Baycol is a cholesterol lowering drug manufactured by Bayer. It is one of a family of cholesterol lowering drugs called “statins.” Statins lower cholesterol levels by blocking a specific enzyme in the body that is involved in the synthesis of cholesterol. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), while all statins have been associated with very rare reports of rhabdomyolysis, cases of fatal rhabdomyolysis in association with the use of Baycol have been reported significantly more frequently than for other approved statins.
Fatal rhabdomyolysis reports with Baycol have been reported most frequently when used at higher doses, when used in elderly patients, and particularly, when used in combination with gemfibrozil (LOPID and generics), another lipid lowering drug. FDA has received reports of 31 U.S. deaths due to severe rhabdomyolysis associated with use of Baycol, 12 of which involved concomitant gemfibrozil use.
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that results in muscle cell breakdown and release of the contents of muscle cells into the bloodstream. Symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include muscle pain, weakness, tenderness, malaise, fever, dark urine, nausea, and vomiting. The pain may involve specific groups of muscles or may be generalized throughout the body.
Most frequently the involved muscle groups are the calves and lower back; however, some patients report no symptoms of muscle injury. In rare cases the muscle injury is so severe that patients develop renal failure and other organ failure, which can be fatal.
Bayer has withdrawn Baycol from the U.S. market.
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