09 August 2008

Simvastatin and Amiodarone: Do Not Combine!

The Food and Drug Administration said doctors should use extra care when prescribing Zocor, or Vytorin to patients who are also taking amiodarone, a heart rhythm drug marketed as Cordarone or Pacerone. The danger is higher for patients taking more than 20 milligrams a day of the cholesterol drugs, the agency said.

The generic name for the cholesterol medications is simvastatin.

Muscle injury is a risk with any of the cholesterol drugs known as statins, including Lipitor, particularly for the elderly. Although the risk of such injuries is low overall, they can be serious because they can lead to kidney failure and even death.
~ AP, 08 Aug 2008

Statins --- the general class of medications your doctor prescribes when your blood fat levels are too high --- have long been associated with muscle injury. The risk is low overall, and happens in a select fraction of the population taking the drug, but when it happens, it is a cause for concern because the breakdown of damaged muscle cells (what your doctor calls rhabdomyolysis) can harm the kidneys and cause acute kidney failure.

The muscle injury harm is dose-related and doctors should take note of this. In patients taking amiodarone, daily simvastatin dosage must be less than 20 milligrams to prevent muscle injury. Another option is to use alternative medications.
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