Statin Side Effects Documented Online

Physician's Money Digest, March 2007, Volume 14, Issue 3

Patients rely on you to prescribe effective and safe medications, with the full knowledge of any potential usage hazards. But some physicians and patients believe that the listed side effects of statins may not be as revealing as research suggests. A recent Wall Street Journal article explores a new Web site funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and run by Dr. Beatrice Golomb that encourages patients taking statins to participate in a survey, which will lead to a more complete scope of potential dangers. Dr. Golomb decided to begin the Statin Effects Survey Web site (www.statineffects.com) after learning that although males are the most common users of statins, women are more likely to report effects—resulting in skewed statistics. Due to procedural changes between 1999 and 2002 (ie, label warnings and length of drug availability), "nonserious side effects" are less likely to be listed on research databases. As a result, Dr. Golomb has fielded many complaints that are not officially listed as effects, including muscle fatigue, thinking problems, and weakness. The Web site aims to help patients and physicians in finding the proper medicine and care for each statin user.