November 27, 2023 Healthy Living

Pharmacy Fact or Fiction: Debunking Statin Myths for a Healthier Heart

As a pharmacist, I always ask my patients if they have any questions or concerns about their medications.

Pharmacists help you understand why a medication has been prescribed to you, how it works, and make sure it’s working its best for you. We are some of the most accessible health care professionals and can even relay important feedback about your medications to your provider between appointments.

One class of medications patients often ask about at  ConnectRx pharmacy are statins.

Statins are a class of medications prescribed to protect against heart attack or stroke, and work by lowering your total cholesterol. They are some of the most prescribed medications in the United States and the world. So naturally, we have many patients on statin medications at ConnectRx which explains why we receive so many questions.

In fact, even if you haven’t been prescribed a statin you probably know some by name because of television ads or anecdotal comments from family and friends who take them. Common examples of statins include:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor®)
  • Fluvastatin (Lescol XL®)
  • Lovastatin (Altoprev®)
  • Pitavastatin (Livalo®)
  • Pravastatin, rosuvastatin (Crestor®)
  • Simvastatin (Zocor®)

Typically, as a medication becomes more widely prescribed, conflicting opinions about its use tends to become more prevalent. Over the years, I’ve heard several recurring questions about how statins work, their effectiveness, and potential side effects. Let’s review four of the most common statin myths and misconceptions to find out what’s fact and what’s fiction.

FICTION: “I don’t have high cholesterol, so I don’t need to take this medication.”

FACT: Statins can be prescribed for many reasons, including lowering cholesterol and protecting against cardiovascular disease, like heart attack or stroke.

People who have diabetes may not have high cholesterol, but statins are still recommended by the American Diabetes Association for heart health. Some factors for increased risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular (ASCVD) disease include age, sex, race, smoking status, diabetes, and hypertension. Depending on a calculated risk score for developing ASCVD, some people may be started on a statin.

Some general resources for heart health/overall health can be found on:

FICTION: “I don’t feel any different while taking this medication, so I should stop taking it.”

FACT: Just like you can’t feel when you have high cholesterol, you also can’t feel statins lowering your cholesterol.

The benefit of these medications is seen when bloodwork is taken and a reduction in “bad” cholesterol is noted. Taking a statin at the right dose can lower this cholesterol up to 50% to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in the long run. Similarly, we all too often don’t feel any warning before a heart attack or stroke is underway. But taking a statin can lower your risk and help protect you from cardiovascular disease if you have diabetes.

FICTION: “I heard from a friend that I will get bad muscle pain from taking a statin.”

FACT: While muscle pain can be a side effect of statin medications, it occurs less commonly than assumed. Only around 5% of patients experience this effect.

The location of this pain is typically in larger muscles such as the thigh muscles.Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you experience this side effect, they can help find the right statin for you so you can work towards your health goals without any discomfort.

FICTION: “I heard on television that this medication causes dementia.”

FACT: Statins can help prevent certain types of dementia from developing.

Vascular dementia can be caused by high cholesterol or strokes, and statins have been demonstrated to reduce strokes from occurring. In very rare cases, statins have caused some patients temporary confusion which can be immediately reversed once they switch to the right statin for them.

Now that we’ve debunked several of the most common misconceptions surrounding statins, I hope you’re reassured about their safety and efficacy.

If you’ve been prescribed a statin, it’s important to your heart health.

Talk to your pharmacist or health care provider if you have questions about your statin. We can help you determine if it’s working well for you or help you find an alternative, if needed.

ConnectRx pharmacy is powered by CDPHP and offers cost-saving drug programs, like CDPHP RX for Less, as well as free home delivery of prescription medications and over-the-counter products within the Capital Region. Our knowledgeable and friendly pharmacists are accessible by phone, text, email, or in-person at one of our retail locations. Learn more at

Emily Welter, PharmaD.
About the Author

Emily Welter is a pharmacist with ConnectRx pharmacy, powered by CDPHP. Emily received her PharmD. from the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy in 2019 and has since been a pharmacy manager with CVS and staff pharmacist with ConnectRx. Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with family and is passionate about health and fitness.

One Response to “Pharmacy Fact or Fiction: Debunking Statin Myths for a Healthier Heart”

  1. Mary Martin

    The Daily Dose is a wonderful idea.This is my first time reading the column and I am impressed with its layout and concise but thorough information. Thank you.

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