ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
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
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
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