Baycol is classified as a “statin” and is used to lower cholesterol. It works by blocking cholesterol production in the liver. Baycol reduces the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the bloodstream. It also works to reduce the amount of triglycerides and apolipoprotein B in the blood while increasing the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol. Baycol is taken to reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, which can occur as a result of hardened arteries.
Baycol was first approved by the FDA in 1997 and was being used by nearly 700,000 Americans by 2001. It was marketed to be a competitor for the popular cholesterol drug Lipitor. Baycol was voluntarily recalled by Bayer AG, the manufacturer of the drug, after it was linked to serious side effects.
Since Bayer’s withdrew Baycol, the drug has been linked to more than 100 deaths due to Rhabdomyolysis, kidney failure and renal failure. 385 nonfatal cases of Rhabdomyolysis were also reported. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition where the skeletal muscle tissue breaks down rapidly. This causes a release of toxins into the body which can lead to renal failure.
The FDA reported in 2011 that 31 Americans had died as a result of the disease. Most deaths occurred under conditions such as patients taking a high dose of Baycol, elderly patients, and patients that took Baycol in combination with gemfibrozil.
Side effects include but are not limited to:
- Leg pain
- Chest pain
- Flu syndrome
- Back pain
- Abdominal pain
- Accidental injury