Despite the growing popularity of Lipitor and other statin drugs like Crestor and Zocor for reducing cholesterol levels, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer in recent years, on behalf of Lipitor patients who have experienced serious side effects like Type 2 diabetes allegedly caused by the statin medication. Additionally, product liability lawyers across the country are investigating Lipitor claims involving alleged side effects of the statin drug. If you took Lipitor to control your cholesterol, and you have since experienced Type 2 diabetes or another serious medical condition, contact a reputable attorney in your area to discuss the benefits of filing a drug injury lawsuit against Pfizer.
For people with high cholesterol, there are steps you can take to lower your cholesterol naturally, with supplements and herbs, rather than taking statins or another type of pharmaceutical drug, including trying the following:
Lipitor, known generically as atorvastatin, belongs to a class of medications called statins, which are commonly prescribed to manage high cholesterol in patients, by reducing levels of triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) in the blood, and increasing levels of “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL). While cholesterol plays an important role in several of the body’s processes, unhealthy levels of cholesterol can lead to serious medical complications. Lipitor blocks enzymes that the liver uses to produce cholesterol and prevents dangerous blockages in blood flow, thereby reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack and certain heart and blood vessel problems in patients with Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors. Lipitor is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and was approved for use in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996.
Since Lipitor first entered the market nearly two decades ago, the statin drug has become one of the most widely-prescribed cholesterol medications in the United States, and tops the list of statin drugs. In fact, with cumulative sales exceeding $130 billion, Lipitor holds the title as the world’s best-selling prescription drug of all time, which is a pretty significant feat, considering the thousands of medications currently available for consumer use. Unfortunately, while Lipitor has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in many patients, the entire class of statin drugs has been linked to serious side effects, including the following:
The FDA issued new prescribing guidelines for Pfizer’s blockbuster statin drug Lipitor in 2009, in light of an increased risk of muscle damage associated with the medication. In 2011, additional warnings were added to the drug label due to a possible risk of liver damage associated with its use. In early 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required Pfizer to update Lipitor’s warning label yet again, to include the risk of diabetes side effects in people who use the statin medication. The latest Lipitor warning issued by the FDA came on the heels of a study conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative, which found that women have a 50% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when they use cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor, especially women who have already gone through menopause. The researchers involved in this statin study concluded that the best way to control or reduce cholesterol levels is to make changes to diet and exercise.
Many experts believe that Lipitor and other high-potency statins are over-prescribed to people who do not need the powerful drugs, and hundreds of Lipitor users who developed Type 2 diabetes and other side effects after taking the statin have filed legal claims against Pfizer, alleging that the drug maker knew or should have known about the alleged risk of diabetes from Lipitor before it became available for consumer use.
April 2013 – Three plaintiffs filing Lipitor claims petition the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to transfer all Lipitor diabetes lawsuits to one single court in the District of South Carolina.
June 6, 2013 – A woman from Louisiana files a product liability lawsuit against Pfizer, alleging that she took Lipitor for eight years and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
July 11, 2013 – A Lipitor lawsuit is filed on behalf of a woman from Mississippi, who took Lipitor for three years and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
August 7, 2013 – A woman from Texas files a Lipitor lawsuit against Pfizer, claiming that she took the statin drug in 2006 and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2009.
February 2014 – The JPML agrees to centralize all pending and future Lipitor diabetes complaints in South Carolina court for coordinated pretrial proceedings, as part of a multidistrict litigation.
April 28, 2014 – A report in the Journal Star indicates that a Lipitor lawsuit has been brought by a woman from Nebraska who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after taking Lipitor for nine years.
May 21, 2014 – A Louisiana woman files a Lipitor lawsuit against Pfizer alleging that she developed Type 2 diabetes after taking the statin drug from 2006 to 2012.
October 7, 2014 – A product liability lawsuit is filed against Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals by a man who says he was injured by glass particles in generic Lipitor.
February 5, 2015 – The plaintiff in the first Lipitor case to go to trial is a woman who used the cholesterol drug for 15 years before being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
September 18, 2015 – Five hundred complaints involving Lipitor and Type 2 diabetes have been filed since May 2015, bringing the total number of product liability lawsuits centralized in South Carolina court to 2,550.
March 2009 – The FDA requires drug safety labeling changes for Lipitor, to include the risk of hepatic failure allegedly associated with Lipitor.
February 2012 – The FDA issues a consumer update highlighting several new health risks associated with Lipitor, including an increased risk of high blood sugar, called hyperglycemia, and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
March 2015 – The FDA requires additional drug safety labeling changes, to reflect the risk of myositis, or inflammation and degeneration of muscle tissue, from Lipitor.
February 17, 2010 – The Lancet publishes research linking statin medications to a 9% increased risk of diabetes, based on a meta-analysis of 13 clinical trials.
April 2011 – Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology links higher doses of Lipitor to a higher risk of diabetes.
January 23, 2012 – A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine finds that the risk of diabetes associated with Lipitor and other statin drugs is more pronounced among post-menopausal women. Women between the ages of 50 and 79 taking a statin drug face a 48% higher risk of diabetes than those not taking a statin, the researchers conclude.
2013 – Researchers find that patients taking statin medications may face an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries and diseases compared to non-users, including a 19% higher risk of muscle and joint problems, and a 13% higher risk of sprains, strains and dislocations.
March 19, 2013 – The British Medical Journal publishes research linking the use of high-potency statins, like Lipitor, to a 34% increased risk of kidney injury.
June 4, 2013 – The medical journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcome publishes a study involving nearly 250,000 people, linking Lipitor treatment to a 9% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes side effects.
November 2013 – The journal JAMA Ophthalmology publishes a study linking the use of Lipitor and other statin drugs to a 9%-27% increased risk of cataracts. The researchers indicate that the longer the use of the medications, the higher the risk.
May 29, 2014 – Researchers from Canada publish a study in the British Medical Journal finding that users of powerful statin drugs like Lipitor may face a 15% increased risk of being diagnosed with diabetes within two years of beginning treatment.
July 24, 2014 – A study published in the journal Diabetes Care links higher doses of cholesterol-lowering statins to higher rates of Type 2 diabetes. According to the study, patients who took the highest doses of statin drugs had a 32% increased risk of developing new-onset diabetes.
March 5, 2015 – A Diabetologia study conducted by researchers from Finland indicates that Lipitor and other cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statin class may increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 46% among men aged 45 and older.
Although Lipitor was first approved by the FDA in 1996, it wasn’t until February 2012 that Pfizer finally communicated to consumers and the medical community, the potential for the medication to cause high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes in users. However, at this point, thousands of patients had already taken Lipitor to lower their cholesterol, and many have suffered Type 2 diabetes and other serious side effects as a result. Lipitor lawsuits brought against Pfizer in recent years over diabetes and other statin complications all involve similar allegations, including that Pfizer:
No pharmaceutical drug should put consumers at risk of severe, life-long side effects like Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, there are a number of medications already on the market in the United States that have the potential to cause consumers serious harm. If you have developed Type 2 diabetes or another serious side effect that you believe to be related to Lipitor, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help you contact a reputable attorney who has experience handling defective drug cases. With a knowledgeable Lipitor lawyer on your side, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against Pfizer, in order to seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the allegedly harmful drug.