Lipitor® - Side Effects, Injuries & Lawsuit Information
Lipitor® (Atorvastatin Calcium) is part of a class of drugs called statins. These type of drugs are typically prescribed to patients who have high cholesterol levels in their blood and are at risk for heart attack, other types of heart disease and stroke. Lipitor® is manufactured by Pfizer Inc.
The drug works by lowering the levels of LDL (low density lipoproteins), or "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises the levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins), or "good" cholesterol.
Lipitor® is prescribed for both adults and children who are 10 years old or older. The medication works best when patients combine its use with a proper diet, weight control and exercise.
Some patients may need to stop taking Lipitor® temporarily if they have uncontrolled seizures, an imbalance of electrolytes (such as high or low blood levels of sodium, calcium, or potassium), extremely low blood pressure, surgery or a medical emergency, or a serious infection or illness.
Patients should avoid the following while taking Lipitor®:
- High fat or high cholesterol foods
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice, because the combination with Lipitor® can cause dangerous side effects
Lipitor® Side Effects
Lipitor® is generally a well tolerated medication. In clinical studies before the drug was available on the market, fewer than 2 percent of patients stopped taking the medication because of side effects. However, as with most drug medications, there are potential risks to side effects. The more serious side effects associated with statin class drugs such as Lipitor® include:
Gastrointestinal side effects such as constipation, flatulence, indigestion and abdominal pain are the most reported Lipitor® side effects.
Raised levels of liver enzymes, indicating a liver problem, were reported in clinical trials. The levels returned to normal when the drug was stopped or the dose was decreased.
Some severe cases of myopathy, disease of the muscles, or rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue, have been reported. These problems can progress to severe liver disease or liver failure. More mild cases of muscle aches have been relatively common in patients taking Lipitor®.
Some blood disorders, such as anemia, low white blood cell count, and decreased platelet count have been reported in patients taking Lipitor®.
Numerous nervous system side effects that have occurred include headache, weakness, polyneuropathy (simultaneous dysfunction of many peripheral nerves simultaneously), dizziness, tremor and palsy.
Kidney failure may result from rhabdomyolysis.
These conditions may include low sperm count, increased breast tissue in males and thyroid problems.
Extra-sensitive side effects are rare. Some cases that have been reported include severe allergic reactions or severe skin diseases.
Psychiatric responses to Lipitor® have included decreased libido, anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares, impairment of memory, confusion and forgetfulness. These cases usually stop when Lipitor® is stopped.
These responses to Lipitor® include blood in the urine. Other statins were associated with erectile dysfunction, impotence, and pain of the testicles.
Reactions of the skin have been rare. In studies before the drug was on the market, 3.8% of patients said they had a rash. Allergic reaction to sunlight has also been reported.
Those patients who had a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack) within the six months before they started Lipitor® had an increased risk of a hemorrhagic stroke. Other cardiovascular side effects of Lipitor® that have occurred since it has been on the market include swelling of the arms and legs and chest pain.
Respiratory conditions that have occurred in Lipitor® patients include bronchitis, sore throat, colds and sinus problems.
Scientists have discovered that high doses of Lipitor® correlated with an increased risk of patients developing type 2 diabetes.
Patients should speak with their doctor immediately if they experience any of the following side effect symptoms:
- Unusual pain, weakness or tenderness in the muscles
- Confusion and memory difficulties
- Excess fatigue
- Dark-colored urine
- Swelling or weight gain
- Little or no urination
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
- Nausea, pain in the upper part of the stomach, appetite loss, clay-colored stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
- Fruity breath or odor
Lipitor® patients should get emergency medical assistance if they experience hives, problems breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, lips or throat as these could be signs of an allergic reaction.
The following Lipitor® side effects are less serious and do not merit emergency medical attention. However, patients should talk to their doctor if they occur.
- Mild pain in the muscles
- Mild nausea
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Consumer Update, expanding its advice on Lipitor® by adding further warnings about reports of memory loss, a risk of elevated blood sugar levels and diabetes, and the potential for muscle damage. In addition, the FDA, which previously warned of the risk of liver injury, said in their update that the possibility of liver injury is rare. This is a modification from a previous stronger warning.
Speak With A Lipitor® Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries related to Lipitor®, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit in which you can seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, permanent disabilities, pain and suffering and other damages. Contact us to speak with a Lipitor® lawyer.