Heart Failure and Statin Drugs

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • It's become more common for statin drugs to be prescribed in the treatment of heart failure. However, the type of heart failure you have may determine the effectiveness of the medication.


    Types of Heart Failure


    Systolic heart failure is when the heart does not contract forcefully enough to pump blood out of the aorta and into circulation.


    Diastolic heart failure is when the heart does not relax properly to allow an adequate volume of blood to fill the left ventricle.


    Your cardiologist would do a careful examination to determine which form of heart failure you are facing.


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    Statin Drug Treatment and Potential Complications


    Statins have anti-inflammatory properties which make them a useful tool in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. However, research from Northeastern University in Boston shows diastolic heart failure does not improve with statin drug use and may actually be harmful.


    The problem with statin medications is that they interfere with the production of coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is directly involved with the production of cellular energy. Review the post CoQ10 - Should you be using this supplement? for a clear explanation of Coenzyme Q10's role. Interfering with the production of coenzyme Q10 can in itself contribute to heart failure. Heart function relies on cellular energy to fuel the muscle of the heart.


    Researchers at Northeastern University and Massachusetts General Hospital reviewed the medical records of 136 patients with heart failure. Out of the 136 patients, about three-quarters were diagnosed with diastolic heart failure and 75 were using statin drugs (mostly Lipitor).


    Study results found those with diastolic heart failure taking a stain drug had almost half as much exercise tolerance compared to individuals with diastolic heart failure not taking a statin drug. The research did show slight benefits in patients with systolic heart failure taking statin drugs.


    Don't Forget Coenzyme Q10


    Heart failure is basically a lack of energy in the heart muscles. Depending on your condition statins may or may not be beneficial. However, don't forget about coenzyme Q10. If you are prescribed a statin drug it's essential you also supplement coenzyme Q10. Taking a statin drug without coenzyme Q10 can lead to a coenzyme Q10 deficiency. A deficiency of coenzyme Q10 leads to reduced cellular energy levels, including the muscle cells of the heart.


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Published On: July 19, 2010