As we have looked at the deleterious effects of statins, it is not difficult to see why they are still with us. Anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor® (atorvastatin) has been estimated to generate Pfizer revenues of more than $130bn worldwide. Millions of Americans and patients worldwide take statins to prevent heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has continued to put out information regarding the safety of these cholesterol-lowering medications. The FDA is advising consumers and health care professionals that:
- Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users.
- People being treated with statins may have an increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Any other drug, any other time would get more scrutiny, but think of the stakes here for the companies putting these medication on the market. FDA has changed the drug labels of popular statin products to reflect these new concerns. (These labels are not the sticker attached to a prescription drug bottle, but the package insert with details about a prescription medication, including side effects.) The statins affected include:
- Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release)
- Crestor (rosuvastatin)
- Lescol (fluvastatin)
- Lipitor (atorvastatin)
- Livalo (pitavastatin)
- Mevacor (lovastatin)
- Pravachol (pravastatin)
- Zocor (simvastatin).
Products containing statins in combination with other drugs include:
- Advicor (lovastatin/niacin extended-release)
- Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release)
- Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe).