In 2012, a study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that 48 percent of 150,000 women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s using statin drugs to lower cholesterol were more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those not taking the drugs.
Another large study, known as JUPITER, found a 27 percent increase in the risk of diabetes, even though use of the drug was stopped early. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also cited studies linking the use of statins to an increase in blood sugar levels, associated with diabetes.
In February, 2012, the FDA requested that all statins warn specifically about associated health concerns, which include:
- Increases in blood sugar levels
- Serious liver problems
- Memory loss and confusion
- A form of muscle injury called myopathy
Pfizer Lipitor Labeling Minimizes Diabetes Risk
Lipitor first came to market in 1997, and is currently one of the biggest selling prescription medicines in the world. Despite numerous studies linking statins with diabetes, many doctors and patients are not aware of the risks of developing the disease while on Lipitor because the risks were not widely publicized. In fact, when the FDA mandated changes to Lipitor’s labeling, manufacturer Pfizer cloaked the warning in medical jargon, stating “elevated blood glucose levels,” without actually using the word “diabetes.”
2013 Guidelines Suggest Increased Use of Statins
Despite numerous warnings associated with statin use, in November 2013 the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association revised guidelines on prescribing statins, suggesting that more than half of adults (almost 13 million new statin users) should take statins as a heart disease preventive measure. European guidelines for statin use translate into much lower numbers.
Lipitor Class Action Lawsuits
Lipitor lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer Inc. alleging that the manufacturers were aware of the risks, but failed to adequately warn the public, citing the fact that papers hid the increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Here are some common allegations raised in Lipitor diabetes lawsuits:
- Pfizer knew or should have known that Lipitor causes Type-2 Diabetes but marketed the medication as safe anyway.
- Lipitor is dangerously defective because it lacks sufficient warnings about the diabetes risk.
- Pfizer did not perform appropriate studies of Lipitor.
In the Lipitor lawsuit actions, plaintiffs have alleged that Pfizer failed to adequately warn users about the dangers involved with Lipitor and argued that Lipitor’s label warnings lacked information about the risk of type-2 diabetes. Plaintiffs have also claimed that, had they known about the risk, they would not have taken Lipitor. Since diabetes cannot be cured, if the plaintiffs in these lawsuits prevail, they could be awarded damages for their past, present, and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.