Recent Blog Articles

Ask the doctor: What are the alternatives to a statin for lowering cholesterol?

Updated: August 01, 2010

Q. I have tried all of the statin drugs to lower my cholesterol, but each one has caused severe muscle pain. Are there any non-statin medications I could try using to lower my cholesterol?

A. Have you tried niacin yet? It is an excellent drug for reducing cardiac risk in almost every way — it lowers harmful LDL cholesterol, raises beneficial HDL, and reduces cardiac complications. One reason it plays second fiddle to statins is that it causes side effects like itching and flushing in many people. These side effects can often be minimized or even eliminated by taking an aspirin before niacin, by gradually building up the dose, or by taking the intermediate-release type called Niaspan, which is available by prescription only.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.