Zocor, a drug that helps lower cholesterol, has recently been recalled, as it may increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal muscle disease. Zocor was developed by Merck & Co., but is now available as a generic.
On March 19, the FDA issued a warning in the midst of its investigation into Zocor. This drug is one of many being examined, all belonging to a group called statins. Statins work by using the liver to block the creation of cholesterol, which can help prevent coronary artery disease. Statins are used in a number of popular drugs, and together statins are the most frequently sold medications in the U.S. All statins hold a risk of muscle injury, called myopathy. However, rhabdomyolysis is the most extreme form of this, potentially causing kidney failure or death.
Although all statins, including Zocor, currently contain a warning that rhabdomyolysis is a possible side effect, the FDA now warns that the severe condition may be related specifically to the dose, which is new. The warning from the FDA states that a clinical trial has released data which found that 80mg of Zocor, the highest approved dose, can carry a higher risk of muscle injury than taking lower doses. It can cause muscle fibers to break down and release myoglobin, which can damage the kidneys and cause renal failure.
Zocor, which made $4.3 billion in 2005, is also used in Vytorin and Simcor, two other popular cholesterol drugs. The investigation between Zocor, other statins, and muscle injury has been going on for some time, stretching as far back as 2008, when the FDA issued a warning not to give more than 20mg/day of Zocor to patients receiving certain heart medications.
A European study suggests that statins can also increase the risk of diabetes. The study shows that people using statins had a 9 percent increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
The FDA currently does not recommend anyone stop taking Zocor until talking with their health care provider. However, if a patient experiences muscle pain, weakness, dark urine, or extreme fatigue, they are advised to contact their doctor as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one has experienced health complications or illness while using Zocor or related drugs, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with prescription medication. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.