ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Add your Article

Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders

Want to lower cholesterol levels in hopes of preventing coronary heart disease and stroke? The odds are your doctor will probably prescribe a statin drug. In fact, a recent Forbes report found that from 11 million to 30 million Americans are already taking these drugs and many physicians argue another 25 million should be popping these pills daily. What’s often lost in the hype about this class of drugs is the reality of the side effects – sometimes serious – associated with statins, including muscle pain, neurological disorders, rashes and liver problems.

Now comes word of yet another downside to these supposedly “magic bullets” for artery clogging cholesterol. A new study led by F.W. Fraunfelder, MD, of the Casey Eye Institute of Oregon Health and Science University, is the first to systematically report on eye disorders caused by statin use. The results are published in the December issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Fraunfelder's group analyzed reports of double vision (diplopia), drooping of the upper eyelid (ptosis), and loss of full range of motion of the eyes (ophthalmoplegia) in people taking statins. Because statins are already known to cause skeletal muscle disorders in some patients, the scientists reasoned that a similar impact of the drugs on eye muscles was most likely the reason for the eye problems.

They used databases of the National Registry of Drug-Induced Ocular Side Effects, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Drug Administration to document the case reports, which included 143 males, 91 females, and 22 persons with gender unspecified. The average age of the patients was 64.5 years and the dose of statins those with eye disorders took was within the normal range recommended by drug manufacturers. On average, they took the drugs for only 8.3 months before they began to develop an adverse reaction affecting their eyes.

In all, the researchers found 23 cases of loss of eye range of motion, 8 cases of ptosis, and 18 cases of ptosis combined with double vision. The good news: These eye disorders completely went away in all patients when statins were discontinued.

"We advise physicians prescribing statins to be aware that these eye disorders may result, and that medications should be discontinued if so,” Dr. Fraunfelder concluded in a statement to the media. “When a patient has one of these eye disorders, he should be rigorously evaluated to determine the cause, and statin use should be taken into account."

The recent Forbes report on the statin industry revealed the drugs generated $34 billion in sales last year and have raked in a quarter of a trillion dollars since they were introduced about 20 years ago. The drugs are currently being increasingly pushed to a wider population, including children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended some children as young as eight should be aggressively treated with cholesterol-lowering statins, despite the fact there are no long-term studies showing the drugs are safe and effective for children.

Instead of focusing on a quick medication fix if you or your children have elevated cholesterol, consider that lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke – without the potentially dangerous side effects of drugs. According to the Mayo Clinic’s web site, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting daily exercise and managing stress are examples of lifestyle changes that will improve cholesterol, as well as most all of the other risk factors for heart disease. In fact, the Mayo Clinic notes that lifestyle changes may have a greater impact on reducing risk of heart disease and stroke than medication.

-Sherry Baker