Statin Medications No Longer Require Routine Lab Monitoring

As seen in Consultant Connection August 2012 Issue
Submitted by Kathleen Duncan RPh.

In the past, patients have had liver function tests performed prior to starting a statin and then every 6 to 12 months thereafter. New labeling does not require routine monitoring during treatment. Recent studies suggest that any increase in liver enzymes is transient. The incidence of liver failure in patients taking a statin is essentially the same as patients not on a statin.

New recommendations for monitoring are to check liver function tests prior to initiation of a statin and then if patient experiences symptoms. Such as, unexplained nausea, abdominal pain, or jaundice. In fact, Statins are ok to take if a patient has chronic stable liver disease. The Statin may act to decrease liver enzymes by decreasing infl ammation. They should however be avoided in patients with acute liver failure.

Patients may be skeptical of new changes in monitoring given the frequency of lab draws previously but the need for less monitoring will bring a big savings to the patient and the healthcare industry.

Reference: Pharmacist’s Letter May 2012 Vol: 28 No5

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