NHS doctors aim to test atorvastatin on 1,300 long Covid patients over the next 36 months in hopes it will save lives. This follows reports that one in 10 Covid patients die within six months of leaving services. The Bureau of National Statistics added that three in 10 Covid patients are readmitted to hospital due to breathing difficulties, liver or kidney problems. To prevent this trend from continuing, the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Cambridge and the University of Liverpool are intervening.
Their research teams will lead the HEAL-Covid trial, scheduled for next week.
While half of the volunteers will be offered atorvastatin, an additional 1,300 participants could take apixaban instead – a blood-thinning drug that prevents blood clots from forming.
Imperial College Healthcare in London is already offering apixaban to Covid patients who have been discharged from hospital.
The NHS Trust explained: “Our experience with coronavirus infection has shown that it increases the risk of having a blood clot in the veins.
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For example, if the blood supply to the brain is restricted, a stroke will occur.
If the blood supply to the heart muscle is restricted, a heart attack occurs.
It is for this reason that statins are widely prescribed to help prevent heart attacks and strokes, especially if you have had one before.
“Most statins are taken at night, because that’s when most of your cholesterol is produced,” the BHF said.
Less common side effects include:
- Be sick
- Memory problems
- Hair loss
- Have ants
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), which can cause flu-like symptoms
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can cause stomach pain
- Skin problems, such as acne or a red, itchy rash
- Sexual problems, such as loss of libido (reduced sex drive) or erectile dysfunction
The NHS added: “Like all drugs, statins can cause side effects. But most people tolerate them well and have no problems.”