HealthDay News — Statins can interact with other drugs prescribed for cardiovascular disease, but there are ways to navigate the issue, according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association published online in Circulation.

The list of medications that potentially interact with statins includes: fibrates, particularly gemfibrozil; calcium channel blockers; anti-arrhythmics, such as amiodarone, dronedarone, and digoxin; and ivabradine and sacubitril/valsartan.

Anticoagulants may also interact with statin medication, the AHA says. Statins may, for example, raise blood levels of warfarin, which could increase the risk of internal bleeding.

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Many of the interactions between statins and other heart drugs are minor, and simply limiting the statin dose is often enough, Barbara Wiggins, PharmD, a clinical pharmacy specialist in cardiology at the Medical University of South Carolina and lead author of the new recommendations, told HealthDay. But there are some drug combinations that should be avoided, the heart association warns. Lovastatin, simvastatin, and pravastatin should not be used with gemfibrozil, for example, because of the risk of muscle-related toxicity.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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  1. Wiggins BS, Saseen JJ, Page RL, et al. Recommendations for management of clinically significant drug-drug interactions with statins and select agents used in patients with cardiovascular disease: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 17 Oct 2016.