‘High-Potency’ Statins Raise Risk of Acute Kidney Injury by More than a Third

by Leigh on March 20, 2013

statins and acute kidney injury

Spilling the secrets about statins and their side-effects.

Should you need more incentive to take a natural approach to lowering cholesterol and your risk for heart disease, a new study suggests that high potency statins could increase your risk of acute kidney injury by more than a third. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, researchers who carried out this study looked at over two million patients taking Crestor at 10mg, 20mg or 40mg per day and found that higher doses of the cholesterol-lowering drug increased risk of acute kidney injury by 34%.

With other concerns about the adverse effects of statins, it is alarming that some have called recently for everyone over fifty to be taking these drugs. At Naturally Healthy Heart we’d like to offer some alternative ways to lower cholesterol, where the only side-effects are better health and happiness overall.

Why High Cholesterol is Bad for You

Rosuvastatin, atorvastatin and simvastatin were the drugs included in this trial and each drug is purported to lower cholesterol. For those with very high total cholesterol and bad cholesterol the drugs can be very helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Some people have metabolic conditions that mean their cholesterol levels remain problematic, even when their lifestyle and diet is healthy and the drugs can be lifesaving for these people. Others who have the option of choosing a healthier way to lower cholesterol may not be encouraged to do so if their physician offers them a ‘magic pill.’ Patients who simply take the drugs and do little to reduce other risk factors and the things contributing to their high cholesterol still remain unhealthy and there is concern that statins are simply seen as an easy option that lowers just one health parameter.

How Many People Take Statins?

One in three people over the age of 45 takes statins, amounting to some 17 million users in the US alone. The side-effects of statins form an ever-growing list and some are potentially fatal. The statin backlash has grown over recent years but physicians continue to rely on these drugs as trials of alternatives, such as niacin, have proven less effective or even overtly dangerous. Many physicians prescribe statins even when a patient has no risk factors for heart disease aside from high overall cholesterol, leaving many to wonder what the benefit is for such patients.

Statins and Acute Kidney Injury Risk

This latest study simply adds to the concerns over statin misuse and, dare we say, abuse, for that’s what it is when a potentially fatal drug is prescribed for patients who have viable healthy alternatives to lowering cholesterol and reducing their risk of heart disease naturally. Patients currently have a system they can use to compare the potential risks of statin-related kidney injury to possible benefits of the drugs but this scoring system is not widely known about and does not take into account the differences between higher doses of statins and this apparent increased risk of acute kidney injury. It may be that this study results in changes to the scoring system to more accurately reflect risk from statins and that more patients are prescribed lower dose statins in addition to lifestyle and dietary changes as a way of stabilising arterial plaques whilst lowering cholesterol naturally.


Dormuth CR, Hemmelgarn BR, Paterson JM, et al. Use of high potency statins and rates of admission for acute kidney injury: multicenter, retrospective observational analysis of administrative databases. BMJ 2013; DOI:10.1136/bmj.f880.

Fassett RG and Coombes JS. Statins in acute kidney injury: friend or foe? BMJ 2013; DOI:10.1136/bmj.f1531.

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