Quick Hits: Statins and Muscle Pains, Medical Errors

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The link between statins and muscle pains reported by people taking them will be analyzed in a major new trial led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The Statin WISE trial, which started last month, involve 200 participants who have recently either stopped taking statins due to less severe muscle pains, or discussed such symptoms with their doctor. After taking either a statin or placebo for 2 months, the patients will use a purpose-built smartphone app or paper diary to record their symptoms. The researchers will use this information to assess whether statins are, in fact, directly causing muscle pain or other side effects in patients. Via Drug Discovery & Development. Posted May 4, 2016.

Medical errors are now the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. Analyzing medical death rate data over an 8-year period, Johns Hopkins University patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical errors. Using hospital admission rates from 2013, researchers found that out of 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths stemmed from a medical error, which the researchers say now translates to 9.5% of all deaths each year in the U.S. Via Science Daily. Posted May 4, 2016.

The FDA has approved the first generic version of the statin Crestor (rosuvastatin). A blockbuster drug for AstraZeneca that had over $5 billion in sales last year, Crestor is the last branded statin to go generic. The drug is approved in combination with diet to lower high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia. The most common side effects reported by participants taking Crestor in clinical trials included headache, pain in muscles (myalgia), abdominal pain, abnormal weakness (asthenia), and nausea. Via FDA. Posted April 29, 2016.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young adults are twice as likely to smoke cigarettes as heterosexual adults of the same age, and the FDA hopes its new $35.7 million “This Free Life” campaign can change that. A series of videos feature LGBT youth telling their stories and experiences of coming out, facing criticism, being misunderstood and finding community: “This new life, free from judgment, free from the shadows, will also be free from tobacco,” one video says. Of the more than 2 million LGBT young adults in the U.S., more than 800,000 smoke. Via USA Today. Posted May 2, 2016.