Common medications used to treat high cholesterol and irregular heart beats can pose serious health risks for patients when taken together. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that severe muscle damage can occur because of a problem in the way the medicines interact.
The FDA is encouraging doctors to use caution when prescribing Vytorin, Zocor, or generic Zocor to those who are also taking a heart rhythm drug called amiodarone, which is marketed as Cordarone or Pacerone. The agency suggests that doctors prescribe other cholesterol drugs to patients taking the heart rhythm medication.
Patients who take more than 20 milligrams a day of the cholesterol drugs have a higher risk of suffering muscle damage. Elderly patients also have a higher chance of injury. While the risk of muscle impairment is generally low, it can be extremely dangerous, as it can result in kidney failure and death.