Drug Overview: Baycol

Baycol, generic name cerivastatin, was manufactured by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer and prescribed to lower cholesterol. The Baycol claim was that it lowered cholestoral by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver. Baycol was approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) in 1997, but was only on the market for 4 years. At least 100 deaths were attributed to Baycol during its time on the market.

Bayer voluntarily withdrew Baycol from the market in August 28, 2001, before the FDA could take action on reports of 35 deaths related to Baycol use. Most of the deaths resulted from Rhabdomyolysis, a muscle disease in which the muscle cells break down and releases their contents into the blood stream. This can be followed by renal (kidney) failure.

Baycol Side Effects – Rhabdomyolysis & Kidney Failure

The popular cholesterol-lowering drug, Baycol, was removed from the market on August 8, 2001 by its manufacturer, Bayer, when it was found to produce a sometimes deadly form of muscle damage. The drug had been approved for the US market by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) in 1997. In only 4 years on the market it is believed to have led to over 100 deaths.

The muscle condition, called rhabdomyolysis, results in a breakdown of muscle cells and the release of the cell contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to kidney failure and death. Rhabdomyolysis occurred most often in patients taking high does of Baycol, in elderly patients, and in patients combining Baycol with another drug called Gemfibrozil. Symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include:

  • Muscle weakness, tenderness, and pain
  • Dark or rust-colored urine
  • Joint pain
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

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