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Pfizer Under Attack for the Dangerous Side Effects of Lipitor

Gabriel Assaad
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Partner and attorney at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing personal injury, medical malpractice & product liability

Lipitor may cause severe side effects while controlling your cholesterolOver the years, hundreds of product liability lawsuits have been filed against the drug manufacturer known as Pfizer. Pfizer is the premier biopharmaceutical company in the United States, and is responsible for manufacturing drugs such as Effexor and Robitussin.

Despite the popularity of Pfizer products, some patients have claimed that Pfizer repeatedly places customers at risk by:

  • Failing to warn patients about potential risks. Pfizer knows—or should know—about the short- and long-term risks their drugs have on patients. Pfizer is accused of blatantly ignoring risks to sell more product.
  • Failing to monitor drug safety. Pfizer has been accused of negligent and wrongful conduct when designing, developing, manufacturing, testing, packaging, promoting, marketing, distributing, labeling, and selling specific drugs. Pfizer owes a duty to patients using these drugs to monitor their safety, but patients allege the company fails to fulfill its obligation.
  • Failing to include potential drug effects on labels. Accusations claim that Pfizer repeatedly creates labels and prepares prescribing information without adequately warning patients of potential drug interactions or side effects.

All these claims (and others) have been made against in lawsuits over Pfizer’s manufacturing, production, and distribution of the cholesterol medication known as Lipitor.

What Is Lipitor?

Lipitor is often prescribed to help lower heart attack risks for people with a history of high cholesterol or heart disease, as well as for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. This particular drug is a statin and prevents heart attacks and strokes by controlling high cholesterol levels. Statins are designed to decrease levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood that lead to plaque build-up, congested blood flow, and severe health problems if left untreated.

Lipitor works by blocking a liver enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) that produces “bad” forms of cholesterol (LDL or low-density lipoproteins). When the LDL in the blood is lowered, it’s less likely that plaque deposits will accumulate on the inner walls of the arteries. This is important because plaque on the inner walls of the arteries can cause them to stiffen and narrow. When this happens, the patient faces significantly higher risks of heart attacks, strokes, chest pain, and aneurysms.

In addition to lowering the levels of bad cholesterol, Lipitor also raises the levels of high-density lipoproteins, or HDL. This is known as the “good” cholesterol. HDL helps protect against heart attacks by carrying plaque away from the arteries.

Although Lipitor seems like a useful and effective drug, it has also been associated with an increased risk for some serious health conditions.

Lipitor Side Effects

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued reports citing the possible diabetic and liver effects of Lipitor and other statin drugs. The reports discuss the following four major risk concerns of taking Lipitor:

  • Potential for developing cognitive damage, including memory loss. While taking Lipitor, some people have reported memory loss and confusion. However, these issues improve once the statins are no longer taken.
  • Potential for increased risk for diabetes. Statin drugs have been found to occasionally increase blood sugar levels within the body, causing increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Although the general consensus is that the heart benefits of the drug outweigh these risks, the fact is that diabetes has the potential to cause additional cardiac issues.
  • Potential for developing muscle disease. Taking high doses of Lipitor or taking Lipitor in combination with certain other drugs can cause muscle fatigue, cramping, and in severe cases, life-threatening muscle damage known as rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis can cause excruciating pain and can lead to kidney and liver failure. Patients may take Lipitor initially without seeing serious adverse side effects. In other cases, however, people may have taken the drug and over time lost the ability to walk, climb the stairs, or get up out of a chair. The good news is that discontinuing use of the drug may potentially put a halt to the symptoms. For a small number of patients, the negative side effects associated with the drug may be long-lasting or permanent.
  • Potential for developing liver disease. In addition to an increased risk of developing muscle disease, Lipitor use can also create a higher chance of liver disease. In fact, patients who already have liver disease are advised not to take the drug. Statin use has been reported to cause the liver to increase its production of enzymes that help digest food, drinks, and medications. Although this may not seem that bad, the overproduction of any enzyme can cause imbalances and damage to the liver. When enzyme levels become too elevated, the damaged liver tissue releases enzymes into the bloodstream. Lipitor has been shown to damage liver function to the point of organ failure.

If you took Lipitor in order to prevent cardiac problems, only to develop diabetes, liver and kidney problems, or cognitive impairment, you deserve justice!

Reasons to Consider a Lawsuit Against Pfizer

If you suffered adverse effects from Lipitor, you may want to consider pursuing a claim against Pfizer. This is especially true if you were prescribed the medication before the drug’s risk factors were added to the label.

You could be entitled to compensation for your present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, pursuing a successful lawsuit requires guidance from an experienced professional. We encourage you to contact us at 888-526-7616 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Is it Worth It?

Given the potential risks involved with taking Lipitor, merely adding warning labels may not be enough to protect its users—especially given the huge sums of money spent marketing the drug to consumers. Pfizer has grown rich by selling Lipitor to the public—but it’s not clear to us that the benefits have been great enough to justify the harm to pubic health.

On a individual basis, you can make that decision yourself. If you have suffered serious health consequences after taking Lipitor or if a family member has died from Lipitor side effects, you absolutely should contact a drug harm lawyer to learn how to seek a fair recovery. Call us today. We’re waiting to hear from you.