Side effects of statins: allergic reaction that causes swelling of the face and tongue

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has advocated the use of statins to lower blood pressure. They’re prescribed when lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your risk of heart disease. NICE recommends that people try things like dieting, losing weight, exercising, and quitting alcohol and tobacco before turning to medication. The goal of taking statins is to lower your cholesterol levels, which lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Some commonly reported side effects of statin treatment are believed to be caused by placebo effects.

The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency estimates that two in 1,000 people on statins suffer from mild muscle pain.

A 2020 trial published in the BMJ could not find a measurable difference in the number of people who developed muscle pain while taking statins or blank placebo pills.

In extremely rare cases (one in 100,000), they can cause abnormal and life-threatening muscle and kidney damage.


Commonly reported side effects usually subside over time, such as headache, nausea, and indigestion.

When statins produce side effects, there are ways to control them while still benefiting from statin therapy.

A doctor can determine that side effects can be avoided by changing the dosage or type of statin.

There are also dietary changes that can complement statin therapy.

BUPA reports that some serious side effects from statins affect about one in a thousand people.

When they do occur, they advise you to stop the medicine and contact your doctor immediately.

These usually happen if you have an allergic reaction to the medicine, which may be noticeable after the first dose.

An allergic reaction to statins can cause swelling of the face, mouth and throat that makes it difficult to breathe. It can also cause blisters and swelling on the skin, as well as a fever.