Vytorin Class Action Lawsuits Mount as Justice Deptartment Investigates

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits

Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. currently face around 140 Vytorin class action lawsuits involving their once-popular cholesterol drug, which has been shown to provide no medical benefits over cheaper generic alternatives. In addition, this week the drug makers disclosed that the U.S. Department of Justice is now investigating their marketing of the medication.

Vytorin is a combination of ezetimibe (Zetia) and simvastatin (Zocor). The anti-cholesterol drug was approved by the FDA in 2004 and heavily marketed as part of a joint venture between Merck and Schering-Plough.

One component of Vytorin is Zocor, which blocks an enzyme necessary for cholesterol production in the body, and the other component is Zetia, which inhibits intestinal absorption of cholesterol and decreases its delivery to the liver.
Vytorin was marketed as being more effective than the stand-alone drugs and was meant to provide better protection against heart attacks by reducing the buildup of plaque in the inner walls of arteries. The drug lowers total cholesterol as well as ‘bad‘ LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, while the level of ‘good’ HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is increased.

In January 2008, after months of delaying and stalling, the drug makers released data from a study that demonstrated Vytorin provides no significant medical benefits over taking Zocor alone, which is available as a generic at one-third the cost of the combination drug.

In July 2008, concerns emerged about a possible risk of cancer with Vytorin after data from a study known as SEAS found an increased incidence of cancer among Vytorin users. While the drug makers initially dismissed the findings as likely attributed to chance, an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine has indicated that it is too early to rule out the possible Vytorin cancer connection.

Vytorin lawsuits have been filed against Merck and Schering-Plough involving consumer fraud actions for selling a medication which provides no benefits, cases alleging personal injuries caused by the drug and claims to establish medical monitoring for users who were given the drug.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, Merck disclosed that the companies are also now facing an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, who is looking into whether the drug makers’ promotion of Vytorin involved making false claims to federal health care programs, such as Medicare.

This could potentially result in the companies paying millions, or even billions, of dollars back to the government for prescription expenses spent on the drug.

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  1. Sharon Reply

    I took Vytorin from Nov 07 until June 07 when my liver enzymes were over 2,000. After two biopsies, it was determinined I have autoimmune hepatitis “likely triggered by exposure to Vytorin”. My doctor is at the University Hospitals in Iowa City. I now have chronic liver damage and am on Azathioprine daily, possibly for live.

  2. Sheila Reply

    I was on Vytorin from Aug 06 till fall of 08. Shortly after being on Vytorin, my legs, hips and back began to ache. My knees or the muscles all around them followed shortly. I still hurt. Climbing steps is hard. My blood work indicated damage from statins so my doctor took me off the drug in the fall of 08. I’m on pain meds and it is the only way that I can move semi ok. previous to this issue had no problem with movement.

  3. Gail Reply

    My husband suffered for years with gastrointestional problems. The problems started with the diagnosis of diverticulitis which required emergency surgery and two additionl surgeries (reversal of a colostomy and repair of of large abdominal hernia). Around the same time my husband was switched from Zocar to Vytorin. After all the surgeries, my husband continued to have gastrointestional problems which we thought were related to all the recent surgeries. During this time, he was diagnosed with Colitis. Then the controversy started around Vytorin. My husband took this information to his primary doctor and requested to be taken off of it. Once he stopped the Vytorin, his pain and diarrhia stopped immediately. I can’t even begin to explain here the years of suffering he underwent, plus the expense

  4. Virginia Reply

    I had non-hodkins lymphoma in 1980. I started taking vytorin i think in 2005 and I am still taking it. In april of 2007 my nh lymphoma was back. The doctors were surprised that it had reoccured after 27 years of remission. I did a year of chemo and now doing 2 years of maintance chemo. I just read about possible link between vytorin and cancer and now I am wondering if the vytorin caused my lymphoma to return? I am not going to take it untill I talk to my doctors.

  5. Pingback: Zetia and Vytorin Side Effects Not Linked to Cancer According to Study -

  6. Becky Reply

    I have taken vytorin for a year and last week my doctor took me off the medication. I am suffering with back pain, leg pain that makes my leg feel numb at times, I can’t stand or walk for long periods of time. Getting up from sitting down for long periods hurts.

