Statins such as Lipitor, Zocor, Mevacor, Pavachol and Crestor are used to lower cholesterol by blocking a substance that causes your body to make the substance. In addition, many statins help your body reabsorb cholesterol that may have built up on your artery walls, which could lead to a blockage. Blockages have been linked to heart attacks and strokes, which is why many doctors prescribe statins like Lipitor to patients with high cholesterol. However, the side effects of statins reportedly cause serious medical problems. Below is a list of the five commonly reported problems with statins.
1. Muscle Pain and Weakness
About ten percent of all statin users suffer muscle pain and weakness as one of the side effects of statins, especially those on higher doses. However, some patients who take the drugs develop a serious condition known as rhabdomyolysis, which causes muscle cells to break down and release proteins that can damage the kidneys. If you develop pain in the thighs, shoulders, upper arms, or back that does not go away when you rest, contact a doctor immediately. In addition, if your doctor prescribes antibiotics, be sure to inform them of your statin use as antibiotics combined with statins put you at greater risk of muscle damage.
2. Diabetes Risk
Recent studies have linked the use of some types of statins, such as Lipitor, with an increased risk of diabetes. In April 2014, an Oklahoma woman filed suit against Pfizer Inc. claiming that the drug manufacturer failed to warn her that her use of Lipitor put her at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The Oklahoma woman had taken the drug from 2002 until 2011, and developed type 2 diabetes in 2004. The FDA did not require Pfizer to include a warning regarding the diabetes risk until 2011. The Oklahoma woman is also claiming that she is at risk of developing heart disease, blindness and kidney disease.
3. Increased Liver Enzymes
While taking statins, your doctor should order routine blood tests to check liver enzymes, as one of the side effects of statins is the development of higher than normal enzymes. There are no symptoms of high liver enzymes and if they become elevated, statins should be discontinued. Elevated liver enzymes may cause inflammation and damage to the liver. Patients may suffer from hepatitis and jaundice after taking Lipitor or other statins.
4. Worsening Asthma
According to the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic, a recent study found that statins may help reduce asthma symptoms, but a 2011 study found that 20 people who took statins had worse lung function than 20 asthma patients who did not take statins. In another study, patients who took Lipitor who had asthma reported that their asthma symptoms were moderate to severe and that stopping the drug helped reduce their symptoms. Some experts report that while further research needs to be done, it is possible that statins cause asthma symptoms to worsen.
5. Complications with Pregnancy
For women who are pregnant or hope to become pregnant, statins are not recommended, according to manufacturer warnings. Certain forms of birth defects have been reported as side effects of statins, as cholesterol is necessary for the development of a baby’s heart, brain and limbs. If you become pregnant while taking statins, inform your doctor immediately. Women who are breastfeeding should also avoid statins.
Patients should be aware of current lawsuits involving statins. There are currently thousands of Lipitor lawsuits across the country. These lawsuits claim Lipitor can cause diabetes, and they also claim that Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lipitor, should have warned patients of the potential risks of taking Lipitor.
Suffered from Side Effects of Statins? Contact Attorney Group for Oklahoma
If you have questions about current lawsuits involving statins such as Lipitor, or if you believe you have a case, contact Attorney Group for Oklahoma today. We can help you understand your options in your particular situation, and connect you with an affiliated attorney if you decide to pursue a claim. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.