Statin Use Linked To Rare Autoimmune Muscle Disease
Posted Dec 08 2010 10:20pm
Johns Hopkins researchers discover how cholesterol-lowering drugs can cause body to attack its own proteins; caution patients not to fear popular medication
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered how statins, the most commonly prescribed class of medication in the United States, appear to trigger a rare but serious autoimmune muscle disease in a small portion of the 30 million Americans who take the cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Taking statins, they found, can sometimes cause the body to produce antibodies against its own proteins, creating a condition that gets progressively worse — not better — even after the medication is discontinued. As the painful and debilitating disorder is uncommon and can be treated with steroids and other immune-suppressing drugs, the Hopkins researchers caution that people who must be on statins to reduce serious risk of heart disease and stroke should not avoid the drugs.