Women Filing Lipitor Lawsuit Claims Say The Drug Caused Diabetes
Pfizer, the company behind the cholesterol drug Lipitor, continues to be the target of a growing number of claims demanding a Lipitor settlement. The plaintiffs allege they developed type 2 diabetes after using Pfizer's medication. They further claim that the manufacturer failed to properly disclose the risk. Had it done so, they would have avoided using the drug.
The controversy surrounding Lipitor has grown considerably since February 2012. During that month, the Food and Drug Administration announced labeling changes after patients reported severe, previously-undisclosed side effects. Among the most serious side effects was diabetes, a condition that can be permanent. Several studies were published between 2010 and 2013 indicating a potentially causal link between diabetes and use of Lipitor.
The Intended Goal of Prescribing Lipitor
By most measures, Lipitor does the job for which it was designed: it lowers LDL cholesterol levels in patients who are at risk for cardiovascular events. The drug inhibits HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that is responsible for cholesterol production in the liver. As long as that enzyme remains "blocked," the liver releases considerably less LDL cholesterol into the bloodstream.
As with all prescription drugs, however, use of Lipitor isn't without a risk of side effects. Its label clearly notes that patients have reported experiencing diarrhea, joint pain, and upset stomach. While these side effects are usually minor, others are serious and can have life-changing impacts.
Lipitor Side Effects May Include Type 2 Diabetes
In 2010, the medical journal Lancet published data from a meta-analysis of 13 studies examining the connection between statins like Lipitor and diabetes. The researchers took into account only those studies that involved at least 1,000 participants and continued for a duration of at least 12 months. They found that statin use among the test population was associated with a 9% increased risk of new-onset diabetes.
Several other papers have been published since the Lancet piece, providing support to the researchers' findings. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study in 2011 that focused on the effects of atorvastatin (generic for Lipitor) as observed in 3 past trials. The paper's authors showed that the cholesterol drug was linked to a higher number of diabetes cases than a competing statin called simvastatin and a placebo.
The following year, a study in JAMA Internal Medicine suggested that the link between Lipitor and diabetes side effects may be especially pronounced among older women. Health data for nearly 162,000 postmenopausal women, more than 7% of whom were taking statins, showed that they faced a 50% higher risk of new-onset diabetes compared to nonuse.
The findings from the above studies were instrumental in prompting the FDA to announce mandatory drug label changes for Lipitor and other statins. However, while the watchdog agency has seen fit to require label updates, it has not yet announced a recall.
Lipitor Lawsuit Claims Consolidated Into Federal MDL
In 2013, a motion was filed to consolidate individual Lipitor cases pending in federal district courts under a single judge. That motion was denied, in part because the number of cases was relatively small.
A new motion was filed in early 2014, pointing out that the number of cases, a majority of which cite the development of diabetes in women, had grown. On February 18, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) granted the motion. The panel noted that the litigation had grown to include cases in "more than 40 districts before more than 100 different judges." An MDL (multidistrict litigation) was thus established to centralize the pending lawsuits under a single judge.
In the coming months, a large number of additional cases targeting Pfizer are expected to be added to the MDL.
Should You Pursue A Lipitor Settlement?
If you or someone in your family was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after using Lipitor, you may have grounds to demand financial compensation from the manufacturer. A Lipitor settlement may help with the on-going expenses of living with diabetes, as well as hold the manufacturer accountable for any harm they caused.
It's important to realize that you are not alone. Hundreds of cases have been filed by victims who claim that Pfizer failed to adequately warn them about the elevated risk. There are likely thousands of other women who are suffering, but have yet to bring their cases to drug injury attorneys.
Lisa Sandberg is the author of this article on Lipitor and Diabetes. Find more information, about the Lipitor Lawsuit here