” your medication.
You must call your doctor as soon as possible, who will be able to adjust your medication dosage or change your statin.
There are five types of statins:
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol)
- Pravastatin (Lipostat)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
- Simvastatin (Zocor).
Other serious side effects you need to be aware of include muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps.
“These can be signs of muscle breakdown and kidney damage,” the national health service warned.
You must notify your doctor immediately if you are experiencing such side effects.
Simvastatin may also lead to jaundice, which is where the skin takes on a yellowish hue.
Furthermore, the whites of the eyes might turn yellow and stools produced could be pale in colouring.
As this can be a sign of liver problems, this too warrants medical notification.
This stands true for severe stomach pain, shortness of breath, and unexplained weight loss.
To clarify, unexplained weight loss is when you are dropping the pounds without a change in diet or lifestyle.
Even if you do not experience any troubling side effects of simvastatin, you need to be careful of the medication interacting with other substances.
For instance, it is important to avoid drinking grapefruit juice while you’re taking simvastatin.
The medication may also have unwanted interactions with warfarin that stops blood from clotting.
Simvastatin should also not be taken with St John’s wort, a herbal remedy taken for depression.
St John’s wort reduces the amount of simvastatin in the bloodstream, causing it to be less effective.
Too much cholesterol left in the bloodstream is a recipe for health complications.
For example, high cholesterol can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.
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