Prescription heart medications are so common — millions of Americans currently take at least one to treat everything from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to heart failure and stroke — that it’s easy to assume that they are easy on your system, that the side effects must be minor because so many people take them. Not so. One of the two top reasons patients give for not taking heart drugs as prescribed is “fear of side effects.”

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Statins have been associated with a host of side effects. Based on observational studies, as many as 30% of those taking the medications experience muscle aches and pains. There is also some evidence statins may boost the risk of developing diabetes.