April 2nd, 2008


On Zocor (a Statin) for High Blood Pressure

--an enzyme blocker (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor)
--a substrate of cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4)
--a "statin"
--blocks the production of cholesterol in the body
--prescribed for adults, children down to 10 years of age and girls who have menstruated for at least a year
--used along with a proper diet to help lower cholesterol and fats (triglycerides) in the blood
--(rare) can cause the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue leading to kidney failure, look for muscle pain or tenderness, muscle weakness, fever or flu symptoms, dark colored urine
--in 2006 zocor was the second best selling drug in the U.S.
--Zocor lost its patent protections in June 2006, so generics are available
--Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, and other drugs in the "statin" class have been judged by many experts to be "pretty much interchangeable"
--can cause birth defects in an unborn baby
--DO NOT USE if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or have liver disease
--BEWARE if you have diabetes, underactive thyroid, kidney disease, muscle or blood disorder --Zocor 5 mg - shield-shaped, buff, film-coated tablets
--Zocor 10 mg - shield-shaped, peach-colored, film-coated tablets
--Zocor 20 mg - shield-shaped, tan, film-coated tablets
--Vytorin contains both Zetia (ezetimibe) and Zocor (simvastatin) in one tablet
--USU prescribed after non-drug treatment options have not been successful at lowering cholesterol (e.g., diet change, increase in exercise, weight loss if overweight)
--familial hypercholesterolemia may require more frequent dosing
--AVOID eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while being treated with this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise
--costs $4/pill or $2/pill for generic
--one statin isn't any better than any other (except, perhaps, some are more dangerous)
--statins are "one of the most unnecessary drugs in medicine" (Mercola)
--There are a small group of people with genetic enzyme defects that have cholesterols levels above 325-350. These are about the only individuals in my experience, who seem to benefit from statins. In my practice of 10,000 patients there has been a grand total of three patients that required statins to control this genetic problem.
--pretty much every other person can normalize their cholesterol levels with diet & exercise
--physicians are prescribing these drugs for anyone with a heart attack, even if their cholesterol level is already dangerously low (below 150).
--nearly all conventional physicians fail to appreciate is that there is a danger of having a cholesterol that is too low.
--Mercola's plan (what to do instead of taking statins):
1) normalize your insulin levels by eliminating sugar and grains from your diet
2) take a high-quality fish oil that is chock full of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids
3) check your iron levels as elevated levels of iron can cause major oxidative damage in the blood vessels, heart and other organs
4) get regular exercise
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