Product News and Recalls

Health warnings issued for cholesterol drugs

In a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian researchers are advising doctors to avoid ordering certain antibiotics for patients taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, which include Lipitor.

An article in U.S. News and World Report says statins don’t mix well with the antibiotics clarithromycin or erythromycin.

This isn’t the first time that health concerns have been raised about statins. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has added warnings to the labels of Lipitor and other types of statins, advising that they may increase blood sugar, and therefore the risk of Type II diabetes.

The U.S. News and World Report link says that the antibiotics clarithromycin or erythromycin inhibit the metabolism of statins and increase statin concentration in the blood. That can cause muscle or kidney damage, and even death.

Researchers who conducted the study looked at a sample of about 144,000 statin users over the age of 65, comparing those prescribed clarithromycin or erythromycin with those taking a different antibiotic called azithromycin.

They concluded that in terms of absolute risk, the odds of kidney damage increased 26 percent among people who took clarithromycin or erythromycin with statins, compared with those who took azithromycin with statins.

The study also concluded that hospitalizations for muscle damage and deaths were also higher in the former group, according to U.S. News and World Report.

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.