High doses of cholesterol drug may raise muscle injury risk, FDA warns
SILVER SPRING, Md. Patients taking a common drug for treating high cholesterol may be at increased risk of muscle injury, the Food and Drug Administration warned Friday.
The FDA warned patients and healthcare professionals of the risk of muscle injury, also known as myopathy, in patients taking simvastatin in the 80-mg strength. Though muscle injury is a side effect common among all statins, the agency said patients taking higher doses of simvastatin run a higher risk. Of particular concern is the risk of rhabdomyolysis, a severe form of myopathy that can lead to kidney damage, kidney failure and sometimes death.
Merck originally marketed simvastatin under the brand name Zocor, and it is now available as a generic from several suppliers. It’s also an active ingredient in several other cholesterol-lowering drugs, including the Merck’s Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) and Simcor (niacin and simvastatin), marketed by Abbott and Solvay Pharmaceuticals. All formulations of Simcor contain only 20 mg of simvastatin, though Vytorin is available with 80 mg, according to an FDA database.
“Review of simvastatin is part of an ongoing FDA effort to evaluate the risk of statin-associated muscle injury and to provide that information to the public as it becomes available,” FDA Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products deputy director Eric Colman said in a statement. “It’s important for patients and healthcare professionals to consider all the potential risks and known benefits of any drug before deciding on any one therapy or dose of therapy.”
Walgreens to acquire pharmacy business, other assets from Memphis USA Drug stores
DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens reached an agreement with USA Drug to acquire the prescription files and other assets of 17 Ike’s and Super D drug stores in the Memphis area.
Walgreens will purchase the prescription files at each of the 17 locations and transfer them to nearby Walgreens pharmacies. Patients whose prescriptions are being transferred will be notified by letter once the transaction has been completed later this month.
In related news, Walgreens currently is in negotiations with USA Drug to acquire two Ike’s drug stores. Walgreens said it would most likely staff most of the store positions with the existing employees.
The acquisition is subject to certain customary terms and conditions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We have a long history of providing high quality pharmacy services in the Memphis area with our first store in the city opening in 1927,” said Walgreens market VP Connie Latta. “Our staffs are ready to make the transition as seamless as possible for our new customers. We look forward to introducing them to the unique offerings that have made Walgreens one of the country’s most trusted providers of health and wellness services and basic needs.”
PhRMA names new chairman
WASHINGTON The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America elected Pfizer president and CEO Jeffrey Kindler as its board chairman Thursday at the trade organization’s annual meeting in Washington.
PhRMA also elected Sanofi-Aventis CEO Christopher Viehbacher as chairmen-elect of the board of directors and Eli Lilly & Co. president, CEO and chairman John Lechleiter as board treasurer. Kindler succeeds AstraZeneca executive director and CEO David Brennan as chairman.
“Great leadership requires patients, decisiveness, intelligence, execution and compassion,” PhRMA president and CEO Billy Tauzin said. “David encompasses all of these qualities and much more.”