High Dose Zocor, Other Statins up Diabetes Risk

A new study says high doses of statins like <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Zocor-Simvastatin-Side-Effects-Myopathy-Rhabdomyolysis-Muscle-Injury-Lawsuit">Zocor or Lipitor could increase the likelihood of developing diabetes. The same study also found that a high dose of Lipitor was better than the same dose of generic Zocor at preventing heart attacks and strokes.

The new study, conducted by researchers at St George’s, University of London and the University of Glasgow, consisted of a metanalysis of five different studies involving 32,752 patients. Patients were treated with either high or moderate dose of statins. Over five years, 2,749 (8.4 percent) developed type 2 diabetes.

“Overall, we found that high doses were associated with a 12 percent increased risk of diabetes compared with standard doses,” Professor Kausik Ray of St George’s said in an e-mail to Reuters.

However, the study also found that high doses of statins were effective in decreasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. This led the study authors to conclude that – with the exception of Zocor and its generic equivalent, simvastatin – the benefits of the drugs at such doses outweighed their risks.

While the diabetes risk between Zocor and Lipitor was the same, patients taking Lipitor fared better when it came to heart problems. In the study, Lipitor cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 22 percent, while patients taking simvastatin only experienced a 5 percent reduction in heart risk. The researchers concluded that high-dose simvastatin or Zocor is not the best statin option.

“The net benefit of simvastatin is clearly very low and patients on simvastatin 80 mg should be moved to atorvastatin (Lipitor) 80 mg instead,” Ray told Reuters.

So now it seems patients and doctors have another reason to avoid using 80 mg Zocor or simvastatin. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) provided the first when it told doctors not to prescribed 80 mg Zocor and simvastatin to patients in their first year of treatment because of its association with serious muscle damage or myopathy, including a potentially fatal form called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis can lead to kidney failure which can be fatal.

In its Drug Safety Communication, the FDA said health care professionals should switch such patients to another statin if they find that taking 40 mg of simvastatin isn’t meeting their LDL cholesterol goal, rather than raising the simvastatin dose to 80 mg. The new restrictions and warnings also apply to Vytorin and Simcor, which are combination medications that include simvastatin as an active ingredient, the agency said.

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