Lipitor Side Effects Complications
The Pfizer Inc. cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) has been linked to a variety of adverse side effects. These adverse effects include the development of diabetes. Liver damage, muscle problems and memory loss and confusion also have been identified as Lipitor side effects.
Lipitor is one of several medications known as “statin” drugs. Statins are prescribed along with diet and exercise to reduce LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol). They work by blocking the production of LDL cholesterol in the liver. This makes the liver use the cholesterol already circulating in the blood. This, in turn, reduces the blood’s cholesterol levels.
In February 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made “important safety changes” to the labels of statin drugs, including Lipitor. The changes addressed the increased risk of diabetes.
The Driscoll Firm, LLC, is now investigating cases of patients who have suffered harmful side effects from Lipitor. If you have developed diabetes, liver problems or other severe medical problems from the use of Lipitor, you could be eligible for compensation.
Find out more by calling us today at our toll-free number or completing our online form.
Diabetes Risk Linked to Lipitor
A main concern about statin drugs’ side effects is their potential for raising blood-sugar levels and causing Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Lipitor, which is administered as a tablet, poses a particular concern because it is often prescribed in higher doses than other statins.
A study by the University of Massachusetts Medical School found a 48 percent increased risk of diabetes among women aged 50 to 79 who used statin drugs. A study published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, reported that statin drug therapy was associated with a 9 percent increased risk for developing diabetes. And the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) said in 2011 that three large randomized clinical trials indicated that 80-mg doses of Lipitor were associated with a small but definite increased risk of new-onset Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
What is Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition. It affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s main source of fuel, the Mayo Clinic explains. Diabetics either do not produce enough insulin – the hormone that regulates the movement of glucose into the body’s cells – or their bodies do not use insulin properly.
Diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise, or with self-administered insulin shots. But if it goes untreated or improperly treated, Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include cardiovascular problems such as:
- Coronary artery disease
- Chest pain (angina)
- Heart attack
- Narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis)
- High blood pressure.
The American Heart Association says the risk of stroke is two to four times higher for people with diabetes, and the death rate from heart disease is two to four times higher than for people who do not have diabetes.
Other complications of diabetes include:
- Alzheimer’s disease – Poor blood flow from the cardiovascular damage caused by diabetes may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, or improper levels of insulin in the blood can damage the brain.
- Kidney damage – Renal failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease may result in the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage – Problems with the eyes can include cataracts, glaucoma or blindness.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) – Tingling, numbness, burning or pain in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy) may spread up the limbs, which can lead to erectile dysfunction and digestion problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation).
- Foot damage – This may result from poor blood flow and cause cuts and blisters to become serious infections, possibly requiring amputation of toes, feet or even a leg.
- Skin problems – These problems include increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections.
Additional Lipitor Side Effect Risks
Lipitor and other statins are also known to cause:
- Liver problems
- Muscle injury (myopathy / rhabdomyolysis)
- Memory loss and confusion
- Joint pain
- Tendon problems
- Upset stomach.
Get Legal Help If You Are Experiencing Lipitor Side Effects
If you or a loved one has been prescribed Lipitor (atorvastatin) and developed diabetes, liver damage or another serious adverse reaction, contact The Driscoll Firm, LLC, today. You could be eligible to obtain financial assistance for current and future medical expenses as well as compensation for your lost income, pain and suffering. We offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation about your case. Call our toll-free number or contact us online to learn more.
For more information:
- FDA announces safety changes in labeling for some cholesterol-lowering drugs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Predictors of New-Onset Diabetes in Patients Treated With Atorvastatin, Journal of the American College of Cardiology
- Statin use associated with increased diabetes risk in women, University of Massachusetts Medical School
- Lipitor atorvastatin calcium tablets, Pfizer Inc.
- Type 2 diabetes, Mayo Clinic