Statins are the most common type of medicines to lower cholesterol. They block a liver
enzyme that makes cholesterol. This helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that can be
sent into the blood. This allows more LDL "bad" cholesterol to be removed from the
blood. Statins have other benefits, too. Studies have shown that people who use statins,
even if their cholesterol level is fine, have a reduced risk for heart attack, stroke,
chest pain, and death from a heart condition.
Statins have a few side effects. In rare cases, they can damage the liver and muscles.
It's important to take only recommended doses. Statins can also make people drowsy,
constipated, or nauseated. These side effects are not common. They are taken as a single
daily dose. Statins are one of the most effective medicines to prevent and treat heart
Nitrates or nitroglycerin is used to prevent or treat chest pain
caused by CAD. When you exercise, this can increase the workload on the heart muscle.
Narrowed or blocked arteries prevent the heart muscle from getting the oxygen and
blood that it needs during exercise. Nitrates relax the coronary arteries. They also
relax other arteries and veins. This improves blood flow. It reduces the workload on
the heart. These medicines can be taken as a pill, an under-the-tongue tablet, or
spray. Or they may be absorbed through a patch on the skin. Some of the side effects
include a headache, dizziness, light-headedness, flushing, or a drop in blood
pressure. You should not take nitrates if any of these apply to you:
- You have had a heart attack that affects the right pumping
- You have a thickened left ventricle with blocked blood flow
to the body (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
- You use medicines for erectile dysfunction
Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about any
of these medicines.