People taking commonly prescribed cholesterol drugs could be putting themselves at risk of serious kidney damage, research has suggested.
Statins are typically prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, particularly in patients with diabetes or angina.
But they can also increase the likelihood of liver dysfunction, acute kidney failure, muscle damage and cataracts, the study said.
The drug had already been linked to insomnia, constipation, diarrhoea, headaches, loss of appetite and loss of sensation or pain in the nerve endings of the hands and feet.
Nevertheless, experts said the drugs were effective and should not be abandoned.
“We already know that a small number of people taking statins experience unwanted side effects,” said a British Heart Foundation spokeswoman.
“However for people with, or at high risk of heart disease, the benefits of statins far outweigh this risk.”
The study, which followed more than two million people in England and Wales, was published in the British Medical Journal.
Copyright Press Association 2010
British Medical Journal