Lipitor (atorvastatin) was released on the market in 1996, and quickly became a bestselling cholesterol-lowering drug. Prescribed to treat patients with high cholesterol levels or who are otherwise at risk for a heart attack or stroke, the drug works by inhibiting the enzyme œHMG CoA reductase, which is critical in the process of producing cholesterol. Studies have shown that Lipitor can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but it has also been linked with an increase of muscle damage, memory loss, liver problems, and diabetes.
Lipitor Serious Side Effects
Like all statin drugs, Lipitor may increase risk of muscle wasting, called œmyopathy. Also called œmuscle disease, it’s a condition in which the muscle fibers don’t function as they should, resulting in aches, pains, and weakness, as well as cramps, stiffness, and spasms. If left untreated, the wasting of the muscle can eventually overpower the kidneys’ ability to clean it out of the system, resulting in a condition called œrhabdomyolysis”an outright destruction of muscle cells that can lead to kidney problems and even kidney failure.
In 2012, the FDA also stated that Lipitor and other statins may increase the risk of confusion and memory loss, and that these effects could occur immediately after starting the drug, or even several years later. Liver problems may also occur, but are rare.
Lipitor Diabetes In Women
A number of studies have linked the use of statins, and Lipitor in particular, to an increase risk of diabetes. Starting in 2009 with the JUPITER trial, scientists found over and over again that those taking the drugs were more likely to be later diagnosed with diabetes.
The risk seems especially concerning for postmenopausal women. A study published in Arch Intern Med. reported that statin use in postmenopausal women was associated with a nearly 50 percent increased risk of diabetes. In the study, 6.4 percent of women not taking statins developed diabetes, while nearly 10 percent of women using them developed the disease.
A number of patients who were seriously injured when taking Lipitor have filed lawsuits against manufacturer Pfizer in an attempt to recover damages. Plaintiffs argue that the company put profits ahead of safety, and should have done a better job of warning patients and doctors about the risks. The label wasn’t updated to include the diabetes risk until the FDA required the change in 2012.
As of January 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is considering consolidating all federal Lipitor lawsuits into one court for more streamlined pre-trial proceedings. Court documents show that as of this date, more than 100 Lipitor lawsuits had been filed around the country. Meanwhile, coordinated federal Lipitor lawsuits continue in the Southern District of Illinois and the District of South Carolina.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury as a result of taking Lipitor, you may be eligible to file a Lipitor lawsuit. An experienced Lipitor lawyer can help guide you through the complicated legal processes to be sure you take advantage of every avenue in your quest to recover damages. Your initial consultation is complementary.