  7. INEZ Reply


  8. arleen Reply

    i have had severe cramps in my thighs feet ,every where,in my neck. all my muscles are weak. i took vitorin for at least two or three years. took my self off. now i am on crestor

  9. amanda Reply


  10. James Reply

    Since 2001 after my heart attach I was on Zocor and Zetia after about 2 or 3 years of that I went on Vytorin I am still on it today. Just like one of the comments made I also have pain in my legs and feet, but I am also diabetic.

  11. melissa Reply

    I took vytorin1/06 until I started having mucle crampsand pain in one of my legs,I took zetia 1/08 until Istarted having muscle crampsand pain in the some place as before. I am still having muscle crampsand pain in that same place at different times.

  12. nathaniel Reply

    i was diagnosed with high cholesterol about 3 years doctor put me on vytorin after i got a physical from him.a few months later i noticed my nose would bleed for no reason and i started having a lot of back pains for no reason.i went back to my doctor for a checkup and blood work.he told me my liver panels were way out of whack and that he was taking me off of vytorin.he told me the side effects of the medicine was damaging my liver.

  13. cindy Reply

    I had taken vitorin and then the more I exercised the more pain I had in my muscles. I stopped the medicine but continued with pain and muscle fatigue. went to doctors and was sick for 3 years until I got somewhat better. I just had unexplained chronic pain. I still have serious pain in my legs.

  14. Beth Reply

    I started taking Vytorin 10/40 June 2009 and in Aug of 2009 ended up hospitalized for acute pancreatitis..was otherwise a healthy person with no history of any gastro problems. Of course I stopped taking Vytorin and was curious why I got pancreatitis so I did some research and found out months later taking vytorin can cause pancreatitis.

  15. bellinda Reply

    i was taking vytorin in 2009 from my knees all down both legs my muscles would ache all the time,then my knees started hurting . i still today have problems with my legs hurting & my ankles swelling. cannot walk a lot without problems, stairs are hard to climb and standing a while is hard on my ankles.

  16. belinda Reply

    in 2009 i was taking vytorin legs,knees,ankles,and neck have been my trouble.a lot of pain,swelling,standing,just climbings stairs, pain pill help some but the swelling and pain always comes back

  17. Sylvia Reply

    I have taken Vytorin 4-5 years. I went to my doctor complaining about my muscles aching in my hips, legs, and back. I feel tired all the time. He told me to get off the Vytorin. However, since I quit, I still ache in these muscles. I’ve had MRI scans in my brain showing nothing unusual. I have never felt this kind of pain before taking this drug. I am going to physical therapy.

  18. julia Reply

    i have had the same problems since being put on vytorin,don,t even mention stairs.none of this bothered me before.

  19. Linda Reply

    About 6 years ago my internist put me on Vytorin. I couldn’t sleep and thought it might be the drug. I cut the dosage in half and then was able to sleep. That was about a month into taking the drug and my doc did bloodwork on my liver and enzymes were very high. I stopped the Vytorin and my liver has improved some but is still not normal. About two months after taking theVytorin, I started having a lot of flaking in my scalp. Went to dermotologist and found I had psoriasis. I never had any skin problems in my life and to my knowledge, neither does anyone in my family. Six years later and I am still suffering from psoriasis. It covers much of my body. I haven’t worn a skirt or dress in years and try to wear long sleeves and pants to hide the ugly skin. This is a depressing disease and treatment helps some but it is ongoing and very expensive. Now I am starting to have symptoms of psoriasatic arthritus. When will it end?

  20. George Reply

    1 took Vytorin fora year or more to lower my colesterol. My knees,my hip and my back got progessively more painful and weaker. My daughter saw a noitice on TV that Vytorin was causing this. I stopped taking the drug,. but the damage is done and I have foung no way to reverse it. Six months more on Vytorin and I expect I would be dead..I can’t walk without a walker and can no longer do house work or gardening

  21. emraaz Reply

    i have been taking vytorin for 7+ years. having lots of muscle pain and now i was told i have hole in my heart. i am 55 years old male in excellent health. never in my life had shortness of breath or heart related problems.

