Cholesterol High Dose Drugs Can Increase Risk of Kidney Damage

Consumption of cholesterol-lowering drugs have been associated with various side effects such as muscle pain and liver problems. Now a recent study added that high doses of the drug can increase the risk of kidney damage.

A study found that people who take cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins in high doses, have a 34 percent increased risk of hospitalization due to kidney injury during the first 120 days of treatment, compared to others who took low doses.

Apparently these risks also remained elevated for up to 2 years after starting treatment cholesterol. The findings were published online in the journal BMJ on March 19, as written by Everyday Health, on Thursday (03/21/2013).

Statins are already widely prescribed to lower blood cholesterol levels and proved to be very effective. But it is also known to have side effects, particularly damage to the liver and muscle pain or weakness. Thus, the doctor recommends to test liver enzymes before you start taking statins.

Canadian researchers analyzed the health records of more than 2 million people aged 40 years or older with or without kidney disease were also taking statins. High dose statins including rosuvastatin (Crestor) at doses of more than 10 milligrams (mg), atorvastatin (Lipitor) at doses over 20 mg, and simvastatin (Zocor) at doses over 40 mg.

"Patients taking high doses of statins was associated with an increased risk of muscle damage, besides studies have also proved that it can block the production of coenzyme Q10 (a substance in the body that help break down food), which theoretically can cause kidney injury," said Colin Dormuth, author of the study who is an epidemiologist at the University of British Columbia.

Responding to the findings, the researchers stated that if a person concerned about the condition of his kidneys after taking statins, he can consult with a doctor and a blood test.

Signs of kidney damage can include dark urine, difficulty urinating or infrequent urination. Someone who is in a high-dose statin and had problems with urination, immediately contact your doctor.

"Instead of taking statins in high doses, you can use a low dose of statin along with other types of cholesterol-lowering drugs," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York.

However, do not stop taking statins abruptly without consulting with your doctor first. Your doctor may slowly lower the dose to be safe for your kidneys.