With many patients suffering from high cholesterol, prescriptions for statins such as Lipitor, Crestor, and other drugs have increased over the past few years. In fact, new guidelines released in early 2014 indicate that as many as 13 million people may be eligible for statin therapy, according to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. Mississippi has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country and because obesity can often correlate with high cholesterol rates, prescriptions for cholesterol lowering medicines are higher than in states with lower obesity rates. However, some medical professionals believe that statin use should be considered carefully, as the side effects from statins can reportedly be dangerous and even deadly.
One of the serious side effects of statins like Lipitor is the potential for liver damage. Clinical trials have identified high liver enzymes in some patients, which can lead to permanent liver damage. Doctors should check the liver enzymes of patients before they begin taking statins and every few months while they take the drugs to be sure that the risk of liver damage is reduced.
Another of the serious side effects of statins that recent research has discovered is the higher risk of diabetes in patients who are taking the drugs. Research indicates that higher doses of statins put a patient more at risk for Type 2 diabetes than in patients who do not take the drugs at all. In 2013, a Mississippi woman filed suit against Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor, claiming that she developed Type 2 diabetes after taking the drug. The Mississippi lawsuit claims that the manufacturer ignored reports that those taking statins were at higher risk of developing the disease.
Muscle aches and pains are another of the side effects of statins, occurring in approximately ten percent of patients. In most cases, the aches and pains are minor. However, studies have found that Lipitor can cause a condition known as myopathy in which muscle fibers do not function properly. In most cases, stopping statin therapy resolves the muscle condition, although some patients develop a more serious form of myopathy known as rhabdomyolysis. This form of myopathy causes the breakdown of muscle fibers, which are then released into the bloodstream. The muscle fibers, known as myoglobin, can then cause damage to kidneys.
Some patients with asthma may find that their condition worsens when they begin statin therapy, despite the fact that many doctors believe the anti-inflammatory properties of drugs like Lipitor help reduce asthma symptoms. A study presented at the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology in Boston found that patients with asthma scored 35 percent worse on lung function tests than those who did not take statins. In addition, patients taking statins said that they used their inhalers 72 percent more than those who were not taking cholesterol-lowering medication. More research is being conducted to determine if the side effects of statins include worsening asthma attacks.
Cholesterol is important to the development of unborn children. Studies have shown that maternal cholesterol affects fetal metabolism as well as the development of the brain, limbs and other parts of the body. Statins are not recommended for women who are pregnant, are considering pregnancy or who are breast feeding, as birth defects have been reported from women who took the medications while pregnant.
Injured Due to the Side Effects of Statins?
If you or a loved one has developed Type 2 diabetes or other serious side-effect after taking Lipitor, contact Attorney Group for Mississippi today. We can help you understand your options in your particular situation, and help you determine if you have a case. If you decide to pursue a claim, we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.