  22. kenneth Reply

    I too have the muscle pain even to the point I thought I had MS I’ve stopped taking the meds but still have the pain

  23. Elizabeth Reply

    Have been on vitorin10/40 for 7years, dr just took me off it due to cost I have been struggling to pay for it. I also have fatigue depression

  24. Wallace Reply

    After taking Vytorin for about 8 months I had developed severe breathing problems and muscle deterioration.. My doctors could not determine the cause, but when I stopped the Vytorin on my own, The problems quickly began to recede . My muscle tone has never returned and I still have some breathing problems. Now , while preparing for some heart surgery I find that I have both kidney and bladder problems, sufficiently severe that the heart surgery has to be put off.I believe the bladder problem is the direct result of my use of Vytorin and the kidney problem is related to the bladder problem.

  25. Gregory Reply

    iIn 2009 I took Vytorin for 13 days and was week and very sick. my enzyme level ( cpk ) 16,800. Normal levels are under 500. I went to the hospital with kidney, liver and heart failure. after muscle biopsy I was diagnosed with Vytorin induced Necrosis muscle .Yes my muscle is dying faster than my body can reproduce. I have been in contact with several Lawyers, but have not been able to make any progress.

  26. Paul Reply

    To Gregory, like you I had attempted to contact attorneys about this Vytorin affliction back in 2010, but with little success. I’m fading away as well and in pain 24 hours every day. I was a vibrant engineer and used to power lift and body build, but people who I have known for a long time don’t recognize me anymore as I’m just a shadow of my former self. I began taking the drug back in 2006 after open heart surgery and recurring pleural effusion. As I was taking several other prescriptions to recover from the surgery and to combat the effusions, my physicians could not figure out what was causing me the severe muscular pains I was realizing over my entire body. It was not until January 2008, when the drug companies were forced to come clean and report the failed results of their 2006 short term testing that defined that Vytorin didn’t work as intended and caused a variety of side effects, that it was determined that Vytorin was the culprit. It was actually my pharmacist that said, “I think I know what the source of your extreme pain issues is”. You see it was two weeks after I quit taking the drug that my upper body started to resolve and we recalled that it was about two weeks after I first started the Vytorin that it all began. Following that discovery, we figured that since the lower body muscles were larger than the upper body, that the lower body might take longer to start resolving. However, that never occurred. And the danger in waiting was the law. Apparently the pharmaceutical companies and the physicians who prescribed the drug (not knowing anything about what they were giving patients and even as I protested as Lipitor was working for me without side effects) are protected by statute of limitations that are in most cases very similar from state to state and don’t give one much time in which to act. Contrary to what you may read, each individual who has been poisoned by this drug reacts differently though there are definite similarities. It doesn’t have to be the largest dose that initiates the negative effects in the body and the time period from first ingestion to permanent damage varies from patient to patient. At one time there were several sites for people to talk to one another about their afflictions, but as it has killed off many patients (one of my oldest and dearest co-workers and two of my cousin’s employees to illustrate just a bit) and the frustration about not being able to sue over being poisoned has set in, resulting in fewer and fewer persons talking about it all. There’s also the overwhelming pain that many have realized that keeps them from time on the computer. The time I’m taking to discuss with you is causing me much discomfort right now, but I feel for your condition as I’m familiar first hand. I don’t want you to lose faith, but I’m not seeing any hope on the horizon myself. My life is hardly worth living anymore as I have a high metabolism for pain killers and anesthetics, meaning that neither works very well for me. I’ve awakened from general anesthesia twice (once with my chest cut open and my sternum cracked in open heart, and my body pretty much just laughs at narcotic pain killers so I don’t get much pain relief. However, I’m still here and having to pay for everything myself along with losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in income due to having to declare for disability. I don’t move around much anymore and have become overly anxious about not being able to work (I was a workaholic and enjoyed it immensely). That has led to at least 3 strokes as it’s the only thing my neurologists could find wrong with me other than the Vytorin effects. They claim to have had other patients realize strokes once they have ceased working and have said that it is very common. I have to believe them as it happened to my father and one uncle after they retired. Anyway, I wish you well and will say a prayer for you even though we don’t know one another. I only wish I knew of a cure or a way to sue for damages that, in principle at least, we are both due. Take care.

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