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    4 Things You Should Know Before You Pay for Your Cholesterol Medications

    by Skye Sherman - April 29 , 2019


    Photo Credit: by (JOHNNY) Joao Marcelino, flickr.com
    Photo Credit: by (JOHNNY) Joao Marcelino, flickr.com

    Do you use cholesterol medications? If so, there are some things you need to know. Diet and exercise are an important part of managing cholesterol levels, but for many people, statins are an important next step and added layer of protection.

    There are many upsides to cholesterol medications such as statins, but there are some downsides too, and it’s worth looking at the pros and cons before you keep paying for your statins. It’s also important to consider how much you pay for statins and figure out if there may be an option available for you to pay less but still get the same treatment you need for your health.

    According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over a quarter of Americans over 40 are taking statins. It only makes sense: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. But statins--drugs that can lower cholesterol levels--patients may be able to prevent dying of cholesterol related issues.

    In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular cholesterol drugs like Crestor and the best brands (and generic options!) for cholesterol medications. Statins lower your cholesterol, which is important in helping to prevent potentially fatal cardiovascular events like a heart attack or stroke.

    Before you pay for your cholesterol medications, there are a few things you should know. In this article, we’ll explore some important facts about cholesterol medications like statins and examine their side effects, as well as taking a look forward at what’s new in the world of cholesterol medications and some possible alternatives to statins.

    1. Surprising finds you should know before you take statins: pros and cons of statins

    Before you take statins at the recommendation of your healthcare professional, it’s important to take some time to consider the pros and cons. Sure, statins are potentially life saving and may help prevent a fatal cardiovascular episode such as a heart attack or stroke. But they do not come without some potential downsides. And that’s why some people who aren’t sure whether statins are necessary hesitate to add them to their daily routine.

    An article titled Weighing the Pros and Cons of Statins, published in The New York Times, reads, “Unlike medications prescribed to treat a symptom or illness, statins are often given to healthy people to prevent a potentially devastating health problem, and the drug must be taken indefinitely to do the most good. Nearly half of Americans with cholesterol levels that put them at high risk of a heart attack or stroke are not taking medication to reduce that risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under current guidelines, among people 60 and older, 87 percent of men and 54 percent of women not already taking a statin would be considered eligible for treatment.”

    In other words, there is a huge potential demographic for people who could use statins, and they can offer some major benefits. The author of the article also states, “The longer someone is on statin therapy, the greater the reduction in the risk of a cardiovascular event. The drug works primarily by lowering blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol that can otherwise collect inside arteries that feed the heart and brain. It also helps to stabilize existing plaque, lowering the chances that a chunk will break loose and trigger a heart attack or stroke. There are also several different statins available that vary in potency and side effects, and all leading brands are now available as inexpensive generics.”

    In other words, in addition to their prescribed purpose, statins can also protect your heart and provide anti-inflammatory effects, even for the healthy. There’s also a positive correlation suggesting that statins may be able to reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s.

    One of the biggest upsides of statins is that they can help protect the health of people who have previously had a heart attack or stroke. People in these categories are even more at risk than most for a cardiovascular catastrophe. However, others are at risk too. But it’s hard for people to determine how much risk is too much, and what level of risk they are willing to tolerate. Some people don’t want to take a daily statin if they don’t have a history of cardiovascular episodes but only a potential future risk.

    Cardiovascular risk depends on a number of factors, including genetics, gender and race, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and age. Using an online calculator developed by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, you can actually determine your own risk levels.

    But low risk or high risk, why wouldn’t someone want to take a daily statin if it could help prevent a fatal episode like a heart attack or stroke? Because there are downsides to taking statins, too. For example, statins might be able to affect muscle metabolism, causing both pain and damage to the muscles.

    Some other potential cons of statins, according to the FDA, are “generally non-serious and reversible cognitive side effects (memory loss, confusion, etc.) and reports of increased blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.” Other patients have reported liver problems and liver damage, but these cases are very rare.

    So, at the end of the day, taking a statin is a decision that each patient needs to make under the supervision and advice of their doctor. A qualified healthcare professional will be able to go over the possible risks and benefits of taking a statin.

    2. How to treat high cholesterol: popular drugs, best brands, and side effects

    You’ve probably seen the commercials: there are a number of popular cholesterol drugs. Even the cereal brand Cheerios purports to help lower a person’s cholesterol!

    In this table, we provide a list of popular name brand and generic statins as well as where the brand is available from, whether there’s a generic equivalent, and the lowest price per unit. Here at Canadian Pharmacy World, we provide our customers with high quality products and great prices, as we've been doing since 2006. We are committed to providing drug consumers access to their medications conveniently and affordably and providing a service that patients can trust.

