Bad cholesterol (also known as LDL-cholesterol) in your blood can increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Statins reduce your health risk by lowering your bad cholesterol.
Most of the statins are available as a generic form, which means they cost less and work as well as brand-name medications. Some of the statins available as generics include:
- Atorvastatin (generic for Lipitor®)
- Lovastatin (generic for Mevacor®)
- Pravastatin (generic for Pravachol®)
- Simvastatin (generic for Zocor®)
Discuss with your provider whether a statin is the right medication for you. Statins are especially important if you have had a heart attack or stroke before, have diabetes, or if your bad cholesterol (LDL) level is above 190. If you are already taking a statin, talk to your provider to make sure you are taking the right amount of the right medication.
Some people do have side effects when taking statins, but these do not happen very often and do not usually cause harm. Some people have muscle pains or weakness, but those symptoms can be addressed with a switch to a different statin or just the passage of time. Some people may see their blood sugars rise when taking statins, but this can be helped by improvements in diet, exercise and sometimes, another medication. Cardiologists, pharmacists and professional physician groups believe the good effects of statins far outweigh the risk of these side effects, but you should discuss the risks and benefits with your provider.
To find out how much you can expect to pay for your medications, call customer service to check your pharmacy benefits. The number is listed on the back of your member ID card.