Chronic kidney disease and cholesterol medications

You are receiving this leaflet because our records show you have a recorded diagnosis of Chronic kidney disease (or CKD) and are not currently taking any cholesterol lowering treatment (such as a statin).

Please do not panic, as we get older, our kidneys become less efficient, this is a normal part of aging. We have noted on your blood tests that your kidneys have, as expected, become less efficient. Your doctor may not have discussed this with you directly because it is a normal part of the aging process and we all find our kidneys slow down as we get older. Sometimes doctors refer to this level of kidney function as ‘CKD 3’, or ‘Chronic Kidney Disease 3’. It is normally a ‘silent’ condition in that it doesn’t tend to cause any symptoms.

We would like to ensure you are receiving the best care and have been offered this medication (a statin) and are aware of the pros / cons of taking such a medication and gather your thoughts on what you would like to do next.

You can read more about CKD here

Why are we contacting you about this now?

Recent guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence have advised that people whose kidneys are less efficient should be started on aspirin and a statin drug to protect them from heart attack, stroke and any future kidney disease. We are therefore contacting you to see if you would like us to start these medications.

What are statins / cholesterol medications?

Statins are medications used to lower the cholesterol level in the bloods, this protects you against the effects of cholesterol on the blood vessels, which prevents diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

You can read more detail here

Why should I take a statin?

One of the contributing factors to CKD is the blood vessels narrowing due to cholesterol. Even if you have had a blood test that shows your cholesterol is normal, studies show there is still some improvement in the slowing of the kidneys in the future.

We also know that people with CKD are at an increased risk of other cardiovascular disease – this means things like heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease. By taking a statin, you further reduce this risk.

What are the downsides of taking statins?

Most people who take a statin have no side-effects, or only minor ones. However, there are small risks of side-effects which include:

  • Headache.
  • Pins and needles.
  • Tummy (abdominal) pain.
  • Bloating.
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick (nausea).
  • A rash.
  • Muscle damage (myopathy), which is rare.

When we start a statin, we check your liver function and repeat your cholesterol levels about 3 months after you start the statin and then once every year.

What are my other options?

There are other medications that can help to reduce cholesterol – these are generally offered to people who have tried a few types of statin and have not tolerated them, or if their cholesterol hasn’t responded as much as we would like.

Equally, you may read this information and decide that you do not want to take a statin medication. We would fully respect this decision – its important we know about this choice so that we do not keep offering it to you in the future once you have made the decision.

What happens next?

We would like to hear what you are thinking and how you would like to proceed.

Please return to the text message, which should allow you to enter one of the following options:

  • I have read the information and would like to be prescribed a statin
    • We will be back in contact to let you know your prescription has been issued and let you know about the monitoring blood tests needed.
  • I have read the information and would like to decline taking a statin
    • We’ll make a note of this on your record, and you can always change your mind in the future – please let us know
  • I have read the information but have questions / need to discuss this further
    • Let us know if you have a simple question or would like to discuss this further. We’ll arrange a discussion as soon as we can.