Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interaction of Statins and Certain Antibiotics may be Dangerous

Statins such as atorvastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin are the drugs used to lower bad cholesterol level in blood. Those also have protective effect on heart.

At the same time, these drugs have various side effects too. So, mostly prescribed in lower strength. One of the major drawbacks of statins is muscular damage, though not always, called rhabdomyolysis. The next can be kidney injury.
Statin side effects
Statin side effects (Photo credit: Snipergirl)

These drugs are broken down in the liver by cytochrome P450 isoenzyme 3A4. If the enzyme is inhibited, the break down of statins decreases; and those may become available in body for longer period; continued intake of the drug results in  cumulative accumulation, thereby, increases the chances of adverse effects.
The antibiotics like clarithromycin and erythromycin inhibit the cytochrome P450 isoenzyme 3A4 in liver; co-prescription with statins may lead to pronounced adverse effects.
This has been studied by Canadian researchers and published in the June 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Clarithromycin and erythromycin are often prescribed for respiratory illness such as pneumonia. Previously, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that statins don't go well with these, and certain other drugs used to treat HIV and hepatitis.
The study authors noted that younger patients are less likely than older adults to experience serious side effects from drug interactions.
The antibiotic, azithromycin does not have this adverse effect, if taken together with stains. Some concern was expressed for use of azithromucin in the past for having adverse effects on heart, has not been sustained; as per published follow up studies.
In this situation, if the use of erythromycin or clarithromycin becomes unavoidable, statins may be stopped for some time.
The original news published in the MedlinePlus can be accessed here.
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