Why Use Zocor? The Why and How of Statins
Zocor is one of many statin drugs that have proven highly successful in lowering not only “bad” cholesterol levels, but also the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. But if statins such as Zocor are really the “wonder drugs” that many in the medical community make them out to be, why are so many patients considering Zocor lawsuits? One of the best ways to understand the dangerous Zocor side effects that have led to these Zocor lawsuits is to understand how statins work in the first place.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the blood that is needed for essential functions such as generating cell membranes, insulating nerves, and producing hormones. The body is capable of producing all of the cholesterol it requires, with most cholesterol produced by the liver. Cholesterol is also received into the body externally, through foods such as dairy products and meats. An excessive amount of cholesterol can be harmful because it can lead to blockages in the blood vessels.
Zocor used to fight LDL “bad cholesterol”
Cholesterol is delivered through the bloodstream by vehicles called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol,” carry cholesterol to the body, while high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good cholesterol,” carry it out of the bloodstream.
Too many LDLs in the blood can form plaque, a grimy wax that builds up on the inner walls of the blood vessels that service the heart and brain. An excess in plaque results in artherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Plaque build-up narrows blood vessels to the point where clots can occur. Side effects of blood clots include heart attack and stroke.
To sum up, high LDL levels increase risk for heart disease and stroke. That’s where statins such as Zocor, also known as simvastatin, come in. Referred to as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, statins decrease cholesterol by blocking the liver substance responsible for making cholesterol. Statins also aid the body in removing cholesterol that has been clogging arteries.
Increasingly, statins have been additionally prescribed to patients who exhibit normal LDL levels, but who have high levels of a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) that is linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and arterial revascularization.
Why there are Zocor lawsuits
So why have there been so many reports in the news lately about injured patients launching Zocor lawsuits? That’s because of dangerous Zocor side effects such as muscle injury, muscle weakness (including near-paralysis), and rhambodolyosis, which occurs when fragments of deteriorated muscle tissue break off into the bloodstream. When they reach the kidney, these muscle fibers can cause kidney damage, and total kidney failure. If untreated, rhambodolyosis can be fatal. Zocor side effects also include an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Recent speculation within the medical community has surrounded the issue of whether the rare and severe muscle disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome should also be added to the long list of Zocor side effects.
In June 2011, the FDA responded to the growing number of Zocor lawsuits by issuing a public safety alert about Zocor side effects. The FDA ordered that the maximum 80mg dose of the drug should no longer be prescribed to new patients due to the risk of muscle-related Zocor side effects.