The People's Pharmacy

Joe Graedon, M.S.,and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.

Q. I’ve been experiencing illness that I think is related to Crestor prescribed by my primary care provider to lower cholesterol. I’ve had fever, fatigue and dark urine. I believe that even though I work out regularly, I have experienced muscle damage.

Can this damage be reversed? I lead a healthy lifestyle and hope that I will be able to recuperate. What can you tell me about this medicine and its side effects?

A. Statins such as rosuvastatin (Crestor) can cause a life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo for short). Although rhabdo is relatively rare, it occurs when muscles break down. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, muscle tenderness and weakness, dark urine (tea colored) and fever. Kidney failure can result.

Please notify your physician immediately. She will want to run tests for creatine kinase, myoglobin, creatinine and potassium. You will likely be told to stop the statin immediately. If you do have rhabdo and the drug is eliminated promptly, your muscles and kidney function should recover.

Q. I have been hearing on the grapevine that many people are using ivermectin to both prevent and treat COVID-19. What little credible information I could find about it says that it is designed to be used in animals, not humans. Apparently, it is dosed according to weight.

I also read that the studies that purportedly prove its value in humans have serious methodological flaws. Do you have any further information about using ivermectin in humans?

A. The ivermectin story is complicated and controversial. This drug was first introduced by Merck in 1981 to treat parasites in animals.

It was later introduced to overcome river blindness (onchocerciasis) in humans. Ivermectin has saved the eyesight of millions of people in Africa. Ivermectin has also been prescribed off-label to treat lice and scabies in children and adults.

Data on the use of ivermectin against COVID-19 are confusing. Some high-profile research papers have recently been retracted (Nature, Aug. 2, 2021). Until there are bigger and better clinical trials, we doubt that many physicians will prescribe ivermectin for COVID-19. Experts expect the results of ongoing trials by the end of the year.

Q. I have suffered with rosacea for more than 30 years. I have tried all the treatments that I could find. The only thing that has helped me is light therapy.

I am thrilled with the results, which were immediate when I first started using it. I use it for three minutes daily now to maintain control.

The red light kills mites and reduces inflammation and redness better than anything I’ve tried.

A. Rosacea is a skin condition in which chronic inflammation leads to redness, pimples and sometimes lumps and bumps (called phyma). According to a recent review, there is evidence to support vascular lasers and light devices to treat the tiny blood vessels that cause redness (Skin Therapy Letter, July 2021). A recent study shows that pro-yellow laser can reduce the density of Demodex mites, which are linked to rosacea (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 20, 2021). We could find no controlled trials of red light treatment for rosacea, but case reports of LED therapy are promising (Journal of Medical Case Reports, Jan. 28, 2020).

(In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, Fla. 32803, or email them via their website: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.)

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