Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cancer-Linked Statin Cause For Concern?

A warning of a possible link between one cholesterol-reducing statin and a possible cancer risk is being reported by the BBC after it was widely reported in today's Mail and Daily Telegraph.

The controversy centres on one statin called Simvastatin, Ezetimibe, the approval by NICE and a move by NHS Trusts to switch people from their usual statin to Simvastatin because it is cheaper. 

All today's reports highlight one particular piece of research which shows possible links between Simvastatin and Ezetimibe and cancer.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has urged both healthcare professionals and patients to report side effects from the use of simvastatin/ezetimibe to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

Here, the drug watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) approved wider use of the drug, which includes the statin, Simvastatin and a drug called Ezetimibe, last November.

Following this, it is understood a number of NHS Trusts directed GPs to switch patients to Simvastatin.

A Google search of  "Simvastatin and chronic myeloid leukemia" or "Simvastatin and chronic lymphocytic leukemia" brings up a number of respected clinical medical research documents investigating a possible link between the two. 

Was NICE aware of this on-going medical research and possible link, when it gave the drug approval in November? 

A spokesman for pharmaceutical company Merck Schering-Plough, which makes drug, said that it believed the findings were an "anomaly", but it was working to examine the study further.

The BBC, Mail and Daily Telegraph repeat the advice - if you are worried see your GP.

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