Almost all prescription drugs carry the potential for side effects. Some of these are minor, others significant. Recent data suggests that Lipitor, the popular cholesterol drug, is strongly correlated with increased rates of Type 2 diabetes.
Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), made by Pfizer, is a statin. Statins reduce cholesterol by blocking specific liver enzymes. By blocking these cholesterol-producing enzymes, the body begins to use cholesterol already in the blood. This process lowers overall cholesterol levels as well as the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
One problematic and newly discovered side effect of Lipitor is the increased potential for developing Type 2 diabetes. Just last year the FDA mandated a change to Lipitor’s warning label. The new label specifically tells users of the threat of diabetes. Other statins, like Zocor and Crestor, were also required to make similar label changes.
Although statins have been in use since the 1980s, it was not until the past ten years when long-term data was analyzed to find the Type-2 diabetes correlation. Researchers are not certain why statins are correlated with higher diabetes rates. One potential explanation is that statins increase blood sugar levels.
Lipitor is one of the stronger statins on the market today. High strength statins carry the increased risk for diabetes, whereas weaker statins generally do not. Drugs like Lipitor become particularly risky when used in high doses. Multiple studies have confirmed that when strong statins are used in a high dose manner the risk for diabetes greatly increases. The bottom line with these drugs is that the ideal dosage has not been established.
More than 20 million Americans currently take statins. If the studies are correct and about one out of every 200 statin users will develop diabetes, this means that 100,000 more people will develop diabetes than would otherwise do so.
Adding to this risky equation is the fact that millions of statin users take them preventatively. In fact, some studies have found that in these users, the heart attack and heart disease reduction rate is only 2 per 100. So if all this data is to be believed, out of every 200 statin users, four will be benefitted and one will develop diabetes.
Getting the full picture of long-term statin use will take another 20 years. In the meantime, people taking statins needs to be aware of the very serious risks that drugs like Lipitor could pose to their overall health.
Getting a Claim Started
Will your Lipitor diabetes case be a successful lawsuit? The answer is simple: I don’t know. But we are now reviewing these cases and trying to figure out whether they may be viable claims. Certainly, it is fair to say that women have much better claims than men do for a variety of reasons. If you want your Lipitor diabetes case evaluated, contact us here.