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Question:
When taking a statin drug like Lipitor or Crestor, are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking?

Answer:
Atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and other cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can be affected by taking supplements and can affect your ability to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. Certain herbal supplements, such as St. John's wort, may decrease blood levels of some statin drugs, and when taken with atorvastatin, may actually result in increased cholesterol levels. Certain forms of magnesium may also decrease blood levels of statin drugs -- particularly Crestor. Red yeast rice, which contains a naturally occurring statin, should not be combined with prescription statin drugs without medical supervision.

Berberine should be avoided or used with caution when taking certain statin drugs, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor) and rosuvastatin (Crestor).

While high doses of niacin may help to lower cholesterol, studies show that if you already take a statin drug, adding high-dose niacin does not appear to provide additional benefit and may carry serious risks. Nevertheless, some physicians believe taking niacin in addition to statin medication may be helpful for certain people; however do not try this combination without consulting your physician.

Some fruit juices can also be a problem, particularly grapefruit juice, which impairs the body's normal breakdown of certain statins, allowing them to build up to potentially excessive levels in the blood. Since the effects of grapefruit juice may last as long as 3 days, it should be avoided if you are taking atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev) or simvastatin (Zocor). However, some other statins do not seem to be affected by grapefruit juice, including pravastatin (Pravachol), fluvastatin (Lescol) and rosuvastatin (Crestor). 

Although green tea can help lower cholesterol, it can also decrease absorption of some, but not all, statin drugs. To play it safe, it may be best to take statins at least a couple of hours before consuming a green tea supplement or beverage. 

On the other hand, CoQ10 and fish oil may offer particular benefits to people on statin drugs.

These interactions are explained in the Statin Drugs article, which is part of the extensive Drug Interactions section of our website (where you can look up interaction for other drugs you may be taking), and in other reports (linked to above) on Pinoypharmacy.com.

Also see these related CL Answers:



Is it true that taking a statin drug negates the benefits of taking fish oil supplements? >>

I take ubiquinol to replenish CoQ10 depleted by my statin. I also take curcumin (from turmeric). Since they both manage free radicals, do I need to take the curcumin?  >>

To lower my cholesterol, I am taking a phytosterol supplement. Will taking other supplements, like red yeast rice or fish oil, help lower my cholesterol even further? >>

Can I take cholesterol-lowering statin medication with green tea? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
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This CL Answer initially posted on 11/22/2013. Last updated 8/8/2017.
Pinoypharmacy.com members may submit questions to [email protected]. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 
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