Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Fortunately, there are several medications available on the market that people can take to lower the likelihood of heart disease. To help prevent heart disease, many doctors prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications called statins. Lipitor is a popular statin drug made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Unfortunately, the drug has been linked to a number of health complications and has been the subject of a recall.
How Lipitor Works
Lipitor was designed to lower bad cholesterol and fats such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides. In addition, the drug raises the levels of good cholesterol - called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) - in the blood. Lipitor works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. This causes the liver to draw more cholesterol from the surrounding blood stream, reducing the amount of cholesterol present in the blood. Lipitor's two-pronged approach of lowering bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol is designed to decrease the likelihood of heart disease.
Common Problems and Injuries
The most common complication associated with Lipitor is muscle pain. This can involve soreness, tiredness, or weakness in the muscles. The pain can be so excruciating that it interferes with routine activities like walking and climbing stairs. In rare cases, Lipitor can cause muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis, which may lead to severe kidney failure, liver damage, and death. Other complications that may arise from Lipitor use include:
A recall occurs when a product is removed from the market due to a potentially harmful defect. Pfizer voluntarily recalled specific bottles of Lipitor (40 mg only) due to reports of an unusual odor. As medical tests have determined that the unusual odor was unlikely to cause an adverse reaction, the Lipitor recall doesn't seem to have any serious consequences for patients. Pfizer still stands behind Lipitor and insists that the medication is safe, claiming that the recall was solely over a packaging issue. Despite the Lipitor recall, Pfizer is not issuing any refunds to patients who received 40mg bottles of Lipitor with an uncharacteristic smell.
A generic version of Lipitor called atorvastatin made by the Ranbaxy pharmaceutical company was also the subject of a separate recall. Ranbaxy issued the recall because pills were reportedly contaminated with small specks of glass. The company claims that continued use of Ranbaxy's atorvastatin poses no safety risks and that the recall was merely a precautionary measure. Some pharmacies, including CVS, will allow patients to exchange Ranbaxy atorvastatin for another brand.
Many people have filed lawsuits against Pfizer to recover compensation for injuries allegedly caused by Lipitor, including debilitating muscle problems as well as cognitive memory loss. Since the FDA recently stated that statin medication may increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, many plaintiffs have alleged that Lipitor caused them to develop diabetes.
However, the FDA has also stated that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is so remote that the benefits of statin medication outweigh the risks. Generally, these lawsuits claim Pfizer is liable under product liability law. Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers have a duty to provide consumers with adequate warnings about the dangers associated with their products. Failing to do so can expose drug manufacturers to liability.
Get a Free Case Assessment
If you or a loved one was sickened or hurt by Lipitor or another product a lawyer's assistance can be invaluable. Drug companies fight lawsuits with armies of professionals experienced at undermining claims. An experienced lawyer can help you present your strongest claim and better understand your opponant's stengths and weaknesses. Contact a local attorney for a free consultation to discuss your claim.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.