Practitioners should use care when prescribing simvastatin (Simcor, Zocor, Vytorin) to patients who also take amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), according to a recent FDA alert. The combination may trigger rhabdomyolysis, a rare complication that can cause kidney failure and death. The risk is greatest with simvastatin doses above 20 mg/day. The FDA urges prescribers to consider using another statin for patients taking amiodarone, particularly if they require simvastatin doses above 20 mg/day.
All statin cholesterol-lowering drugs carry a risk of potentially fatal muscle injury, especially in older adults. Teach patients taking statins about the risks and tell them to call their health care provider immediately if they develop symptoms of muscle injury, such as muscle cramps, pain, tenderness, stiffness, or spasm.
For more information, visit the FDA's Web site at http://www.fda.gov.