More than 4,000 women have filed Lipitor lawsuits against drug maker Pfizer claiming the company did not adequately warn that use of its cholesterol-lowering statin medication could increase their blood sugar levels and cause them to develop type 2 diabetes.
In January 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered makers of statin drugs to update their safety labels to include changes regarding potential risks associated with the drugs. Among these risks was an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and memory loss.
Statins are widely used prescribed – along with exercise and healthy diet – to reduce LDL cholesterol, also known as the “bad” cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, many people cannot tolerate the side effects caused by statin drugs, such as liver damage and muscle pain and injuries. Now, studies show that statins can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes especially in postmenopausal women who are not considered overweight.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that is associated with obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Those with the disease must follow a strict diet and may have to resort to medication to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health complications including heart disease, kidney disease, dementia, amputations due to neuropathy, and blindness.
Lipitor is one of the most prescribed drugs with more than 29 million prescriptions and sales topping $130 billion worldwide.
The first Lipitor type 2 diabetes trial is scheduled for July in U.S. District Court. Pfizer may decide to settle Lipitor lawsuits out of court to avoid revealing information that may damage the drug’s reputation.