Duration of statin therapy

Patient

Q: I was diagnosed with high cholesterol about 3 months ago and put on simvastatin 20mg. I recently had my cholesterol checked again and it is now 193 108. can I go off the medication for a while and be checked again or stay on? What should my cholesterol be to go off?

Doctor

A:   The desirable total blood cholesterol level is <200mg/dL and optimal LDL cholesterol level is <100mg/dL. With HDL cholesterol levels, higher levels are better and a level >60mg/dL provides some protection against heart disease. The levels you have provided indicate your total cholesterol is within the desirable range however your LDL (bad) cholesterol level is still marginally high. Therefore I would remain on statin therapy until this level is optimal or <100mg/dL, as shown by a repeat fasting blood lipid sample.

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