Many Americans suffer from high cholesterol or cardiovascular diseases, which can cause serious health issues, such as heart attacks or strokes. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. To help combat and prevent these issues, doctors will often prescribe heart or cholesterol medication for patients. Lipitor is one of the most common medications that doctors prescribe.
What is Lipitor?
Lipitor is a statin drug manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Lipitor is prescribed to treat high cholesterol in patients and to prevent cardiovascular diseases in patients who are at risk for heart conditions. Lipitor was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996. Since then, Pfizer has appreciated billions of dollars in sales from its Lipitor drug—one of the most popular drugs in the United States to treat high cholesterol and other heart issues.
Lipitor works by slowing the production of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). Known as “bad cholesterol,” LDLs can block arteries, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. By lowering the production of LDLs, Lipitor helps prevent the buildup of plaque deposits on the inner walls of arteries, which is known as atherosclerosis. By preventing buildup, Lipitor can help reduce issues associated with atherosclerosis, such as heart attack, stroke, and chest pain.
In addition, Lipitor also functions by increasing the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs). The increased presence of HDLs, known as “good cholesterol,” is believed to help prevent heart attacks by carrying plaque away from the arteries to the liver. Lipitor is used as preventative treatment for patients with risk factors for heart disease or stroke or with type 2 diabetes.
Side Effects From Lipitor
Notwithstanding the possible benefits from the use of Lipitor, patients may suffer serious health issues with the use of the drug. Patients who have used Lipitor to help lower their blood cholesterol or to help prevent conditions related to cardiovascular disease have suffered some of the following side effects:
Serious side effects
- Muscle problems that can lead to kidney problems, including kidney failure;
- Liver problems;
- Muscle disease; and
- Increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Common side effects
- Upset stomach;
- Muscle and joint pain;
- Alterations in some laboratory blood tests;
- Weakness; and
- Insomnia and dizziness.
Other reported side effects
- Tendon problems;
- Memory loss; and
Signs and Symptoms of Serious Side Effects From Lipitor
The use of Lipitor can cause a variety of side effects—some more serious than others. Signs of serious effects are:
- Stomach or upper belly pain;
- Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes;
- Dark, amber-colored urine;
- Muscle problems that cease to go away;
- Unusual fatigue;
- Allergic skin reaction; and
- Nausea and vomiting.
The side effects listed above are not an exhaustive list of every possible side effect associated with Lipitor. If you have taken Lipitor and suffered from any serious injury as a result, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your injuries. You should contact an experienced attorney to determine if your rights.
Current Litigation and Lipitor
In 2012, the FDA issued a report concerning the increased risk for diabetes with the use of statin drugs, including Lipitor. In connection with the report, Pfizer agreed to update its Lipitor labeling to warn users of the risk of developing diabetes and other risks, including liver injury and muscle damage.