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Serious Side-Effects of Statins

Jun 14, 2004 | A consumer group wants the FDA to pull the cholesterol drug "Crestor" off the market, because of a serious side effect.

The manufacturer of Crestor says its drug is as safe as any other statin. But you need to know more than that they all have side effects.

Statins these little pills are touted by many as the next wonder drug. They're considered safe and effective, but they don't work for everyone.

Kraus: “A small but significant percent of the population will not show a cholesterol reduction even if they are taking a good dose of statins. They appear to have some resistance to the cholesterol lowering effects.”

And, like all medications there are risks to taking statins, including a rare but potentially life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis. That's where skeletal muscle fibers are damaged, releasing proteins into the bloodstream. Some of these are toxic to the kidney and may lead to kidney failure or even death.

Rhabdomyolysis can be triggered by trauma, extreme exertion like running a marathon, heatstroke, or drug use especially cocaine, amphetamines, heroin or PCP.

And statistics show it can be caused by statins. Over a twenty-nine month period 601 cases of rhabdomyolysis were reported to the FDA, including 38 deaths.

Three years ago, Baycol was taken off the market after a significantly higher number of deaths were linked to the drug compared to other statins.

Symptoms include unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness, generalized weakness, and urine that's dark red or cola colored.

If you take statins and have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. Also, this risk of developing this muscle condition is greatest when starting a statin, increasing the dose, or when it's combined with certain other medications including Erythromycin - a very common antibiotic.

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