In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor. Since then Lipitor advertisements have told you that, in addition to exercise and a healthy diet, you may need Lipitor to lower you cholesterol. For years these ads have showed you the same images over and over again: middle aged men and women riding bikes, hiking mountains, swimming, or walking dogs in serene surroundings. While enjoying nature and their active lifestyles these men and women discuss their heart health. Each one tells the same story; they couldn’t manage to lower their cholesterol on their own—diet and exercise just weren’t enough. However, with the help of Lipitor they’ve managed to lower their cholesterol and therefore decrease their risk for heart attacks and strokes. What these advertisements didn’t tell you is that Lipitor may increase your risk for diabetes.
Lipitor is prescribed by physicians to help lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the fats in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. However, high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels, making it difficult for blood to flow through your arteries. This may prevent your heart from receiving as much oxygen as it needs and therefore may lead to a heart attack. It may also decrease oxygen to your brain which could lead to a stroke.
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A majority of the time, a healthy diet and regular exercise will reduce high cholesterol. However, when diet and exercise don’t work your doctor may prescribe a statin. There are several different statin drugs on the market that work to lower your cholesterol. The highest selling statin is Lipitor. Lipitor is manufactured and marketed by Pfizer, Inc. and is the best selling drug in pharmaceutical history, exceeding $125 billion.
In January 2012, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a study which showed a potential relationship between statin use and the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. This study found that women between the ages of 50 and 79 who took statins like Lipitor were nearly 50% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than women who did not. This study and others have found that Lipitor may increase the chance of developing diabetes for post-menopausal women. On the basis of these findings, in February 2012 the FDA added information to statin labels regarding the impact statins have on the development of diabetes. Prior to this, no such warning existed to inform consumers or physicians about the risk of diabetes for post-menopausal women taking Lipitor.
Diabetes is a serious medical condition. Diabetes occurs because of the body’s inability to produce or use insulin—a hormone needed to convert food to energy. If the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or if cells do not respond appropriately to insulin, blood sugar levels in the blood get too high, which can lead to serious health problems. Symptoms of diabetes include weight loss, frequent urination, and increased thirst and hunger. Diabetes can also cause vision changes—another common complaint leading to the diagnosis of diabetes.
Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels and kidneys, doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, has the potential to cause blindness, and also impacts the nervous system—causing numbness, tingling and pain in the feet.
If you are post-menopausal and were diagnosed with diabetes after taking Lipitor, please contact the law firm of Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC at 1-800-241-9779.