Manufactured and marketed by Merck & Co., Zocor is an FDA-approved cholesterol lowering medication that belongs to the statin family of drugs. Zocor is designed to work by lowering production of cholesterol in the body. It reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – often referred to as bad cholesterol – and total cholesterol in the blood, which can prevent heart attacks, strokes, and vascular disease. Zocor also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good cholesterol". Raising HDL cholesterol levels – like lowering LDL cholesterol – may slow coronary artery disease. Despite its effectiveness at lowering cholesterol, Zocor has unfortunately been linked to kidney damage, myopathy, rhabdomyolysis and other serious side effects.
The highest approved dose of Zocor – 80 milligrams – has been shown to increase the risk of myopathy, which is a form of muscle damage. In full-blown myopathy, the muscle fibers no longer function correctly, which results in muscular weakness. The signs and symptoms of myopathy will vary depending on the type of disorder and cause, but in general will include:
Treatment for myopathy depends on the severity and condition of the disease. Options may include drug therapy, such as immunosuppressives, physical therapy, bracing to support weakened muscles, and surgery. For severe cases of Zocor-induced myopathy, supportive or symptomatic treatment may be the only beneficial course of action for treatment.
The most serious form of myopathy is called rhabdomyolysis, a condition that can damage the kidneys and lead to total kidney failure. Rhabdomyolysis results from a breakdown of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. Signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis may be hard to pinpoint because the course of the disease varies from patient to patient. Additionally, symptoms may occur in one area of the body or affect the entire body. The following are common signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis:
- Painful, swollen, bruised, or tender areas of the body
- Muscle weakness or trouble moving arms or legs
- General feeling of illness
- Lack of consciousness
- Dark colored urine
Rhabdomyolysis is a rare but extremely serious medical condition. Hospitalized rhabdomyolysis occurs in 4.9 people out of every 100,000 people exposed to the 80 mg. dose of simvastatin for one full year (the average incidence for hospitalized rhabdomyolysis for simvastatin is 4.4 people out of every 100,000 people).
Zocor Kidney Damage
In rhabdomyolysis, skeletal muscle begins to deteriorate rapidly, releasing myoglobin and other substances which are harmful to the kidneys. If left untreated, rhabdomyolysis can lead to kidney damage that can potentially result in acute kidney failure. When this occurs, the kidneys are no longer able to remove waste and concentrate urine without losing electrolytes. Symptoms of Zocor-induced kidney failure may include:
- Bruising easily
- Changes in mental state or mood
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased sensation in the hands or feet
- Hand tremors
- High blood pressure
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Persistent hiccups
- Prolonged bleeding
- Swelling of the ankle, foot, or leg
- Changes in urination patterns
If you or a loved one has taken Zocor and experienced negative side effects, contact Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys today at 1-800-229-7989 for a free case consultation and evaluation.