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Mar 9, 2012

New Safety Warnings for Statin Drugs

"studies have found correlations between statin drug use and elevated risk for arrhythmias, hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, cancer, and other problems"



With such widespread use of cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins these days, one might expect the safety profile of these drugs to be solid and well-substantiated. But with federal health officials now putting out safety warnings to the public, this has proven not to be the case. Just last week, new warning guidelines went into effect. All labels on statin drugs must now warn users against the potential for causing increased blood sugar levels and raising one’s risk for diabetes. In addition, the FDA said labels will now contain information about memory loss and confusion, since adverse effects of the drugs may include a wide range of cognitive problems. Examples of some of the drugs that will receive the new warnings include Lipitor, Lescol, Pravachol, Crestor, Mevacor, Altoprev, Livalo, and Zocor.

As some of the most frequently prescribed drugs in the world, statin drugs are often credited as being lifesavers that protect against heart disease. While they may have some benefit in certain high-risk individuals, their overall efficacy, use, and side effects are being thoroughly questioned by many. In a 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal that included more than 2 million participants, statin drugs apparently helped to prevent heart disease in only 271 cases out of every 10,000 high-risk individuals. But results in this study also showed that use of these same drugs significantly increased the risk for developing eye problems, muscle weakness, liver dysfunction, and kidney failure. Results from other studies have found correlations between statin drug use and elevated risk for arrhythmias, hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, cancer, and other problems.

Dr. Shana McQueen

Sources: 
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/02/28/fda-issues-new-warning-on-lipitor-zocor-other-statins/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874131/