Widely used cholesterol-lowering statin drugs like Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release), Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe) and many others will now have additional warnings on their packaging, according to an announcement from the Food & Drug Administration.
With the White House and the FDA dreaming up ways to curb the pain-pill problem in the U.S., we got to wondering just what are the most popular (legal) drugs in the country? Thankfully, the folks at Time.com were thinking about the same thing, because they put together a handy/dandy list of the 10 most-prescribed meds, none of which is Viagra.
While myopathy (muscle injury) is a known side effect for all cholesterol-lowering statin medications, the FDA has just issued a warning that, when prescribed and used at higher doses, Zocor (generic name: simvastatin) carries with it a greater risk of developing muscle injury, including the most serious form of myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to kidney damage, kidney failure, and possibly death.
The FDA has banned the import of 30 different generic drugs made by Ranbaxy due to unresolved ongoing concerns about quality controls in the manufacturing process. Some of them are popular, like a generic for Zocor. The complete list inside. If you’re taking any of the affected drugs, keep taking them. The FDA found no evidence to suggest any consumers are at risk. If you have concerns, consult your doctor.
A new study from the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine suggests that simvastatin, also known as the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor, may interfere with sleep patterns: “people who took the statin drug Zocor or simvastatin found they had significantly worse sleep quality compared with people who took Pravachol or pravastatin, another cholesterol-lowering drug.” Simvastatin is fat soluble, which means it can more easily penetrate cell membranes and mess with brain chemistry.
Pfizer is in panic mode about its rapid decline in Lipitor sales—in the last 18 months, it has dropped from 40% of the market for cholesterol-lowering drugs to 30%, and likely to drop further—so it’s launched a big media-blitz to convince people not to switch to simvastatin, the generic version of its name-brand competitor, Zocor. Zocor was more expensive than Lipitor, so Pfizer had nothing to worry about for years—but then Zocor lost its patent protection last year, and now doctors are switching patients from Lipitor over to Zocor’s generic twin to save money.