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  • FDA Date: 02/28/2012

    Statins FDA Drug Safety Communication

    Important safety label changes to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs

    This information reflects FDA's current analysis of data available to FDA concerning this drug. FDA intends to update this sheet when additional information or analyses become available.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved important safety label changes for the class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. These changes were made to provide the public with more information for the safe and effective use of statins and are based on FDA's comprehensive review of the statin class of drugs. The changes include the following:

    Monitoring Liver Enzymes

    Labels have been revised to remove the need for routine periodic monitoring of liver enzymes in patients taking statins. The labels now recommend that liver enzyme tests should be performed before starting statin therapy and as clinically indicated thereafter. FDA has concluded that serious liver injury with statins is rare and unpredictable in individual patients, and that routine periodic monitoring of liver enzymes does not appear to be effective in detecting or preventing serious liver injury.

    Adverse Event Information

    Information about the potential for generally non-serious and reversible cognitive side effects (memory loss, confusion, etc.) and reports of increased blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels has been added to the statin labels. FDA continues to believe that the cardiovascular benefits of statins outweigh these small increased risks.

    Drug Interactions

    The lovastatin label has been extensively updated with new contraindications (situations when the drug should not be used) and dose limitations when it is taken with certain medicines that can increase the risk for muscle injury.

    Healthcare professionals should refer to the drug labels for the latest recommendations for prescribing statins.

    View the full FDA Drug Safety Communication on FDA.gov