All drugs have side effects, and cholesterol-lowering drugs are no exception. Although many side effects are more of a nuisance than anything else, some can be serious.
Statins, for example, may increase the risk of muscle-tissue damage, and there’s a rare risk of liver injury. Taking statins can also boost blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes (although the benefit is greater than the risk, Dr. Gotto says). Taking certain antibiotics, immune-suppressing agents, antiviral medicines, antifungal medications, or other cholesterol drugs along with statins can boost the risk of serious side effects.
Common cholesterol-drug side effects include nausea, stomach pain, constipation, or diarrhea; drowsiness; and muscle aches, weakness, or facial flushing. Talk with your doctor about switching to a different drug if you experience side effects.