The cholesterol drug Zocor has been found to cause rare but serious side effects, including a potentially fatal muscle condition known as rhabdomyolysis and serious kidney problems.  Since 2002, the Food and Drug Administration has warned patients and medical experts that the combination of taking Zocor with Cordarone (amiodarone), a medication used to treat heartbeat irregularities, can cause these serious and life threatening diseases.

Patients who have been injured by side effects of Zocor have the legal right to seek compensation for their medical expenses, losses, and suffering.  Read on to learn more about this drug and the serious risks associated with its use.

What is Zocor?

Zocor, the brand name for generic simvastatin, is an enzyme blocker known commonly as a “statin” drug.  Zocor is made by Merck, while another generic version of the drug sold as Simcor is marketed by Abbott Laboratories.  Simvastatin is also a chemical ingredient found in Merck and Schering-Plough’s cholesterol drug Vytorin.

When taken by patients following a healthy diet, Zocor can help lower cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels in the blood.  This drug is usually prescribed only when non-pharmaceutical options have proven ineffective, since this drug carries rare but serious risks.  Furthermore, it is only approved for patients over the age of ten with other specific rules.

Why is Zocor dangerous?

While many people have taken Zocor without experiencing any serious side effects, some rare but potentially fatal adverse reactions can be caused by this medication.  All statin drugs carry some risk of rhabdomyolysis, a serious and potentially fatal muscle disease.  However, the FDA has reported that this risk is higher for patients taking simvastatin in combination with amiodarone.

While the FDA issued a warning about the risk of rhabdomyolysis linked to Zocor, this combination of simvastatin and amiodarone continues to be prescribed to patients.   Furthermore, many experts believe that the pharmaceutical companies have not done enough to inform medical professionals and the public about the serious risks associated with this drug combination.

What is Rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis is a serious disease that causes a rapid breakdown of muscle issues.  This breakdown of damaged muscle tissue causes harmful chemicals to enter the bloodstream, such as myoglobin, which can cause serious damage to the kidneys.  As such, rhabdomyolysis can lead quickly to kidney failure and even death if not caught and treated early.

Some of the most common symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include:

  • Muscle tenderness
  • Muscle weakness, aching, or stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Red, cola, or dark colored urine
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Seizures

Patients who have just started taking simvastatin, or who have had their dose of simvastatin changed, should contact their doctor right away if they experience unexplained muscular symptoms such as muscle cramps, spasms, pain, tenderness, or stiffness. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis or kidney problems while taking simvastatin along with amiodarone, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your losses and suffering.  Please contact us today.

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