Consumers are constantly inundated by new medications which have been approved to treat a variety of health conditions. The public depends on drug manufacturing companies and the FDA to provide them with accurate information regarding the benefits and risks of their medications. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies conceal the most serious side effects associated with their drugs in order to expedite the FDA approval process, thereby putting millions of consumers unknowingly at risk for injury, illness and even death. Without correct and updated information, consumers are robbed of their right to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a medication, depending on all the risks and benefits involved.
When Crestor, an anti-cholesterol medication manufactured by AstraZeneca, was approved by the FDA in 2003, it seemed like the perfect medication for the millions of Americans who suffered from high cholesterol and were at risk for heart disease and stroke. For years though, Crestor caused significant concern among the public and consumer interest organizations because of the dangerous side effects associated with the drug, but the FDA refused to pull it off the market. In fact, in 2010, the FDA approved a wider use of Crestor, which allowed the drug to be marketed to healthy individuals who show no signs of heart disease but who may be at risk for heart attack and stroke, according to several factors, including age, level of C-reactive protein, and at least one other cardiovascular risk factor. Despite the increase in approved Crestor use, a number of side effects have been linked to the drug, including liver damage, kidney damage, type II diabetes, severe muscle deterioration, and heart attack and stroke, the very diseases the drug is intended to prevent. With the expanded use of Crestor, 6.5 million healthy Americans are now exposed to the dangers of the medication.
A stroke is very similar to a heart attack, but it affects the brain instead of the heart. Strokes occur when the blood flow, which is transported to the brain by the arteries, is blocked, restricting the brain’s blood supply. Without the essential oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood, brain cells become damaged and prolonged restriction of blood supply may result in cell death. The most common symptoms of stroke are loss of consciousness, loss of coordination, weakness of facial muscles, weakness in the arm, leg, or both on the same side, vision problems, sudden headache, and difficulty speaking. In severe cases of stroke, individuals may suffer from cerebral swelling, seizures, intracranial hemorrhage, increased intracranial pressure, and seizures. The brain is responsible for the majority of the body’s actions, and damage to brain cells can result in loss of mental function, permanent paralysis, and speech problems, among other serious complications.
The dangers of the statin drug, Crestor, have been apparent for several years. In 2005, the FDA required AstraZeneca to update the Crestor label to include the side effect, rhabdomyolysis, a severe disease which results in rapid deterioration of the body’s muscle. The body’s most important muscle, the heart, is responsible for providing the body’s vital organs, including the brain, with the blood they need to survive and function. With the devastating breakdown of muscle, the integrity of the heart muscle may be compromised, putting all other bodily organs at risk for irreversible damage due to lack of oxygen. Without its oxygen and blood supply, the brain may suffer a stroke.
The FDA’s decision to approve the new indication for Crestor was largely influenced by a study which determined that the drug could decrease the risk of heart attack by 55% and stroke by 48%. However, experts warn that consumers should consider all aspects of these supposedly “revealing” results. Because this study compared virtually healthy individuals with individuals taking a placebo, in reality, the 55% reduction only translates to two people out of 1,000. In other words, 500 people would have to take Crestor for a year in order for one heart attack to be avoided, and similar results were estimated for stroke. Furthermore, this highly influential study was actually sponsored and funded by AstraZeneca, Crestor’s own creators.
Crestor has been revealed as an extremely dangerous medication which can cause serious complications for consumers. A stroke is a severely debilitating event and individuals who suffer from a stroke will likely experience life-long side effects from the condition. Victims of Crestor-related injury are not at fault and deserve to receive reimbursement for their injuries. Pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for the harmful side effects of their medications. If you or a loved one has suffered from a stroke and you believe Crestor to be the cause, contact a Crestor attorney for legal advice. Qualified Crestor lawyers are experienced in defective drug litigation and will discuss with you the benefits of filing a defective drug lawsuit. You deserve to collect compensation for your injuries and a Crestor attorney can help you stand up against the drug manufacturing company responsible for your injury or illness.