Lipitor Lawsuits Overview
Millions of Americans take Lipitor to help manage their high cholesterol. Pfizer Inc. manufactures Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved in 1996. The cholesterol drug blocks HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme that allows the liver to produce LDL or "bad" cholesterol.
When patients take Lipitor, it reduces their bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Lipitor also increases patients' HDL or good cholesterol. In addition, Lipitor can help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in certain patients.
Unfortunately, some patients have reported experiencing health problems due to their use of Lipitor. As a result, many patients have sued Pfizer.
This article will provide an overview of the Lipitor litigation. It will also explain what to do if you believe you became ill as a result of taking Lipitor.
For What Uses Did the FDA Approve Lipitor?
When Pfizer first submitted Lipitor to the FDA, they approved it for three uses. This means the pharmaceutical company can only market it for these specific uses.
The FDA approved Lipitor to help with the following:
- Help patients reduce bad cholesterol levels
- Reduce the need for certain heart surgeries
- Reduce patients' risk of cardiovascular disease
The concern is that patients who take the drug for these reasons may experience severe side effects.
Side Effects of Lipitor
Lipitor is a statin. Like other statins, researchers have linked Lipitor to the following medical conditions:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver damage
- Memory loss
- Kidney failure
- Severe allergic reactions
Hopefully, you'll never have to deal with any of these issues. However, if you do, you have rights. You can always sue the drug manufacturer for damages. Many of the Lipitor cases involve risk factors, including an increased risk of diabetes or problems with patients' kidneys or liver.
Which Groups Are at the Greatest Risk of Adverse Reactions to Lipitor?
The FDA has stated that certain groups of people should not take Lipitor. For example, postmenopausal women experience severe side effects from taking Lipitor. The same is true for people who already have diabetes or kidney/liver damage.
Clinical trials have shown that Lipitor can be a dangerous drug for these patients. Lipitor not only helps regulate cholesterol. It also impacts your glucose and blood sugar levels and can raise the risk for high blood sugar. This is why it can be so dangerous for people with diabetes.
If you have any of these conditions or heart disease, steer clear of Lipitor and other statin drugs.
What Are the Other Side Effects of Lipitor?
Aside from the medical conditions mentioned above, Lipitor has other, less severe side effects. Just because they're not as serious doesn't mean they aren't troublesome. If you notice any of these issues, let your healthcare provider know immediately. They will change your dosage or find a different drug for you.
The side effects many Lipitor patients experience include the following:
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Memory loss and confusion
- Hepatic failure
- Muscle spasms
- Urinary tract infections
In most cases, the symptoms are minor. However, if they are more severe and you sustain permanent injury, you may have a claim for damages.
Some patients have alleged that Lipitor caused the onset of Type 2 diabetes. If not adequately managed, Type 2 diabetes can cause a host of problems.
Some of the medical issues you may endure with progressive Type 2 diabetes include the following:
- Kidney damage
- Damage to the feet
- Nerve damage
- Fungal infections
- Hearing impairment
- Alzheimer's disease
The treatment of Type 2 diabetes typically includes a lifelong regimen of diabetes medicine and insulin therapy, which can be very costly.
Given the increased risk of diabetes, patients have filed Lipitor lawsuits against Pfizer, the drug manufacturer. These product liability lawsuits allege that Pfizer knew these risks existed but failed to warn patients and healthcare providers. Plaintiffs argue that Lipitor's label warnings lacked information about the risk of Type 2 diabetes. They claimed they wouldn't have taken the drug had they known the risks.
In their complaints, plaintiffs demanded compensation for their injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
In early 2017, a federal judge in South Carolina dismissed more than 2,000 cases filed against Pfizer in Lipitor lawsuits based on the allegations that Lipitor caused Type 2 diabetes. In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment dismissing the lawsuits. The district court judge dismissed all remaining cases and there are no active Lipitor diabetes cases in this litigation. The plaintiffs' lawyers were not able to point to enough evidence to prove a connection between statins and diabetes.
Medical Malpractice Claims
Patients not only pursued the drug manufacturer, but they also sued their doctors as well. Before a doctor prescribes a medication to a patient, they must explain the risks and benefits of the drug to them. They must also check to see if the new drug has any contraindications to adverse reactions to medications the patient is taking.
If your physician failed to do that and you developed Type 2 diabetes, you may be able to sue them for medical malpractice. Doctors and other medical professionals may be liable for medical malpractice if the treatment they provide falls below the standard of care practiced in the industry.
For example, if a doctor prescribed Lipitor to a pregnant woman despite Lipitor's label warnings, the doctor could be held liable for any injuries the patient suffers as a result of the drug. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal options.
An Experienced Product Liability or Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
If you took Lipitor and believe it made you sick, you may have a claim for damages. The only way to know is to talk to an experienced product liability attorney. They'll review your claim and let you know the viability of a claim given the fact that plaintiffs' lawyers were unable to establish a connection between Lipitor and diabetes in prior litigation.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.