Statins side effects: The three peculiar skin symptoms which may be caused by the drug

Statins side effects: The three peculiar skin symptoms which may be caused by the drug

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Statins lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, which is often referred to as “bad cholesterol”, and they reduce the production of it inside the liver. The drug has also been known to cause changes on a person’s skin.

Statin use could cause flushing, or lead to acne, noted WebMD.

The Mayo Clinic added that hives could develop – a type of rash, otherwise known as urticaria.

Hives may be skin-coloured, reddish on light skin, or purplish on darker skin tones.

They can take on a round, oval, or worm-shaped appearance that can range from the size of a pea to as large as a dinner plate.

In addition, hives may be mildly or severely itchy.

One study published in the National Library of Health looked at unusual skin symptoms caused by statins.

A 65-year-old woman with severe hypercholesterolemia, who developed generalised erythematous cutaneous lesions with pruritus was investigated.

The skin symptoms resembled lichen planus, months after starting treatment with simvastatin.

The symptoms disappeared on withdrawal of simvastatin and reappeared within three months upon rechallenge with rosuvastatin.

Hypercholesterolemia refers to high cholesterol with cutaneous lesions being skin lesions are areas of skin that look different from the surrounding area.

They are often bumps or patches.

Another study looked at the case of a 70-year-old man with chronic vesiculobullous and pustular annular lesions on distal arms, legs, hands, and feet for two years.

Multiple biopsies at different times showed a spongiotic and lichenoid hypersensitivity reaction resembling contact dermatitis, purpuric drug eruption, and pustular folliculitis.

The eruption began when simvastatin was started, improved when it was stopped, recurred with rechallenge, and cleared when simvastatin was discontinued.

The study concluded: “A high level of suspicion for an unexplained cutaneous eruption in an older individual on statins is important to identification of the disorder and discontinuation of the offending medication.”

Other side effects from statin use include:

  • Muscle pain and damage
  • Liver damage
  • Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes
  • Neurological side effects
  • Diarrhoea.

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