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Some medications may control cholesterol better with higher doses
10.19.2012It's been established that unhealthy cholesterol levels can result in coronary complications that lead to the type of treatment often administered by emergency department physicians, such as heart attack and stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 15 percent of the U.S. population have high cholesterol, and are at greater risk for experiencing an episode which could require urgent medical care.
Noting that healthier eating habits and increased exercise should be the first resort to lowering cholesterol levels, a study appearing in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy states that certain types of statins - medications designed to knock cholesterol levels down by inhibiting enzymes and decreasing liver's cholesterol production - may be helpful if taken in higher doses than they're normally prescribed. However, the same cannot be said for all cholesterol-lowering medications.
"What we looked at here was whether adding other drugs or therapies to the use of statins could further reduce problems, and in most cases the research indicates that they didn't help," said lead author Matt Ito, pharmacy practice professor at Oregon State University (OSU). "What did help was increasing the statin dose to higher levels."
Ito went on to say that higher amounts of statin-intake did not seem to increase instances of side effects resulting from statins. In theory, the best scenario for taking atorvastatin and rosuvastatin, the only two statins the researchers consider suitable for use, would be a decrease of low-density cholesterol to 100 mg/dL, and 70 mg/dL, or at least a 50 percent reduction in cholesterol levels for individuals who have already contracted a heart disease or diabetes. In addition, Ito and his associates advise against implementing fibrates along with statins for high cholesterol and triglycerides, stating that the "risks outweigh the benefits, especially in women."
Not all scientists on board with increased statin use
After noting that statins are the most-often prescribed medication in the world, author Joseph Mercola recently published an article on his website denouncing the use of the same treatments used in the OSU study. The alternative physician, whose medical advice is delivered with an anti-corporate slant, points to a pair of studies indicating that statin use can, in fact, increase levels of coronary plaque, and that statins have been linked to higher coronary artery calcification in diabetics.
Categories: Health and Wellness
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