A statin drug can be a lifesaver if you're at risk of heart disease, but some people who take the cholesterol-lowering drugs, up to 20 percent by some estimates, have to stop because of muscle pain, the most common side effect.
Nearly 30 million people filled a statin prescription in 2005, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Statins include popular drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor, and Zocor.
Now a new study suggests that an over-the-counter dietary supplement sold at pharmacies and health-food stores may be a workable alternative for people who have statin-related muscle pain.
It seems that when combined with diet and lifestyle changes, red yeast rice supplements can lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels by more than 20 percent without a substantial risk of muscle pain (also known as myalgia), according to a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
"For some people, especially if they've had muscle aching, taking red yeast rice and making lifestyle changes can work as well as a statin," says lead study author David Becker, M.D., of Chestnut Hill Cardiology in Pennsylvania. Read the entire article.
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