Diabetes Risk with Lipitor, Crestor, Other Statin Drugs Seen in Large Study

Side effects of popular cholesterol drugs, such as Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor and other similar medications, increase the risk of diabetes, according to the findings of new research.  

Researchers from the U.K. and the Netherlands published a study this week in the medical journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, which looks at the safety profiles of a group of cholesterol drugs known as statins.

The researchers found that while the drugs as a whole were relatively safe, statin users overall may face about a 9% increase in the risk of diabetes.

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The study looked at data from 135 previous randomized trials that involved nearly a quarter of a million individuals. In addition to the risk of diabetes, researchers also found that Lipitor and Crestor were linked to the most discontinuations with higher doses, meaning individuals were more likely to stop taking the drugs due to side effects. The researchers identified Zocor and Pravachol as the safest of the group.

Statin Diabetes Risk

Statins are among the best-selling drugs in the United States, with $14.5 billion in combined sales in 2008. They use the liver to block the body’s creation of cholesterol, which is a key contributor to coronary artery disease. However, a number of studies have linked the drugs to an increased risk of diabetes, muscle injury and kidney damage.

In February 2012, the FDA announced it was requiring new diabetes warnings for Lipitor and other similar statins, informing users for the first time that they may face an increased risk of changes to blood glucose levels.

Despite the diabetes risk, the researchers in the latest study concluded that, as a class, adverse events are rare with statins. They also failed to find any increased risk of cancer from statin use.

Lipitor Lawsuits Over Diabetes

In recent months, a growing number of Lipitor diabetes lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer by otherwise healthy women who allege they developed type 2 diabetes after taking the drug for long periods of time.

Plaintiffs allege that Pfizer withheld information about the risk of diabetes from Lipitor side effects, particularly among women with a BMI under 30, who do not have other risk factors for the disease.

Lipitor has been the most successful statin on the market, amid aggressive marketing and promotion by Pfizer. Even after the FDA required new label warnings, plaintiffs claim the manufacturer has attempted to minimize the risk of diabetes by failing to accurately warn about the impact the medication may have on blood glucose levels.

Over the coming months, the number of complaints filed nationwide is expected to rise dramatically, as Lipitor lawyers are continuing to investigate and review cases for women diagnosed with diabetes. Given the widespread use Lipitor, which has generated more than $125 billion in sales since 1996, estimates have suggested that thousands of cases may ultimately filed.

Later this month, a panel of federal judges is scheduled to hear oral arguments on whether all Lipitor lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide should be centralized before one judge for pretrial proceedings as part of a Lipitor MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

1 Comments

  • cindyOctober 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I'm a type 1 diabetic, for the last 42 yrs. I have been on Lipitor for the last 15 yrs, and I'm very concerned, cause I'm experiencing terrible bod aches, dizzy spell, just felling ill all over. My Dr has me on 60 mgs a day for 3 days a week. Instead of 20 mgs a day for 7 days a week. Still have the terrible side affects! I hate this medication! Should I still continue to take it? My cholesterial [Show More]I'm a type 1 diabetic, for the last 42 yrs. I have been on Lipitor for the last 15 yrs, and I'm very concerned, cause I'm experiencing terrible bod aches, dizzy spell, just felling ill all over. My Dr has me on 60 mgs a day for 3 days a week. Instead of 20 mgs a day for 7 days a week. Still have the terrible side affects! I hate this medication! Should I still continue to take it? My cholesterial level is 287. Which I know is too high. What else can I do? I don't want to continue the Lipitor. I have tried all the other statins also.

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