In 2013, Lipitor, Diabetes, and Post Menopausal Women Controversy Finally Gets Attention

Thanks to all of our regular readers of The Brandi Law Firm Blog.  We try to write about matters that we are involved in representing consumers in the area of defective drugs and devices, consumer issues, and auto safety.  We have seen our readership grow by fivefold this year and we thank you for your interest.  We will look back at articles and subjects that sparked the most interest this year.

On the drug side, the effects of Lipitor on post menopausal women resulting in increased risk of type two diabetes was a growing concern, as we are now representing a number of people suffering from diabetes. Two significant articles we featured this year on this subject sparked a great deal of feedback.

Lipitor is a popular statin medication designed to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting an enzyme that plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver.  We have heard of the “good” cholesterol and the “bad” Cholesterol.  Lipitor is prescribed to help prevent the production of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), also known as the “bad” cholesterol because it is known to block arteries. Lipitor is the brand name for the drug Atorvastatin.  It is sold by Pfizer and was approved by the FDA in 1996.  Lipitor is prescribed in either 10 or 80 mg tablets taken daily. Pfizer has recorded over $125 billion in sales of Lipitor.

In January of 2012, in a study published in the medical journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, that found that female patients between the ages of 50 and 79 who took statin medications (i.e., Lipitor and other LDL-lowering drugs) were 48 percent more likely to develop type-2 diabetes as compared to women in the same age group who did not take the drugs.  The study recruited 161,808 post menopausal women aged 50 to 79 years at 40 clinical centers across the United States from 1993 to 1998 with ongoing follow-up and data through 2005.  The study looked at whether there was an association between the use of statins and Diabetes Mellitus and concluded: “Statin medication in post menopausal women is associated with an increased risk of DM”.  The study also reported a significantly increased risk of DM with women with a BMI below 30 as compared to women above 30.

This has a profound effect on many baby boomer women who represent a large number of Lipitor users.

Dr. Eric Topol is a cardiologist with the Scripps Clinic and a recognized pioneer in the field of cardiovascular medicine.  For fourteen years, he ran the Cleveland Health Clinic, has authored over 1100 articles and 30 books, and was a founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.  An OP Ed article he wrote in the New York Times on March 5, 2012 about statins bears reexamination in light of the revelations of the Women’s Health Study that found that female patients between the ages of 50 and 79 who took statin medications (i.e., Lipitor and other LDL-lowering drugs) were 48 percent more likely to develop type-2 diabetes as compared to women in the same age group who did not take the drugs.

In his article entitled “The Diabetes Dilemma For Statin Users”, Dr. Topol looked at several large studies about statins, their potency and effect, including Lipitor (Atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Crestor (Rosuvastatin), and stated that with the more potent statins including Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor “particularly at higher doses, that the risk of diabetes shows up.  The cause and effect was unequivocal because the multiple large trials of the more potent statins had a consistent excess of diabetes.”

We are currently investigating these cases for a number of women.  The Brandi Law Firm is nationally recognized for its long involvement in cases involving defects in drugs or devices.  If you or a loved one have taken Lipitor and been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, based on medical studies, there is a potential claim against the manufacturer.  If you would like more information, please contact The Brandi Law Firm by e-mail or call 415-989-1800 or (800) 481-1615.  We have also set up a website dedicated to providing the most up to date Lipitor lawyer and Lipitor lawsuit information at www.lipitorlawsuitattorney.com.

Pfizer is no stranger to litigation over its products.  In September 2009, Pfizer pleaded guilty to the illegal marketing of the arthritis drug Bextra for uses unapproved by the U.S.FDA and agreed to a $2.3 billion settlement, the largest health care fraud settlement at that time.  This was Pfizer’s fourth such settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in the previous ten years.  It also has been involved in litigation with Blue Cross Blue Shield over allegedly illegally marketing their drugs Bextra, Geodon and Lyricamis and allegations regarding the Bjork-Shiley heart valves.