When Is the Best Time to Take Cholesterol Medication?

Statins are medications that are specifically designed to help lower cholesterol levels in a person’s body. There are some types of statins that are designed to be most effective during the morning, and there are other types of statins that are more effective when taken during the night, which can lead to much confusion about when the best time to take a dose will be.

If you are currently in the process of beginning a course of cholesterol medication and you’re unsure of when to take your dose, don’t panic. In this guide, we are going to be taking a closer look at when the best time to take cholesterol medication is through information compiled by various clinical studies, medical professionals and more. 

Table of Contents

What Does Cholesterol Medication Do?

Before we get any further into this guide, we first think that it would be helpful to give you a better idea of what cholesterol medications are, as this will help you to gain a better understanding of when the right time to take them will be.

To cut a long story short, statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are cholesterol medications specifically used to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. It is very important that LDL cholesterol (which some people consider to be the “bad” cholesterol) is prevented from building up in the arteries, as this can lead to a variety of health issues due to the build-up of plaque. 

Statins, aka cholesterol medication, work to prevent the enzyme in the liver that can lead to the production of cholesterol. Thanks to this, the chances of plaque building up within the arteries are significantly reduced. If you’d like to learn more about the effects of cholesterol medication in lowering plaque, check out this big-scale study here.

When Is the Best Time to Take Cholesterol Medication?

Now that you have a better understanding of what cholesterol medication even is, we’re sure that you’re now keen on getting a better idea of when these types of medications should be taken for the highest level of effectiveness.

It is very important to keep in mind that there are a variety of different statins on the market right now, which means that the optimum time for taking a dose will potentially vary depending on what type of statin strain your doctor is prescribing. 

Still, to give you a general idea of optimum times to take cholesterol medication, let’s break the various statins down into two main groups to give you a clearer understanding of what to expect:

  • Short-acting statins: The first main group of statins are short-acting statins. In a systematic review that you can read about here, it was found that this particular group of statins (including lovastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, and others) were most effective when they were taken during the evening. In this study, it was found that people who took short-acting statins during the evening had lower overall cholesterol levels as compared to people who took them in the morning.
  • Long-acting statins: Next up, we have long-acting statins. These types of statins are typically found to be most effective when taken during the morning (as this systematic review found here) and includes medication such as atorvastatin, fluvastatin, and rosuvastatin. This is simply due to the fact that they take a longer length of time for the body to process, which is why the morning is optimal for taking a dosage. 

When a person is prescribed statins, they might be required to take them indefinitely. For the majority of people, when statins are no longer being taken there is an increased risk of cholesterol levels rising once again. For this reason, people who need to take statins should ensure that they keep taking them (at the correct time each day, depending on which type of statin is prescribed) unless their doctor has told them otherwise. This brings us to our next section.

Which Statin Should You Take?

Depending on whether you are prescribed a long-acting statin or a short-acting statin, the time when you will be required to take your dosage each day will vary. As we’re sure you know by now, statins come in a wide range of dosage levels and types, so it is important that people who require them make sure to speak with their doctor about which type of statin is going to be the best for them. 

What type of statin is prescribed to a patient will depend on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The current cholesterol levels.
  • Other medications that might be prescribed.
  • If there is a family history of heart disease.
  • If the person currently has any other existing medical conditions. 
  • If there is an underlying predisposition for heart disease.

Once the doctor has settled on which type of statin is going to be the best option for them, the doctor will then be able to provide additional information about which time of day is going to be the best time to take the statin. Usually, this will be in accordance with whether it is a long-acting or short-acting statin, but occasionally manufacturers might also provide their own guidelines as to when the medication should be given each day. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you have taken the time to read through this guide, we hope that we have been able to give you a better understanding of when the best times to take cholesterol medication are. Please keep in mind, however, that the information that we have shared with you above should only be used as general information on cholesterol medications.

 For accurate guidance and further assistance on when the best time for taking your daily cholesterol medication should be, it is very important that you make sure to speak with your doctor or similar healthcare professional before beginning the treatment. Thanks for reading, and bye for now!

Sources:

  • Kamal Awad, Maria-Corina Serban, Peter Penson, Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, Peter P. Toth, Steven R. Jones, Manfredi Rizzo, George Howard, Gregory Y.H. Lip, Maciej Banach. Effects of morning vs evening statin administration on lipid profile: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal of Clinical Lipidology, Volume 11, Issue 4, 2017, Pages 972-985.e9, ISSN 1933-2874, Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacl.2017.06.001
  • What is the best time to take statins and why? MedicalNewsToday. Available from:https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325047 

Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

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