The Nation's Health + Statins

Lipoprotein(a): Do statin drugs reduce lipoprotein(a)?

Alex had lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), at a high level. With a heart scan score of 541 at age 53, treatment of this pattern would be crucial to his success.

Part of Alex's treatment program was niacin. However, Alex complained about the niacin "flush" to his primary care physician. So, his doctor told him to stop the niacin and replace it with a statin drug (Vytorin in this case).

Is this a satisfactory replacement? Do statin drugs reduce Lp(a)?

No, they do not. In fact, that's how I often meet people who have Lp(a): Their doctor will prescribe a statin drug for a high LDL cholesterol that results in a poor response. The patient will be told that statin drugs don't work for them. In reality, they have Lp(a) concealed in the LDL that makes the LDL resistant to treatment.

Lp(a) responds to a limited number of treatments, like niacin, testosterone, estrogen, and DHEA. But not to statin drugs.

Now, statin drugs may still pose a benefit through LDL reduction. But they do virtually nothing for the Lp(a) itself. Unfortunately, most practicing physicians rarely go any farther than Lipitor, Zocor, Vytorin, and the like.

If your doctor tries to shove a statin drug on you as a treatment for Lp(a), put up a fight. Voice your objections that statins do not reduce Lp(a).

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