Medical experts are warning patients over the age of 65 who take statins, a cholesterol lowering drug, to avoid certain antibiotics that can increase risks of potential life-threatening interactions. These risks have been associated with the use of a statin and the antibiotics Biaxin (clarithromycin) and erythromycin.
In two recently published studies, researchers found that adults 65 and older who were taking statins and who were also prescribed clarithromycin or erythromycin were twice as likely to require hospitalization for rhabdomyolysis, a serious medical condition that results in muscle tissue breakdown and which can damage the kidneys. At 30 days of taking both a statin and the antibiotics, patients 65 and older faced one and half times higher risks of death.
Because older patients are commonly prescribed statins for high cholesterol and clarithromycin and erythromycin for treating common conditions such as pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, and sinus infections, medical professionals are raising awareness about the issue to prevent these drugs from being prescribed together. Patients who have been prescribed antibiotics while on a statin and have experienced no improvement in an infection after a few days should be aware that the ineffectiveness may be due to reactions, and should contact their prescribing physician. Symptoms of muscle pain should also prompt medical attention.
Statins, including those marketed under the brand names Crestor and Lipitor, are medications used to lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides and raise good cholesterol in the blood. In recent years, numerous patients taking statin have reported serious side effects, including muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) and kidney or liver damage. Many products liability lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of statin medications.
Because statin toxicity can result in adverse health effects and symptoms on its own, it is important for doctors to evaluate kidney function and whether there is drug-drug interaction. There are many other antibiotics that can be used as a safer alternative to clarithromycin and erythromycin for treating infections, including Azithromycin. Medical professionals may also choose temporarily suspend the use of statin medication while a patient takes an antibiotic. Patients should always speak openly with their physicians about possible interactions with prescriptions.
If you or someone you love has experienced rhabdomyolysis or other adverse health effects while taking a statin medication, you may have a claim for compensation. Our award-winning Florida personal injury attorneys at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin have cultivated a national reputation for handling cases of serious injury, wrongful death, and defective products, including those involving unsafe medications and pharmaceuticals.
Our legal team is readily available to review your case, discuss your rights, and explain whether you may have grounds to pursue a lawsuit for a recovery of your damages. To request a free case evaluation, call (561) 922-0258.