Statins side effects: The toilet sign indicating liver damage – contact a GP ‘immediately’

Statins: How the drug prevents heart attacks and strokes

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The issue with having high cholesterol levels is that the fatty substance can hike your risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s where the medicine steps in. Statins are able to lower the production of the “bad” cholesterol kind in the liver.

Apart from being taken for high cholesterol, statins can be also prescribed to patients with heart disease to prevent any further risks.

The medicine comes as tablets taken once a day, the NHS explains.

The British Heart Foundation reports that statins are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the UK, with around seven to eight million Britons taking them.

However, every medication can trigger unwanted effects that some people may experience and statins are no different.

Some side effects that come with these tables are more serious than others.

One that belongs to this category and is considered “rare” is liver damage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The health portal explains: “Occasionally, statin use could cause an increase in the level of enzymes that signal liver inflammation.

“If the increase is only mild, you can continue to take the drug. 

“Rarely, if the increase is severe, you may need to try a different statin.”

What are the symptoms of liver damage to be aware of when taking statins?

The warning sign that can crop up when you go to the loo is dark-coloured urine.

However, this isn’t the only side effect signalling the condition. Other possible side effects include:

  • Unusual fatigue 
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in your upper abdomen
  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes.

The Mayo Clinic stresses you need to contact your doctor “immediately” when you experience signs like these.

They add that the occurrence of liver problems on statin medication is “rare”.

However, your doctor might order a liver enzyme test before you start the statin treatment in some cases.

You won’t need any extra liver tests unless you start experiencing signs and symptoms of liver problems.

As liver damage is considered to be a “rare” side effect, there is also a list of “common” unwanted effects.

According to the NHS, those include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling unusually tired or physically weak
  • Digestive system problems (constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or farting)
  • Muscle pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Low blood platelet count.

The exact side effects of your medicine will depend on the exact type of statin you’re taking. To see all the possible side effects of your statin medication, read the patient information leaflet that came with your medicine.

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