Worried about statin side affects
People who are worried about statins because of possible side effects may experience what's called the "nocebo effect" when they try taking the drugs. This is the opposite of the placebo effect; with the nocebo effect, people who have negative expectations about medicine or a treatment experience harmful symptoms they otherwise wouldn't have.
Researchers recruited a large group of patients, average age 66, who had previously stopped statins after two weeks because of side effects. For one month each, they took 20 milligrams of atorvastatin (Lipitor), a placebo, or no pill. They then continued this monthly rotation for a year without knowing which pill was which.
The participants recorded their daily symptoms. Symptom scores ranged from zero (no symptoms) to 100 (extremely severe). People whose symptoms became too intense could discontinue the pill for that month. After a year, the researchers found that 90% of the symptoms people recorded when taking statins were also present when they took the placebo.
Once the group was shown these results and saw their nocebo response, half felt confident to restart statins and were able to tolerate them. This suggests that many people who have stopped taking a statin due to side effects might have been experiencing the "nocebo effect" and be able to resume statin treatment. The results were published Nov. 15, 2020, in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a term used by health professionals; ‘cardiac’ refers to the heart and ‘rehabilitation’ means to restore health.
The main goals of cardiac rehabilitation are:
- To prevent you suffering further cardiovascular events by helping you take control and self-manage your condition
- To improve your quality of life
Cardiac rehabilitation services provide you and your family with education, information, physical activity and social support with help from health professionals – including dieticians, cardiac nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, cardiologists, psychologists and others.
Healthy Hearts is a group information session that is part of your treatment and recovery following a heart event, often referred to as Cardiac Rehabilitation.
Groups are reasonably small with 15-20 participants and delivered in a community venue e.g. local hall.
This service will help you with:
- What has happened and why;
- Understanding your risk factors;
- Taking control of your future heart health;
- Managing physical activity;
- Making sense of cholesterol and blood pressure numbers;
- Medications and symptom management;
- Eating for heart health;
- Where to go for further support or information;
- Receiving up-to-date information/advice on your condition/treatment & medications;
- Your questions answered by specialists;
- Receiving practical guidelines for physical activity and eating for heart health;
- Listen to, or share with others who have faced or are facing similar issues;
- An opportunity for your family/whānau or support person to be involved in your care and recovery;
- Coming to terms with what has happened, and gaining the confidence to move forward.
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