    Appendix Table 1 – Popular Statin Drug List, Brand & Generic Options

    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld

    Appendix Table 2 – Popular Statin Drugs and their Common Side Effects

    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld

    In the next table, we provide a list of some of the most popular statins and their potential side effects. Common side effects of statins tend to be mild, but they are still important to consider before taking statins.

    Crestor is perhaps the best known of the statins. However, before you take it, you should know how it works, its upsides and downsides, and how effective it is. For example, according to Drugs.com, “People of Asian descent may be more sensitive to Crestor’s effects.” In addition, “Peak levels are seen within three to five hours of oral administration; however, it may take one to two weeks of regular dosing before improvements in your cholesterol level are seen, and up to four weeks before the maximal cholesterol-lowering effects of Crestor are apparent” and you should not take two doses of Crestor within 12 hours of each other.

    All of these facts are important to be aware of before you begin taking Crestor or any other statins for your high cholesterol.

    Photo Credit: buy Crestor from @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: buy Crestor from @CANPharmaWorld

    Photo Credit: buy Lipitor from @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: buy Lipitor from @CANPharmaWorld

    Photo Credit: buy Tricor from @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: buy Tricor from @CANPharmaWorld

    Photo Credit: buy Zetia from @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: buy Zetia from @CANPharmaWorld

    3. What’s new in the world of cholesterol for 2019 and 2020? Cannabis, eggs, and more

    Because so many Americans and people around the world are affected by high cholesterol, more and more research comes out each year to help prevent diseases and fatal occurrences related to high cholesterol. In addition, more treatment options become available each year along with the new knowledge and information that emerges.

    For example, cancer and high cholesterol may be linked. According to Best Health, “A number of studies have shown a link between high levels of cholesterol and higher risk of cancer, and there has been evidence that people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs have a reduced risk of cancer, as well. And a recent genetic study from the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that there may be a genetic component to the link. The study shows that a certain gene, called ABCA1, affects how cells process cholesterol – cholesterol that is a vital component of how they function. When this gene ceases to work in cancer cells, they no longer die off as they should and thus contribute to tumour formation.” Of course, doctors aren’t going to prescribe statins for cancer prevention quite yet, but it’s a good sign and the more we know about getting rid of cancer, the better.

    There’s more good news, too. According to Harvard Medical School, there are new, potent cholesterol-lowering drugs available for people on the market. These are called PCSK9 inhibitors, and they are an entirely new category of medications. An article reads, “For people at high risk, PCSK9 inhibitors may prevent heart attacks and save lives. But gaining access to these pricey drugs remains a challenge.”

    On our website, we sell both Praluent and Repatha, which are PCSK9 inhibitors. Both are available in injection form to help treat cholesterol issues.

    Researchers also discovered a link between egg consumption and cholesterol levels. A new study reported that adults who ate more eggs--which are a high source of cholesterol and a very common food in the average American diet--had a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Other foods that are high in cholesterol include processed meats, dairy products that are high in fat, and red meat. While these items can be healthy for some diets, those most at risk of heart disease should be cautious.

    Some also wonder if cannabis may have an effect on a person’s cholesterol levels. As cannabis becomes increasingly legalized in the United States, Canada, and around the world, we are beginning to see more of its benefits. There seem to be links between cannabis and lower cholesterol, but the idea still requires further research.

    4. Alternatives to statins for lowering your cholesterol?

    What if you desire not to take statins or are one of the patients who does not seem to respond to statins? What if you want to avoid the potential common side effects of statins? Are there alternative drugs available that patients can opt to use instead? It seems the answer may be yes. Of course, diet and exercise play a major part, but some patients need to be on a cholesterol medication in addition to the other treatment routes. Recent research suggests that one additional option is PCSK9 inhibitors, but the high cost of these drugs may put them out of reach for many patients who would benefit from them.

    Recent articles in a medical journal put forth the use of bempedoic acid as a way to fight heart disease. A recent study suggested that patients using bempedoic acid lowered their average level of LDL cholesterol by a relatively significant amount when compared with the control group who received a placebo drug.

    According to Healthline, “Bempedoic acid works by blocking the production of ATP citrate lyase, one of the key enzymes in the production of cholesterol. … By inhibiting this enzyme, the liver produces less cholesterol, thereby lowering cholesterol levels.”

    Could bempedoic acid replace statins? It’s too soon to tell, but the possibilities look promising. Maybe in a few years, the treatment options for high cholesterol will expand beyond statins and consumers and patients will have a choice of which cholesterol drugs they would prefer to use.

    If you have questions about ordering cholesterol medications at a more affordable price and having them delivered right to your door, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We are happy to help.

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