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TheGermDoctor, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  17 years as a physician, Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
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I have very high bad cholesterol....what are my alternatives

Resolved Question:

I have very high bad cholesterol....what are my alternatives to taking a statin. My doctor says I could eat grass for the rest of my life and not lower my bad cholesterol as it runs in my family.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  TheGermDoctor replied 6 years ago.

Why did you stop Crestor?

Why are you looking for an alternative to statins?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
because of the documented negative side effects possibly short term and long term of statin drugs.
Expert:  TheGermDoctor replied 6 years ago.
Have you personally had any "negative" side effects?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Expert:  TheGermDoctor replied 6 years ago.


Then my strong advice would be to go back on a statin. Unless you have a side effect- which is actually overall statistically quite uncommon, this is by far the best treatment for high cholesterol.


Yes, a very small number of people will have side effects- in particular muscle toxicity or elevated liver enzymes. But the vast majority tolerate these medications without any side effects at all.

And there are clear proven benefits in studies- protection for heart attack and stroke, improved mortality, and possibly lower rates of pneumonia, sepsis, and even blood clots... This is a medication class that clearly is helpful- For my money almost everyone should be on a statin....


Now if you are not convinced by hard fact and science and want an alternative - well then you are likely making a mistake. but everyone has a right to make foolish decisions. As far as pharmaceutical treatments- niacin or Zetia would be options. Neither have the same proven benefits of statins however.


The best known "alternative" treatment is red yeast rice- this is a supplement that does inhibit cholesterol synthesis similarly to statins- The big problem, like all supplements is they are not regulated, the medication you can buy is not standardized, you never really know if you are taking the right amount of the product, and there have been reports of toxins and other contaminants in these products...


But if that does not dissuade you, caveat emptor...


Good luck.


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Edited by TheGermDoctor on 11/7/2010 at 3:28 AM EST
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