A safety review of trials involving up to 200,000 patients is under way by Oxford University to investigate ‘minor’ side-effects.
The most serious adverse reaction is myopathy in about one in 1,000 users, resulting in muscle pain, tenderness and weakness.
This condition can progress to rhabdomyolysis – a complete breakdown of muscle cells that can lead to kidney failure and death. In some patients muscle weakness may persist even after stopping the drugs.
Other known side-effects include an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, nausea and memory loss or ‘brain fog’.