Lipitor is a cholesterol-lowering drug that has been linked to an increased risk of type-2 diabetes. According to a recent study, the risk of diabetes is 50% higher for post-menopausal women. Over 1,600 lawsuits have been centralized against Pfizer for failing to warn about the risk.
UPDATE: Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuits Tossed as Judge Rejects Causation
January 6, 2017 — A judge has dismissed most of the 2,800 lawsuits alleging that Lipitor causes diabetes, due to a lack of evidence of a risk at doses below 80mg per day. Click here to read more.
June 27, 2016 — Pfizer is facing approximately 3,000 federal lawsuits claiming the blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor causes type-2 diabetes. Click here to read more.
September 18, 2015 — Another 500 lawsuits involving Lipitor and type-2 diabetes have been filed since May, bringing the total number of cases to 2,550 in the centralized federal litigation in South Carolina. Click here to read more.
May 8, 2015 — Over 2,000 people who were diagnosed with type-2 diabetes after taking Lipitor have filed lawsuits against Pfizer. Click here to read more.
March 5, 2015 — Lipitor and other cholesterol-lowering statins may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes by 46% in men over 45 year old, according to a new study from researchers in Finland. Click here to read more.
February 5, 2015 — The plaintiff in the first Lipitor trial is a woman who used the cholesterol-lowering statin for 15 years before she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Click here to read more.
January 29, 2015 — The first federal “bellwether” trial involving a plaintiff who was diagnosed with diabetes after taking Lipitor has been scheduled for October 2015 in South Carolina. Click here to read more.
October 7, 2014 — A man who says he was injured by glass particles in generic Lipitor has filed a lawsuit against its manufacturer, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals. Click here to read more.
September 26, 2014 — A study published in The Lancet has found a 12% increased risk of type-2 diabetes from statins, such as Lipitor, which is likely due to the drug itself and not some underlying risk-factor in the patient. Click here to read more.
August 14, 2014 — In the last five months, the number of lawsuits involving Lipitor and diabetes has surged from 56 to nearly 1,000, according to a review of federal court filings by Reuters. Click here to read more.
July 24, 2014 — Diabetes Care has published a study linking higher rates of type-2 diabetes with higher doses of cholesterol-lowering statins. Patients who took the highest doses were 32% more likely to develop new-onset diabetes. Click here to read more.
June 12, 2014 — A study published in the British Medical Journal has linked the use of high-potency statins with a 9% increased risk of diabetes compared to low-potency statins. Click here to read more.
June 2, 2014 — The number of Lipitor lawsuits has grown to 704, according to a May 15 update from the JPML. This means over 200 lawsuits were filed since the last update from the JPML on April 15, when just 464 cases were pending. Click here to read more.
May 21, 2014 — A woman from Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer after she took Lipitor from 2006-2012 developed type-2 diabetes. Click here to read more.
April 28, 2014 — The Journal Star reports that a Lipitor lawsuit has been filed by a Nebraska woman who was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes after using Lipitor to treat high cholesterol for nine years. At least 464 Lipitor lawsuits are now pending in the federal MDL. Click here to read more.
February 20, 2014 — Reversing its decision from last year, a panel of federal judges has ordered that more than 200 Lipitor lawsuits involving type-2 diabetes will be centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in South Carolina. Click here to read more.
September 23, 2013 — Study links Lipitor and other statins to a 9-27% increased risk of cataracts. Longer use of the drugs is associated with a higher risk of cataracts. Click here to read more.
August 7, 2013 — A woman from Daingerfield, Texas has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer. She took Lipitor in 2006 and was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in 2009. Click here to read more.
July 25, 2013 — Today, plaintiffs’ lawyers presented oral arguments for the establishment of a federal court to centralize Lipitor lawsuits. Click here to read more.
July 12, 2013 — Study involving nearly 250,000 people links Lipitor and other statins to a 9% increased risk of type-2 diabetes. Click here to read more.
July 11, 2013 — A woman from Mississippi has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer after she took Lipitor for three years and was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Click here to read more.
June 11, 2013 — High-potency Lipitor linked to 34% increased risk of kidney disease compared to “low-potency” statins. Click here to read more.
June 6, 2013 — A woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has filed a lawsuit after she took Lipitor for eight years and was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. She alleges that Pfizer was negligent for failing to warn about this side effect. Click here to read more.
January 12, 2012 — Researchers have linked Lipitor to a 50% increased risk of type-2 diabetes in post-menopausal women. Click here to read more.
What is Lipitor?
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a medication that is used to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. Lipitor belongs to a large class of drugs known as statins, which prevent the liver from making low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase.
Lipitor was created by Pfizer Inc. and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997. In just a few years, it quickly became the most-prescribed medication in the entire world and the most lucrative drug in history. Until the patent on Lipitor expired in November 2011, Pfizer raked in $11 billion in revenue on the drug every year.
What is the problem with Lipitor?
Although studies have found that Lipitor is effective for reducing mortality in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol, it is not clear that people without pre-existing cardiovascular disease benefit from Lipitor. A growing number of Lipitor lawsuits allege that Pfizer aggressively marketed Lipitor without warning about the potential dangers.
Lipitor and Type-2 Diabetes
Studies of Lipitor and type-2 diabetes have found that it can elevate blood-sugar levels, which may cause new onset of type-2 diabetes. Unfortunately, people with type-2 diabetes suffer from chronic blood-sugar control problems. It can dramatically shorten a person’s lifespan and lead to fatal complications if it is not controlled.
Although the increased risk of diabetes from Lipitor appears to be small, it is dramatically higher for people with certain risk factors:
- Excess weight or obesity
- High blood sugar
- Insulin resistance
- High triglycerides (blood fat)
- High blood pressure
- Family history of type-2 diabetes
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Age (being over 45)
FDA Warnings for Lipitor and Diabetes
In response to years of research linking Lipitor and diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published this Drug Safety Communication in February 2012 to warn about the risk and update the label.
The warning for Lipitor was based on “reports of increased blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.” Diabetics who have high glycosylated hemoglobin have poorer control over blood-sugar levels. They also have a significantly higher risk of heart problems and kidney damage.
The FDA Safety Warning was also concerned about the following clinical studies:
- JUPITER Clinical Trial: Researchers found that Crestor, a statin that is very similar to Lipitor, was associated with a 27% increased reports of diabetes compared to patients taking a placebo.
- PROVE-IT TIMI 22 sub-study: Lipitor was specifically associated with increased blood-sugar levels.
Studies of Lipitor and Diabetes
Researcher have published numerous studies linking statins, Lipitor, and type-2 diabetes. Some of these studies include:
- The Lancet published a study in February 2010 that found a 9% increased risk of diabetes in patients taking statins, based on a meta-analysis of 13 clinical trials.
- The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study in March 2011 that linked higher doses of Lipitor to higher rates of diabetes.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study in June 2011 that found a 12% increased risk of diabetes associated with statins. Researchers estimated there would be one extra case of diabetes for every 500 people who took a statin.
- The JAMA Internal Medicine published a study in January 2012 that found post-menopausal women who took a statin were 50% more likely to develop diabetes. Conclusions were based on more than 161,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79. Within nine years, 6.4% of women who did not take statins had diabetes, compared to 10% of the women who took statins.