Q:  Dr. Rudolph, 

I am 68 and about 30 pounds overweight. I have been on atenolol & lipitor for several years. I do not drink alcohol, and three weeks ago I started a vegan diet. I am finally losing weight!

How do I know when I will no longer need meds for high cholesterol and blood pressure? How do I know when to reduce meds? 

Brian in Indiana

A:  Dear Brian,

Way to go on the positive diet and lifestyle changes! You're headed in the right direction.

You will definitely need to work with your doctor when discontinuing your medications, especially atenolol. It is vital that you do not discontinue atenolol on your own. There is a black box warning from the FDA about this. Quitting atenolol abruptly can cause more cardiac problems. Please see my article below on hypertension.


You should also at the very least get your doctor's permission to get off lipitor when the time is right. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. has a goal to get his patient's total cholesterol level below 150 if possible. He has published the most successful reversal studies with coronary heart disease to date using a plant-based diet.

Here is some more information on statins and heart health.



I hope this helps!

All my best,

Dustin Rudolph, PharmD, BCPS

The Plant-Based Pharmacist