Friday, June 10, 2011

Zocor Warning: So Dangerous That It Can Damage Your Kidney

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announces that the popular cholesterol drug simvastatin (brand name: Zocor) should be given a safety label warning because the highest recommended dose of 80 milligrams (mg) a day has been associated with an elevated risk of muscle injury or myopathy, particularly during the first year of use.

The agency noted a study last year showing that about 1% patients taking 80 milligrams a day suffered from muscle damage. The same study included more than 6,000 patients taking 20 milligrams of Zocor a day, only one of them developed the muscle problem.

But like other statin drugs, high doses of which can be toxic to muscles. In extreme cases, the muscles break down and release dangerous proteins that can damage the kidneys. This complication, known as rhabdomyolysis, can be fatal.

Photo: Rick Gershon/Getty Images

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