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Patients Can Report Statins' Adverse Effects on New Web Site

A new web site at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine – http://www.statineffects.com – will enable people from around the world// to self-report adverse effects of statin drug use, or use of other cholesterol drugs.

“This line of research is important because many physicians and other experts in heart disease and cholesterol are familiar with the benefits of statins and other cholesterol drugs, but are unfamiliar with the adverse experiences with these drugs that many people have reported – such as effects on muscle pain or weakness, memory and thinking, or mood,” said Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, and head of the UCSD Statin Study.

A statin is any of a class of lipid-lowering drugs that reduce serum cholesterol levels by inhibiting a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Statin cholesterol-lowering drugs are among the most prescribed drugs in the United States. According to Consumer Reports, two such drugs – atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor) – were #1 and #2 best-selling drugs in the country in 2004, with 75 million prescriptions for Lipitor alone. Although pharmaceutical companies report that side effects of statin drugs are rare, there are some patients who experience serious consequences of taking these drugs.

“We received many calls from patients in the community experiencing side effects, and wanting answers about what to expect. We developed this web site as a tool to gather information on side effects, and to help answer these questions,” said Golomb.

The site will provide access to a broad group of people, facilitating the opportunity for patients to confidentially share information about their experience, said Golomb, who adds that a comprehensive understanding of the impact of cholesterol-lowering medications, including statins, has not been undertaken. The site also provides information on statin use, including
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