Statins prompt safety alerts

Cholesterol medication linked to cognitive side-effects

Cholesterol-reducing medications, which include some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, have been linked by federal health officials to rare cases of memory loss, diabetes and muscle pain.

Statins such as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Vytorin are already known to produce cognitive problems like forgetfulness and confusion in patients, but the Food and Drug Administration added new safety alerts to prescribing information on Feb. 28, according to the New York Times. There has long been debate over whether the drugs are too liberally prescribed; 21 million Americans were prescribed statins last year.

The FDA maintained those currently taking statins to manage their cholesterol should not be scared away by the advisory because the negative side effects are rare.

“Their benefit is indisputable,” said Dr. Amy G. Egan of the FDA’s division of metabolism and endocrinology, “but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.”