Lipitor is the brand name for the generic drug atorvastatin and is used to lower cholesterol. This medication is a member of a class of drugs called statins. Statins lower the bad cholesterol in the body by blocking an enzyme in the liver which the body uses to produce cholesterol. Because less cholesterol is being made by the body, the liver collects more cholesterol from the bloodstream, resulting in lower cholesterol.
Lipitor is manufactured by Pfizer, a leading pharmaceutical company, which boasts of prioritizing the improvement of lives through safe and effective medicine. Pfizer produces and sells over 300 drugs in the United States and has four medications on the top 100 Drugs by sales list.
After receiving FDA Approval, Lipitor was first released in the United States in December of 1996. The FDA-Approved Medication indicates Lipitor for treating the following conditions:
- Lowering high cholesterol.
- In individuals with type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, and other risk factors, Lipitor is used to decrease risk for stroke and heart attacks.
Lipitor should never been used in children under 10 or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not take Lipitor if you have an atorvastatin allergy or liver disease. While you may still be able to take Lipitor, you should speak with your doctor first if any of the following factors apply to you:
- thyroid disorder.
- liver or kidney disease in your history.
- have more than 2 alcoholic drinks each day.
- experience weakness or pain of the muscles.
While taking Lipitor, it is important that you follow a low-cholesterol eating planning and avoid drinking alcohol. In addition, the FDA offers cautions about mixing statins, including Lipitor, with eating grapefruits and drinking grapefruit juice as it may impact how the drug works.
Consult with your doctor before beginning any new medications, as the may interact with Lipitor adversely.
The FDA provides warnings about Lipitor in their description pamphlet.
Lipitor Side Effects
Most doctors are aware of the side effects associated with Lipitor, but choose to prescribe it because they believe the risks of the side effects are outweighed by the risks associated with high cholesterol. While taking Lipitor, you might be at risk for side effects which required immediate medical attention. Contact your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- difficulty with memory or confusion.
- weakness or pain of muscles.
- infrequent urination.
- abnormal fatigue.
- swelling or weight gain.
- increase of thirst, urination, and hunger.
- dry mouth.
- vision problems.
- symptoms of jaundice.
- weight loss.
- decreased appetite, nausea, upper stomach pain.
- darkened urine or clay colored stools.
There are less serious side effects associated with Lipitor. Seek advice from your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur:
- nausea, diarrhea.
- mild muscle pain.
Lipitor Drug Injury
According to a consumer report released by the FDA, there is no questions that statins are valuable in treating high cholesterol. However, the FDA offers a few warnings of possible injuries to Lipitor users.
- Liver Injury: In rare cases, Lipitor has caused liver injury in its consumers. Liver injury is characterized by persistent nausea and vomiting, yellowing of the eyes or skin, darkened urine, unusual fatigue, loss of appetite, or pain in the upper right area of the abdomen.
- Memory loss: Cognitive impairment can occur individuals taking Lipitor. Symptoms most reported or memory loss, confusion, or feeling “fuzzy.” This side effect is not unique to Lipitor, it has found to be associated with a statins. If these symptoms occurs, consult with your doctor before stopping your medication.
- Diabetes: In some individuals, Lipitor can worsen or cause diabetes. Because of this, it is suggested that patients have their blood sugar levels monitored after beginning Lipitor.
- Myopathy: Myopathy is unexplained pain or weakness in the muscles. There are some drugs, when taken simultaneously with Lipitor, which increase risk of muscle damage. Because of this, patients should work together with their doctor to check for the possibility of negative interactions of their medications.
Possible Lipitor Interactions
There are 49 major drugs interactions patients should be aware of while taking Lipitor. Because of this, Lipitor users should be careful to provide their doctor with detailed information concerning the medications they are taking to avoid the negation side effects possible with an adverse drug interaction. Users should also be aware Lipitor interacts negatively with alcohol consumption. Lipitor can also have negative side effects if taken by someone with liver disease or rhabdomyolysis.
Because pharmaceutical companies are responsible for reporting the side effects and potential dangers associated with the medications they release, consumers may choose to file a lawsuit if they feel the company has failed to perform these duties.
Many consumers feel that Pfizer has failed to market Lipitor honestly and to properly warn of the more serious side effects which can occur to those who are prescribed Lipitor. There have been numerous occurrences of drug injury which occurred after patients took Lipitor, many of these patients are seeking financial compensation through lawsuits.
In 2014, the number of lawsuits increased drastically after the FDA announced the risk of memory loss and increased risk of diabetes. Because women are at greater risk for developing Type II Diabetes while taking Lipitor, the largest spike of lawsuits was seen among women who developed diabetes after taking Lipitor. These women are filing this lawsuit based on the fact that the risk of diabetes was not revealed until 2013, 17 years after the drug was released.
Pfizer insisted that the benefits of taking Lipitor far outweighed the risks. Additionally, they argued that women who are prescribed medication used to treat high cholesterol are already at risk for diabetes. Because of this, Pfizer does not believe they hold responsibility for the occurrence of diabetes among Lipitor users.
Know Your Legal Rights
Whether or not Pfizer feels responsible for drug injuries which occurred in individuals who were prescribed Lipitor, they should still be held responsible for the side effects of the medications they produce. The FDA requires that pharmaceutical companies warn consumers when there are dangers associated with a medication, and many feel that they failed market Lipitor with transparency.
Did you develop type II diabetes or suffered from other serious side effects after being prescribed Lipitor, you may have grounds for filing a lawsuit. Do you know your legal rights? A drug injury litigation attorney can provide you with guidance concerning your claim.
A lawyer may be able to help you, if you took Lipitor and suffered from serious side effects.