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cholesterol meds

Feb 22, 2002

Doctor I am on combivir/viramue/viread. I am 41,diabetic on pills. Total fasting chelesterol 196,HDL 46, LDL 121,triglycerides `144. I am watching what I am eating and I am exercising. No blood pressure, no family history with CD.The doctor mentioned drugs to lower my cholesterol. At this point do I need to be on those drugs (statins)?. I hear they have bad side effects. thaNKS

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

From what you've described (I'll have to assume that you don't smoke)-- your risk of cardiac disease is low-average. As such, I tend to be pretty conservative in starting persons like you on statin therapy. This is because of the risk of side effects (low; generally very well tolerated), risk of drug-drug interactions (low on your current regimen) and cost. I have been suggesting to patients with risk factors for heart disease (in your case, diabetes) that a low-cost; low-risk method that has been proven to reduce risk is to take low dose aspirin (81 mg daily).

In the meanwhile, it should be said that many behavioral things likely reduce cardiac risk as much as cholesterol reduction (even as much as Americans like to take a pill to solve the problem)-- things like modest exercise, lower dietary fat, blood pressure control all have effects to lower heart disease risk.

Hope this is helpful, BY

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