Cholesterol drugs: Why keep taking them if my cholesterol levels are normal?

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Cholesterol drugs: Why keep taking them if my cholesterol levels are normal?

Question

A year ago, my doctor put me on a statin medication to help lower my cholesterol. My cholesterol levels are now normal. So why do I have to keep taking the medication?

Millie
Canada

Answer

Your cholesterol levels have decreased as a result of the effect of your statin medication. If you stop taking your medication, your cholesterol levels will likely increase again. Most people need to stay on statin drugs indefinitely.

Some people who make a very dramatic change in their diet or lose a lot of weight may be able to stop taking their statin medication. But this depends on the reason for treatment and an individual's other risk factors.

Statins have many beneficial effects in addition to lowering cholesterol. In some people, such as those who've had a heart attack, statin use is beneficial even if their baseline cholesterol is within normal range.

Last Updated: 03/10/2005
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