Cerivastatin is a medication that was once used in the treatment of patients diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia. Hypercholesterolemia is a condition that causes very high levels of cholesterol in the blood. This can often lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the blood vessels, which can further result in the development of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attacks. In 1997, the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of cerivastatin. It was, however, withdrawn from the market in 2001, because of the serious side effects that were associated with it.
The action of cerivastatin decreases the amount of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a fatty substances important in hormone production. Triglycerides are another type of fats that also store energy. LDL cholesterol is commonly known as the bad cholesterol. Intake of cerivastatin also increases the blood level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also referred to as the good cholesterol.
Side effects associated with cerivastatin intake include blurring of vision, fever, headache, and abdominal pain. Allergic reactions were also observed with its use, often resulting in rashes, breathing or swallowing difficulty, and swelling of the face and lips. Rhabdomyolysis is a serious side effect of cerivastatin. In this condition, the muscle fibers break down and they are released into the blood circulation. When blood enters the kidneys, these substances can cause harm and damage to the kidney tissues and frequently result in kidney failure and sometimes, death.
Several precautions were given to patients prescribed with cerivastatin. For instance, alcohol is not to be taken with this drug as these substances can increase the risk of damage to the liver. A liver function test was usually done to monitor the possible side effects of the drug in the liver. Grapes may interact with the drug, thus, patients were advised against drinking grape juice or eating the fruit. Those suffering from kidney problems and long-term muscle diseases were also monitored closely during treatment, and may need to have their drug dosage adjusted.
Pregnant women who have taken cerivastatin during pregnancy may give birth to an infant with birth defects. This is because the drug stops the production of cholesterol, and cholesterol is often needed for the proper development and growth of the baby. Women who breastfeed their babies were also not given this medication as the drug is known to pass through breast milk.