PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A large number of patients in advanced stages of kidney disease are inappropriately being prescribed statins to lower their cholesterol, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Ali Olyaei, a professor of pharmacotherapy in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University, said the review of multiple studies, raised serious questions about the value of the statins in kidney disease.
The cholesterol-lowering drugs offer patients with kidney disease no benefit and might increase other health risks such as diabetes, dementia or muscle pain, Olyaei said.
"There is very little benefit to statin drugs for patients in the early stages of kidney disease, and no benefit or possible toxicity for patients in later stages," Olyaei said.
"I believe the evidence shows that the majority of people with chronic kidney disease are taking statins inappropriately. They might help a little in early-stage disease, but those people are not the ones who generally die from cardiovascular diseases. And by the end stages the risks outweigh any benefit."
Some of the particular risks posed by statin use, especially at higher doses, include severe muscle pain known as rhabdomyolysis, an increase in dementia and a significant increase in the risk of developing diabetes, Olyaei said.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs.