Zocor® and Rhabdomyolysis

If you've taken Zocor® (simvastatin) and have been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, you may qualify for financial compensation. For more information, contact our Zocor® lawyers today.

What is Rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis is a rare form of myopathy, a muscle disease where the muscle fibers do not function for any number of reasons. Myopathy is one of the muscle side effects linked to the cholesterol-lowering prescription medication Zocor®, also sold under the generic name simvastatin. In some instances, patients who take Zocor® may develop a rare and serious form of myopathy called rhabdomyolysis, which results in muscle damage.

It is believed that patients taking the highest approved 80-mg dose of Zocor® are at greater risk of developing rhabdomyolysis than patients taking a lower dosage.

Rhabdomyolysis occurs when skeletal muscle tissue becomes damaged and the body releases a protein pigment called myoglobin into the bloodstream. The myoglobin is filtered out of the body through the kidneys. Myoglobin can break down into potentially harmful compounds and may block the kidneys.

The dead tissue muscle can cause large amounts of fluid to move from the blood and into the muscle, resulting in decreased blood flow to the kidneys. This can lead to various complications including kidney failure and death.

Signs and Symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis

Signs and symptom of rhabdomyolysis may include:

  • Dark red or cola-colored urine
  • Unexplained weakness
  • Muscle pain, stiffness or aching
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Weakness of the impacted muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Joint Pain

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms while taking Zocor®, you should contact your doctor. If necessary, your doctor may implement steps to help prevent kidney damage and other serious complications.

Treatment and Complications

If detected early, rhabdomyolysis may be treated with excessive fluids to help flush the myoglobin out of the kidneys and prevent any damage. Fluids may need to be administered through intravenous (IV) therapy. If rhabdomyolysis causes kidney failure, the goal of treatment is to restore kidney function and prevent fluid and waste from building up in the body while the kidneys heal.

In some instances, patients may need kidney dialysis. This is a process for removing waste and excess water from the blood and is used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function. The outlook for people who suffer kidney failure depends on the extent of kidney damage. Patients who receive treatment soon after rhabdomyolysis has been detected have a reduced risk of chronic kidney damage. People with milder cases may return to normal activity within a few weeks or a month. Patients with more severe cases may continue to have problems with fatigue and muscle pain.

There are other kidney-related complications that can arise as a result of the decreased flow of blood and oxygen that rhabdomyolysis may cause. These complications include acute tubular necrosis (ATN) and acute renal failure.

ATN is a kidney disorder where the tubular cells of the kidneys are damaged, resulting in kidney failure. It is caused by a lack of oxygen to the kidney tissue. Acute renal failure is the sudden inability for the kidneys to remove waste and concentrate urine without losing electrolytes. There are various factors that can cause acute renal failure including decreased blood flow to the kidneys.

Contact a Zocor® Attorney

If you were prescribed Zocor® or the generic form simvastatin and were diagnosed with one of the serious Zocor® side effects including myopathy or rhabdomyolysis, please contact our Zocor® attorneys. You may be eligible to file a claim to get compensation for your loss. Our attorneys provide free initial consultations for people who believe they may have a claim.

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