Much of what we hear about popular statin medications such as lovastatin has little to do with the side effects. Nevertheless, the story of lovastatin side effects is a story that needs to be told.
Lovastatin is marketed under the name Mevacor, and is one of a number of statin medications that includes well recognized brand names such as Crestor and Lipitor. Mevacor when taken daily can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) by as much as 42 percent, with Crestor and Lipitor claiming to better that number by a full 20 percent. While remarkably effective at lowering bad cholesterol they have little if any positive impact on HDL (good cholesterol levels).
The mechanism that allows these drugs to lower bad cholesterol so drastically has to do with interfering with the liver enzyme HMG-CoA reductase. By blocking this enzyme the liver is no longer about to produce cholesterol. While in theory this seems like a very safe and effective way to reduce blood cholesterol levels there seems to be a fly in the ointment that was exposed way back in the summer of 2001. Until that time it was clear that statin medications produced a long list of nuisance side effects such as fatigue, headache, nausea, gas, diarrhea, muscle pain, and occasional memory loss but none that doctors felt were serious enough to offset the benefits of lovastatin. On this date research came to light linking the statin medication Baycol to a serious muscle and kidney condition known as rhabdomyolysis.
Ultimately 31 deaths were attributed to Baycol with the number of cases of rhabdomyolysis running into the thousand. To date there have been over 3000 lawsuits settled related to Baycol related injuries.
While lovastatin side effects may not rival those of Baycol these drugs do work in a similar fashion, as do all statin medications.
Let’s look at what the official Lovastatin web site has to say about Lovastatin side effects:
-Lovastatin occasionally causes myopathy (muscle disease) manifests as muscle pain, tenderness or weakness-myopathy sometimes takes the form of rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) with or without acute renal (kidney) failure.-
-The drug should be used with caution in patients who consume substantial quantities of alcohol and/or have a past history of liver disease.-
Are there a natural alternatives to Lovastatin? Lovastatin side effects have become a major concern in recent years leading many natural health minded people to search for safe and effective alternatives. This search has lead them to a handful of natural cholesterol reduction supplements which have shown to be very effective in both lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising good cholesterol (HDL). They also seem to do something that statin medications don’t, and that is to lower dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides.