FDA Warns on Cholesterol Drug Zocor

by Dr. Leo Galland

FDA Warns on Cholesterol Drug Zocor


Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are among the most prescribed medications in the U.S.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been evaluating the statin drug Zocor (simvastatin) and has issued a warning that the drug could increase the risk of muscle injury. The most severe form of muscle injury could lead to kidney damage, kidney failure, and death, according to the FDA warning.


Simvastatin is sold generically and also under it’s brand name Zocor, and is also used as an ingredient in the combination drugs Vytorin and Simcor.


Read the full release, and see the links below for more information:


FDA Warns about Increased Risk of Muscle Injury with Zocor


Highest approved dose of cholesterol-lowering medication could cause harm to muscles


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned patients and healthcare providers about the potential for increased risk of muscle injury from the cholesterol-lowering medication Zocor (simvastatin) 80 mg. Although muscle injury (called myopathy) is a known side effect with all statins, today’s warning highlights the greater risk of developing muscle injury, including rhabdomyolysis, for patients when they are prescribed and use higher doses of this drug. Rhabdomyolysis is the most serious form of myopathy and can lead to severe kidney damage, kidney failure, and sometimes death.


“Review of simvastatin is part of an ongoing FDA effort to evaluate the risk of statin-associated muscle injury and to provide that information to the public as it becomes available,” said Eric Colman, M.D., Deputy Director of FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products (DMEP). “It’s important for patients and healthcare professionals to consider all the potential risks and known benefits of any drug before deciding on any one therapy or dose of therapy.”


Simvastatin is sold as a single-ingredient generic medication and as the brand-name Zocor. It also is sold in combination with ezetimibe as Vytorin, and in combination with niacin as Simcor.


FDA’s review of new information on the risk of muscle injury is derived from clinical trials, observational studies, adverse event reports, and prescription use data. The agency also is reviewing data from the SEARCH (Study of the Effectiveness of Additional Reductions in Cholesterol and Homocysteine) trial, which evaluated major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, revascularization and cardiovascular death, in patients taking 80 mg compared to 20 mg of simvastatin. SEARCH also included data on muscle injury in patients taking simvastatin.


FDA is committed to informing the public about its ongoing safety review of drugs and will update the public as soon as the review of simvastatin is complete.


For further information on this safety issue:


Ongoing Safety Review of High-dose Zocor (simvastatin) and Increased Risk of Muscle Injury


Previous FDA safety communications on the increased risk of muscle injury with simvastatin in patients who concurrently take other medications



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