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High potency statins pose 'bigger risk' of kidney damage

Patients taking “high potency” statins have a significantly higher risk of being admitted to hospital with acute kidney injury (AKI) than those who use “low potency” drugs, researchers said.

Those taking high potency drugs have a 34% increased risk of being admitted with AKI, a Canadian study found.

Every day between six and seven million people in the UK take statins, which are used to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Researchers examined the health records of two million patients taking the drugs in the UK, US and Canada between 1997 and 2008.

They classed rosuvastatin at doses of 10mg or higher, atorvastatin at doses of 20mg or higher, and simvastatin at doses of 40mg or more as high potency and all others as low potency.

The study, published on bmj.com, found high potency statin users were 34% more likely to be treated in hospital for AKI compared with low potency statin users in the first 120 days of treatment.

Acute kidney injury, or acute renal failure, is the term used when the kidneys suddenly become unable to remove salt, water and waste products from the bloodstream.

“Use of high potency statins is associated with an increased rate of diagnosis for acute kidney injury in hospital admissions compared with low potency statins,” the authors said.

“The effect seems to be strongest in the first 120 days after initiation of statin treatment.”

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