Common cholesterol medicine may harm kidney health, study finds

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Cholesterol is a fatty substance in our blood that can cause health problems if there’s too much of it. To lower cholesterol, many people take medicines called statins.

Rosuvastatin is a popular type of statin. However, a recent study has raised concerns about its safety, especially when taken in high doses.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University conducted a detailed investigation into rosuvastatin. They wanted to find out if this medicine could harm the kidneys.

Earlier studies had suggested that rosuvastatin might cause two problems in the kidneys: blood in the urine (hematuria) and protein in the urine (proteinuria).

These issues were noted even when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the drug. But since then, not much research has been done to see how common these problems are in people taking the drug in their daily lives.

To get a better understanding, the research team looked at medical records from 2011 to 2019.

They focused on two groups of people: those who started taking rosuvastatin (152,101 people) and those who started taking another statin called atorvastatin (795,799 people). They followed these people for three years to see what happened to them.

Here’s what they found: 2.9% of the people taking rosuvastatin had blood in their urine, and 1.0% had protein in their urine. When compared to atorvastatin, rosuvastatin seemed more risky.

People taking rosuvastatin had an 8% higher chance of getting blood in their urine, a 17% higher chance of having protein in their urine, and a 15% higher chance of their kidneys failing.

Kidney failure is a serious condition where the kidneys can’t clean the blood properly. It can require treatments like dialysis (a machine that cleans your blood) or even a kidney transplant.

The risks were even higher for people who took larger doses of rosuvastatin.

Surprisingly, the study found that 44% of people with advanced kidney problems were given higher doses of rosuvastatin than what the FDA recommends for people with poor kidney function.

Despite these risks, the study noted that rosuvastatin and atorvastatin were equally good at protecting the heart.

But because of the potential kidney risks, especially with high doses, the researchers suggest that high-dose rosuvastatin might not be the best choice for people, particularly if they already have kidney problems.

This important research was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and led by Jung-im Shin and colleagues.

It highlights the need to weigh the benefits and risks of medicines, especially when treating common conditions like high cholesterol.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about why vitamin K is so important for older people, and this snack food may harm your heart rhythm.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about vitamin that may protect you from type 2 diabetes, and results showing this common chemical in food may harm your blood pressure.

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