A 4p pill could save millions from a number of health conditions, including heart attacks or strokes.
About 18 million people in the UK are eligible for statins, including almost all men over the age of 60 and women over 65.
Approximately eight million adults take them each day but many are still put off from taking the pills.
The side-effects of taking statins, namely muscle aches, have made those eligible slightly more wary of taking them, although these symptoms are disputed.
A major new study has now shown that the pains some experience are more likely a result of old age.
As a result, doctors are being advised to offer patients greater reassurance about the pills in the hope that millions more will take them when prescribed – recuding their chance of heart attack or stroke in the process.
A small clinical trial of 12 patients from the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, has also discovered that statins, when used alongside specific hormone treatment, could help slow tumour growth in prostate cancer patients, the Sun reports.
“Statins are extremely powerful in preventing heart disease but a lot of people aren’t taking them because of their worries about side-effects,” said Darrel Francis, professor of cardiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute.
“If people suspect a statin is making them unwell, they stop taking them.
“The end result is they get a heart attack or stroke and die. They are dying for no good reason and because they have been given misinformation.”
The study was recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona and gave 155,000 people either a statin or a placebo.
It found that of those on the real statin, 27.1 per cent reported muscle pain, while 26.6 per cent taking the placebo also reported muscle pain.
“This means that over 90 per cent of the time, when a patient taking a statin gets muscle pain, it isn’t the drug that’s causing it. It’s unpleasant and, of course, no one wants to have muscle pain, but these drugs could save your life,” added Professor Francis.
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, the NHS says.
LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol” – and statins reduce the production of it inside the liver.
Statins come as tablets that are taken once a day and for some types of statin it doesn’t matter what time of day you take it, as long as you stick to the same time.
Some types of statin, however, should be taken in the evening and it’s always worth checking with your GP about whether there’s a particular time you should take yours.
Many who take statins experience no or very few side effects, while others experience some troublesome, but usually minor, ailements such as diarrhoea, a headache or feeling sick.
A review of scientific studies into the effectiveness of statins found, the NHS states, showed that around one in every 50 people who take statins for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.
There have been some concerns about statin use in the past.
For example, in 2017, a study suggested statins were linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, although many experts have pointed to limitations in the research.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said those in the study who developed diabetes had more early indicators of the disease at the start than those who didn’t.
This suggested statins may just have advanced the condition in those already at risk, and the study also didn’t look at what happened after.