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Supplement May Be an Alternative for Maintaining Healthy Cholesterol

A statin can be a lifesaver if you're at risk of heart disease, but some people who take the cholesterol-lowering drugs -- up to 20%, by some estimates -- have to stop because of muscle pain, the most common side effect. (Nearly 30 million people filled a statin prescription in 2005, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Statins include popular drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor, and Zocor).

Now a new study suggests that an over-the-counter dietary supplement sold at pharmacies and health-food stores may be a workable alternative for people who have statin-related muscle pain. It seems that when combined with diet and lifestyle changes, red yeast rice supplements can lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels by more than 20 percent without a substantial risk of muscle pain (also known as myalgia), according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Source:
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/16/cholesterol.red.yeast.rice/index.html.