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UK health officials warn of muscle injuries linked to simvastatin use

Filed November 6th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

Health officials in the U.K. have issued a warning regarding the risk of side effects linked with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, especially when used in combination with another class of drugs.

According to a Telegraph (U.K.) report recently, the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a safety guidance for the use of simvastatin. The statement notes the risks of muscle injuries, sometimes severe in nature, when simvastatin is used in conjunction with amlodipine (sold in name-brand form as Norvasc), a drug used to treat chest pain, and diltiazem, a drug used to treat high blood pressure.

MHRA noted, ”The updated information has been highlighted in our first Drug Safety Update article designed exclusively for patients, with the aim that people taking these medicines can understand why their statin treatment may have changed.”

Both amlodipine and diltiazem are commonly prescribed to people suffering from some form of heart disease and their prescription alongside simvastatin (Zocor) is also common. Simvastatin is the commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug worldwide.

These side effects are already present with simvastatin use. The most commonly reported side effects of simvastatins are muscle pain, weakness, muscle tenderness, and cramps, according to the report, citing the MHRA update. The risk of these side effects increases significantly when the cholesterol-lowering drugs are used in combination with the heart disease medications.

The MHRA update noted that these side effects were most often reported among patients taking the 40-milligram dose of simvastatin. These risks were not as pronounced among patients lowered or already taking a 20-milligram dose of simvastatin.

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