Drug interactions with statins: Often preventable

Statins can lower heart disease risk dramatically, but certain cautions apply.

Nearly a quarter of all adults over age 40 take medication to treat high cholesterol, and most often, it's a statin drug. However, with such widespread use, especially among people who may have other cardiovascular risk factors, an un-wanted interaction between a statin and another medication can occur. For this reason, the American Heart Association recently issued a statement to help doctors better navigate medication choices for their patients.

What is a drug interaction?

The term "drug interaction" is somewhat misleading. Typically, drugs do not chemically react with each other in the body. Instead, a drug, supplement, or food may affect how long a medication stays in the body, often by stimulating or inhibiting the production of specific enzymes in the liver or intestine (see "The truth about grapefruit juice").

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