Lipitor and the Risk of Type II Diabetes
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a commonly prescribed drug used to lower cholesterol in patients with high levels of cholesterol. Lipitor, and other similar statin medications, block the production of LDLs (low density lipids) by the liver. High levels of LDLs can result in blocked arteries, which in turn, can lead to heart attack or stroke. While Lipitor is quite successful at lowering cholesterol, there are studies that are causing concerns that the use of Lipitor may increase the risk of Type II Diabetes in post menopausal women.
Results from a seven year study by the Archive of Internal Medicine showed up to a 50% increased rate of developing Type II Diabetes in post menopausal women using Lipitor. The study, concluding in 2012, involved a study group of approximately 154,000 women. Interestingly, the study found the increased risk of Type II Diabetes to be true of women in this age group who had a BMI (Body Mass Index) less than 30. Typically women with a BMI less than 30 do not show increased rates of Type II Diabetes because Type II Diabetes is usually associated with people who are overweight. Prior studies, dating as far back as 2004, had turned up similar indications of a correlation between Lipitor use and Type II Diabetes.
Type II Diabetes occurs when the body either produces too much blood sugar or not enough insulin. Type II Diabetes is a serious health risk because it is a chronic condition that can cause:
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Eye damage or blindness
- Kidney disease
The results of the Archive of Internal Medicine study led the FDA to require that Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor, update the warning labels on the product to indicate that the potential correlation of taking Lipitor and the increased risks of Type II Diabetes. Pfizer may be facing serious questions, and ultimately law suits, over when it was aware of the diabetes risks to post menopausal women. Pharmaceutical companies have responsibility for informing users of their medications, and doctors prescribing their medications, of possible side effects.
If you or someone you know in Kentucky has had serious health related problems that you believe arose from the use of Lipitor and the subsequent development of Type II Diabetes, you should consider contacting a Kentucky attorney to evaluate your case. Please contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, who can help to guide you through the legal process. Call (502) 242-8877 for a free consultation.