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Jul 28, 2011

FDA Warns About High-dose Simvastatin & Muscle Injury Risk

In June 2011, the FDA changed its recommendations for who is eligible for the highest approved dose of the cholesterol-lowering medication known as simvastatin.  Simvastatin is a type of statin drug also sold under the brand name Zocor.  It is also an active component of the pharmaceuticals known as Vytorin and Simcor.  

One of the potential side effects of simvastatin is muscle injury.  After a review of the link between high-dose simvastatin and muscle injury that began back in 2010, the FDA has recently stated that no new patients should begin taking the high dose of 80 mg (milligrams) daily.  Patients who have been on the 80 mg dose for at least a year without signs of muscle injury appear to be at lower risk since this particular side effect seems to show up most often within the first year taking the drug.  The FDA also stated that patients having difficulty lowering their “bad” cholesterol (LDL) on 40 mg of this drug should NOT be prescribed the higher 80 mg dose, but should instead be given another treatment.  

When it comes to high cholesterol and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, naturopathic medicine has much to offer.  Diet, nutritional status, exercise, and hormone balance are all major components of a healthy cholesterol profile.  Many patients who have previously relied on statins to lower cholesterol levels are able to reduce their dose or even stop taking these drugs altogether once they commit to making some positive changes in their lives.  If you are concerned about your cholesterol and cardiovascular health, talk to your naturopathic doctor today to find out what you can do about it.

Dr. Shana McQueen