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Study says statins increase risk of kidney failure

A new study by Canadian researchers found that strong doses of the anti-cholesterol drugs called statins put patients at risk of potentially deadly kidney problems, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The researchers, from the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in Quebec, said that taking high doses of atorvastatin — better known by its brand name Lipitor — simvastatin or rosuvastatin increases the risk of being hospitalized with a condition called acute kidney injury by 34 per cent on average.

The Mayo Clinic says acute kidney injury, also known as acute kidney failure, occurs when the kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from the blood. That condition can cause dangerous levels of wastes to accumulate and throw the blood’s chemical makeup off balance, with potentially deadly consequences.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has previously added warnings to the labels of Lipitor and other variations of the widely used anti-cholesterol drugs called statins, warning that they may increase the risk of Type II diabetes. The new labels also warn that the drugs may raise blood sugar levels, and could cause memory loss.

According to a story about the study on the CTV Television Network out of Canada, researchers used data on more than 2 million people in the United States, Britain and Canada, about a third of whom were using statins.

The CTV story quotes an internal medicine specialist as saying: “Tens of millions of North Americans take these drugs, and so even side-effects that are relatively uncommon are important.”

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Lipitor lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the The Daily Telegraph story here:

See the CTV story here: