June 7, 2012 — Users of the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor (simvastin) have filed a class action lawsuit against Merck & Co., alleging that the medication lacked proper warnings about the risk of rhabdomyolysis and potential muscle injuries. The class action lawsuit was filed in June 1, 2012 by Irene Richardson, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiff alleges that Merck & Co. is responsible for failing to adequately warn about the risk of side effects.
In part, the lawsuit states that “the pharmaceutical drug, Zocor, is defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable for be marketed and sold in commerce, and lacked proper warnings to the dangers associated with its use.”
Zocor has been linked to rhabdomyolysis, a disease that causes the rapid breakdown of muscle fibers. It causes the release of muscle fiber contents into the bloodstream, which can cause severe kidney injury or death. Long-term complications often involve fatigue and muscle pain.
In June of 2011, the FDA restricted sales of 80-mg Zocor due to the risk of rhabdomyolysis and muscle degeneration (myopathy). This warning also includes twice-a-day 40-mg Zocor. The FDA advised that doctors should not place any new patients on high-dose treatment with Zocor due to the risk of muscle problems.
Two other Zocor lawsuits were also filed in federal courts in Louisiana. All of the plaintiffs have similar complaints against Merck — including allegations that the company intentionally withheld risk information and failed to warn doctors and their patients about the life-threatening side effects of Zocor.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for their injuries, as well as a new monitoring program to help doctors identify Zocor-induced muscle side effects early. This could help prevent severe, life-threatening rhabdomyolysis or other side effects.