Statins side effects: Non-allergic rhinitis is a common complaint of the medication

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Non-allergic rhinitis can affect one in 10 people who are prescribed statins. People who have the common side effect report a runny or blocked nose that isn’t related to allergies. How can you relieve such a bothersome symptom? The NHS explained non-allergic rhinitis is inflammation of the inside of the nose. Inflammation involves swollen blood vessels and a build-up of fluid in the tissues of the nose.

“This swelling blocks the nasal passages and stimulates the mucus glands in the nose,” explained the NHS.

As a consequence, the symptoms of the condition include:

  • A blocked nose
  • A runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Mild irritation or discomfort in and around the nose
  • Reduced sense of smell

In rare cases, crust can develop inside the nose, which may pride a foul-smelling odour; if the crust is removed, it may bleed.

There is no test to diagnose non-allergic rhinitis, with diagnosis being based on symptoms only.

Although the condition isn’t harmful, it can be irritating to deal with and can impact the quality of your life.

One solution put forward by the NHS is to rinse your nasal passages to relieve your symptoms.

This can be a home-made solution of salt water, which involves mixing a teaspoon of salt and bicarbonate of soda into a pint of boiled water that’s been left to cool.

“You will probably only use a small amount of the solution. Throw away whatever is left,” added the NHS.

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Alternatively, you can buy solution-ready sachets from your nearest pharmacy.

To rinse you nose:

  1. Standing over a sink, cup the palm of one hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it
  2. Sniff the water into one nostril at a time – an alternative is to use a syringe to insert the solution into the nose
  3. Repeat this until your nose feels comfortable (you may not need to use all of the solution)
  4. Nasal douching, explained above, can help wash away excess mucus inside of the nose.

Another option is to use a nasal spray containing steroids that help relive congestion.

However, to feel the benefits of a nasal spray, you’ll need to use it over a number of weeks.

If you find this side effect of statins too bothersome, you are advised by the NHS to speak to your GP.

There are five types of statins which your doctor can offer you, if your present medication doesn’t work for you.

Types of statins

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Fluvastatin (Lescol)
  • Pravastatin (Lipostat)
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • Simvastatin (Zocor)

Other common side effects of statins may include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick
  • Problems with the digestive system, such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or flatulence
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Increased blood sugar level (hyperglycaemia)
  • An increased risk of diabetes

It’s not clear whether most of these side effects are caused by statins, or if other factors play a part in their onset.

Regardless, if you aren’t happy with the medication you’re currently on, do let your GP know.

Together you can discuss the risks and benefits of taking statins for your health.

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