My Doctor Said To Take The Highest Recommended Dose Of A Cholesterol Med Although My Cholesterol Is Low. Why?

Question: My doctor advises me to go on the highest recommended dose of a cholesterol medication although my cholesterol levels are already quite low. Is this advisable?

Answer: So, your doc says, "I want you to take the highest dose of this medicine." And you think, "Hmmm, that's going to cost me more," and it probably will.

On the other hand, the evidence is that the higher the dose of cholesterol medicine you take, the greater your change in either your good or bad cholesterol -- which is the goal of therapy -- and the greater the reduction in risk.

So, there's evidence that those high doses are beneficial. They also contribute in a very small number of patients to the increase, some increase risk in the adverse or undesirable side effects of these medicines.

So, more cost and maybe a few more side effects versus a greater risk reduction.

It's up to you and the doctor, actually, to discuss which of these factors is most important to you, and make a decision based on that.

But there's clear evidence that the higher doses work better, at least in terms of reduction in cardiac risk and the risk of a heart attack or the risk of needing bypass surgery or an angioplasty procedure.

Next: Is It Safe To Take Cholesterol-Lowering Medications For More Than Five Years? What About 10 Or 20 Years?


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