The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a consumer update in which the agency acknowledged possible benefits of statin medications such as Lipitor when it comes to preventing heart disease and lowering cholesterol. Although this may be the case for some patients throughout the U.S., it is also important to understand the potential side effects of statins such as cognitive impairment, an increased risk of high blood glucose levels and diabetes, and muscle damage. Many lawsuits have been filed across the U.S. regarding Lipitor, the most popular statin currently prescribed. Below are five commonly reported problems with statins such as Lipitor.
1. Increased liver enzymes
Some Lipitor patients have reported an increase in liver enzymes, particularly if they are taking statins in conjunction with other cholesterol-lowering medications. Doctors have recommended undergoing a blood test within six weeks of beginning a statin medication since there are no symptoms to indicate that the body’s liver enzymes are increasing, nor is there any conclusive method to predict this increase. If a patient does, in fact, have elevated liver enzymes, he or she should discuss this with their doctor.
2. Muscle pain and weakness
According to a cardiologist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, an estimated 10 percent of statin users experience pains and aches while taking the medications. The higher your dose of Lipitor, the more likely you are to experience these uncomfortable side effects. Additionally, there is a risk of rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which the cells of the muscles break down and release myoglobin and other proteins that can cause kidney damage. Pain usually occurs in the lower back, upper arms, shoulders, and thighs, and does not typically decrease when the patient is at rest.
3. Worsening asthma
Some clinical trials have found that the consequences of the side effects of statins outweigh the benefits, such as increased asthma symptoms. However, a study in 2011 found that 20 people living with asthma had worse lung function and more symptoms than 20 asthma patients who did not take the statins. While this does not necessarily mean asthma patients should avoid statins, they may need to have their asthma medications adjusted.
4. Potential pregnancy
Whether you are considering having a baby or you are currently pregnant, doctors and manufacturers advise that statin medications should not be taken under these circumstances. While the side effects of statins during pregnancy has not yet been clearly determined, there may be an increased risk of birth defects, as cholesterol helps the limbs, hearts, and brains to develop.
5. Increasing number of lawsuits against statin manufacturers
Possibly the most important thing for patients consider a statin medication should be aware of, are increasing lawsuits against statins, such as those against Lipitor. According to court documents, there are currently 1,152 Lipitor lawsuits that have been filed against the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer, Inc. The lawsuits allege that plaintiffs developed type 2 diabetes while taking the statin and that Pfizer did not adequately warn physicians and their patients of the medication to cause diabetes and other potential complications. The number of claims has increased from 959 lawsuits that had been filed as of July 2014, and all federally filed lawsuits have been consolidated into a federal court in South Carolina.
Are You Concerned about the Side Effects of Statins?
If you or a loved one took Lipitor or another statin medication and you experienced adverse or life-threatening complications, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. Attorney Group offers free case evaluations to Lipitor patients who wish to learn more about their options. If you decide to pursue a claim, we can connect you with one of our affiliated attorneys who can assist you in seeking the compensation for which you may be eligible. Call today.