Zocor® and Amiodarone: A Deadly Combination
A very serious drug interaction exists between Amiodarone and the cholesterol-lowering medication simvastatin, sold under the brand name Zocor®. Amiodarone is a prescription medication used to treat and prevent certain types of serious, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Ventricular arrhythmias are a type of abnormal heart rhythm.
Amiodarone is used when other medications did not help or could not be tolerated by the patient. The use of Amiodarone with high doses of Zocor® may be associated with an increased risk of myopathy and a rare and potentially fatal form of myopathy called rhabdomyolysis.
Myopathy is a muscle disease where the muscle fibers do not function for any number of reasons. Myopathy is usually characterized by unexplained muscle weakness or pain and can be a debilitating condition.
Rhabdomyolysis occurs when damaged skeletal muscle tissue fibers break down and the muscle fibers are released into the bloodstream. The broken down tissue is eliminated from the body through the kidneys. This can cause the kidneys to become overworked resulting in potential kidney failure or death.
In 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put out a warning to notify the general public about the increased risk of rhabdomyolysis when simvastatin or Zocor® is used in combination with Amiodarone. According to the agency, the risk is dose-related and increases when the does of Zocor® is higher than 20 mg per day and taken in combination with Amiodarone.
Healthcare professionals should be aware of this risk, and they should avoid prescribing doses of more than 20 mg of Zocor® for patients who also take Amiodarone.
Other Dangerous Drug Interactions
Patients should discuss the other dangerous drug interactions that may occur when taking Zocor® with their doctors. Zocor®'s label was recently updated to include information about all the drugs that might interact with simvastatin. If you are not sure if you should be taking certain medication combinations, be sure to speak with your doctor right away.
If you've experience problems caused by drug interactions that your doctor failed to warn you about, you might be eligible for compensation. Health care providers have a responsibility to inform their patients about these risks. Contact a Zocor® attorney to learn more today.