Four years ago, the FDA declared that statins, the category of drugs meant to treat high cholesterol, should be required to carry warning labels which would include the complete list of known side effects- such as memory loss- among other things. The story was widely printed in television and print media. However, the FDA’s full statement regarding these drugs was withheld from the public.
Scarcely a day goes by when we do not learn from another new report on the ill side effect of statins. On numerous news channels, we hear that statins are being linked to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, blood clots and other dangerous conditions. One would like to hear something positive about these broadly used, massively commercially successful drugs. To the contrary, studies, numerous recalls, and lawsuits against the makers of these drugs are making it clear that statins have set the effort to defeat heart disease back as much as a decade.
The makers of statins have been targeted by many legal actions since the mid-1990s when these drugs first came to market. During that time, they have gone under one new name after another like a criminal switching aliases. Now, Lipitor- the newest face of statins- has come under the crosshairs of lawyers who specialize in medical pursuing malpractice litigation.
What is Lipitor?
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a member of the statins group of drugs, known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. It is designed to lower the level of LDL “bad cholesterol” and triglycerides in the patient’s blood stream, while- at the same time- raising HDL also called “good cholesterol.”
This drug, like other statins, is used with the intention of treating high cholesterol, decreasing the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and other heart-related problems. It is meant to aide people with these conditions who also suffer from coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other similar risk factors. It has been known to be prescribed to patients as young as age 10.
Lipitor Side Effects
As a member of the statin family of drugs, Lipitor is intended to work by preventing the liver from manufacturing a certain enzyme that is believed to produce most of the body’s cholesterol. The intention is that by inhibiting the production of the source of LDL cholesterol, physicians can treat heart disease in many of its forms.
A recent update on the drug was sparked by the FDA’s declaration that the drug must come with a full list of the possible dangerous side effects, whereas before the packaging lacked a comprehensive warning. According to the claims of numerous plaintiffs in lawsuits against the manufacturer of this drug, Pfizer’s new labels were still not adequate as they did not clarify the fact that Lipitor may be causing type 2 diabetes.
The symptoms of Lipitor-induced type 2 diabetes may include:
- Frequent Infections
- Tingling and Numbness in Hands or Feet
- Slow to Heal Cuts and Bruises
- Fatigue and Irritability
- Unusual Thirst, Hunter or Weight Loss
- Frequent Urination
In spite of the many studies which have indicated the likely connection between the use of Lipitor and type 2 diabetes, the warning labels on this drug have continued to offer inaccurate and misleading information about how the way it affects blood sugar and the fact that it can contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes- thereby placing consumers at risk. Many of the litigants believe that Pfizer has willfully neglected to update their labels to avoid losing profits that could come from warning the public more fully of the risks.
The Lipitor Marketing Campaign
Millions upon millions of people have been prescribed Lipitor. It is among the world’s best-selling drugs of all time. It was approved by the FDA in 1996 as part of a treatment regime for high cholesterol- a medical disorder which has been affecting more and more people since then- a significant indicator of the medical community and the FDA being more effective in promoting treatments aimed at reducing symptoms rather than at attacking the causes of disease. The approval that was needed to bring the drug to market was originally granted to the sub-division of the Warner-Lambert Company. Soon after that, Pfizer struck an agreement with Warner-Lambert that would allow Pfizer to sell the drug. Pfizer later purchased the Warner-Lambert Company along with the rights to Lipitor. As of 2014, Lipitor sales surpassed $140 billion globally.
The Warning Labels
While the drug company’s documents show that the drug may cause type 2 diabetes, the drugs labels- even after the FDA warning continued to read similarly to the following;
Those who are pregnant may become pregnant or are breastfeeding should not use Lipitor. You should stop taking Lipitor immediately and inform your physician if you become pregnant. Serious complications may result when certain medications are used with Lipitor. Inform all of your healthcare providers about every medication that you are currently using or any changes in the medicines you are taking including medications you stop taking.
In certain unusual cases, atorvastatin may cause the breakdown of skeletal muscle which can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any unexpected muscle discomfort, pain, weakness, or tenderness- especially if these symptoms are accompanied by fever, dark-colored urine, or lethargy.
Do not eat foods that are known to be high in cholesterol or fat. Lipitor cannot have the desired effect of lowering your cholesterol if you do not adhere to a low-cholesterol diet. Lipitor is just a part of a full and complete cholesterol reduction plan. Any such treatment plan should include exercise and healthy eating. Follow your doctor’s diet and exercise advice closely.
You’ll have noticed that there was nothing mentioned about the increased risk of diabetes. Neither was there nor has there been any mention on these labels, anything regarding the newest Lipitor-related health crisis which has come in the form of considerable amounts of the blood clot related injuries and hospitalizations which are believed to have been caused by the drug.
Blood Clots: The Latest Lipitor Health Crisis
By March of this year, more than 130,000 people were reported to have experienced dangerous side effects caused by Lipitor.
Among these, some 935 have suffered from a dangerous condition typified by blood clotting in the large veins in the legs and pelvis.
While it may be a comfort to some that the FDA has taken steps to find definite of Lipitor’s connection to type-2 diabetes, blood clots, and other side effects, it does not prevent the thousands of patients affected from suffering these side effects. Today, there are many type-2 diabetes lawsuits against Pfizer, and more legal action is expected to arise over blood clots. Many of these lawsuits have been consolidated into class action lawsuits. The drug maker, Pfizer is now facing many serious charges of criminal negligence, false advertisement, concealment of information, and the misrepresentation of their product.
How to File a Lipitor Lawsuit
If you think you, or a loved one, has been injured by Lipitor, you have legal options. You may submit a claim for review and if it qualifies- an experienced Lipitor lawyer will contact you.