ANCHOR LEAD: SHOULD STATINS BE SOLD WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Statins are a class of medications so effective at reducing cholesterol that some health care providers think they should be sold over the counter, but the FDA has recently decided not to allow such sale. Rick Lange, chief of clinical cardiology at Johns Hopkins, supports the decision.
LANGE: There are risks associated with statins. Not only are there risks associated with the particular medication, but in polypharmacy as well. That is, when people take over the counter medications, and they’re taking other medications, either over the counter or prescribed, and that poses a risk. :13
Another concern is liver problems.
LANGE: It occurs in about two to three percent of the population, and that may be considered to be a small percentage but when you have millions of people taking the medication, it ends up being a substantial problem. I’m of the opinion that they ought to be administered under the direction of a physician, and that liver tests need to be monitored, and that’s not the case when they’re used over the counter. :17
So if you need a statin, see your physician for both prescription and monitoring. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.