Lipitor is the most popular cholesterol-lowering drug in its class known as statins, and is used by millions of people around the world each day.
The FDA approved Lipitor in December of 1996 with the purpose of preventing the liver from producing cholesterol by blocking the HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that produces cholesterol.
Lipitor is an orally ingested drug used to reduce LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, which has been linked to the development of coronary artery diseases, while also increasing concentration of HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol, which protects against the development of coronary artery disease by reducing the concentration of triglycerides carried in the blood.
Most Common Users of Lipitor
Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that 67 million American adults have high blood pressure, and it’s estimated that nearly 20 million of these Americans are using statins to lower their cholesterol.
Lipitor manufacturer Pfizer has generated $34 billion in sales and has collected a quarter of a trillion dollars since the initial introduction of the drug two decades ago.
In 2010, it cost the United States around $93.5 billion in order to provide health care services, medications, and pay for missed days of work for individuals with high blood pressure, while many of these individuals were also prescribed to Lipitor.
Some common reasons people use Lipitor include (but are not limited to):
- Reduce blood pressure
- Decrease risk of heart attack
- Decrease risk of stroke
- Reduce chest pain
- Reduce LDL cholesterol
Of course, eliminating these symptoms using Lipitor may make it seem like a miracle drug, there have been numerous negative side effects and symptoms as a result. Some of these side effects and symptoms have been proven to be just as dangerous as the symptoms the drug is intended to prevent.
Side Effects and Symptoms
Although it has been proven that statins have the ability to significantly reduce the risk for heart disease and heart attacks, it has also been proven that statins can produce some serious side effects as well. In fact, Lipitor has been proven to increase allergic reactions, create liver problems, and increase blood sugar levels, just to name a few symptoms.
Some more side effects of Lipitor include (but are not limited to):
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Lazy eye
- Hair loss
- Throwing up
- Numbness and tingling
- Low libido
- Taste problems
- Excessive sweating
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sinus congestion
In many cases, if these signs and symptoms are not dealt with immediately, they can develop into more severe problems which often cause temporary and permanent injuries.
Potential Types of Injuries
Oftentimes, when an individual has been taking Lipitor for a long time and fails to recognize any signs and symptoms, they can develop into more severe and permanent injuries. In fact, a study performed by the Women’s Health Initiative on 150,000 postmenopausal women demonstrates that women taking a statin are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
A few additional injuries include (but are not limited to):
- Stomach or intestinal ulcer
- Muscle problems
- Memory loss
- Allergic reactions
- Kidney failure
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Liver failure
- Kidney stone
- Bloody urine
- Cystic disease of the breasts
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
- Ruptured tendon
- Anal bleeding
Severe Injuries Caused By Lipitor
As the above list demonstrates some of the injuries caused by Lipitor, there are a few more details about some of these injuries that should be recognized, some of which could prevent any type of injury from occurring what so ever. Some severe injuries caused by Lipitor include (but are not limited to):
Hepatitis is the swelling of the liver and is characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the livers tissues. In some cases, hepatitis can lead to other symptoms such as anorexia, jaundice, and malaise.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology examined results from 23 clinical trials of statins searing for patterns of liver damage. They discovered that an increased dose of statins caused 2.4 times as many instances of liver damage as low dose statins, which equates to 271 cases per 100,000 patients. Furthermore, this study found that individuals Lipitor was 4.0 times more dangerous when taken in high doses than low doses.
Kidney failure is a condition where the kidneys fail to filter waste products from the blood. Typically, this is determined by a decrease in the glomerular filtration rate, which is where the blood becomes filtered by the glomeruli in the kidneys.
As Lipitor is associated with rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle disease, it may cause severe kidney damages or kidney failure. This occurs when the muscles break down and spill the access contents into the blood steam. This includes proteins which may clog the filters of the kidneys, thus resulting in impaired kidney function leading to kidney failure.
Diabetes is where an individual has high blood sugar levels, either due to the cells not responding to the insulin produced by the body, or due to the pancreas not producing sufficient amounts of insulin. The high sugar level in the blood then results in symptoms of frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger.
As mentioned earlier, there was a study performed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School showing that statins could increase the risk of postmenopausal women developing type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted on over 154,000 women with the average age of 63 lasting form 1993 to 2005. The study found over 10,200 women developed new cases of type 2 diabetes and women with a body mass index less than 25 had the greatest risk of developing the disease.
Known Interactions with Lipitor
Aside from the dangerous side effects of Lipitor, the cholesterol drug is known to have several interactions with preexisting conditions, food and other pharmaceuticals.
Diseases that Interact with Lipitor
Lipitor is known to lead to certain diseases and cause complications in those with particular pre-existing conditions.
Lipitor has negative interactions with the following diseases:
- Liver Disease
- Myoneural Disorder
Those suffering from these diseases should avoid using Lipitor, as it can lead to potentially fatal damage to the internal organs.
Food & Drug Interactions with Lipitor
There are several ways which a prescription drug can affect the body, and as such, the substances present in the body can affect the way a medication affects a patient. Although most prescription drugs that have dangerous interactions often contain warning labels, every interaction may not be listed.
Lipitor is known to have interactions with over 275 other medications and one food. Grapefruit juice can increase the levels of atorvastatin in the blood and should therefore be avoided. While the list of drug interactions is too long to list here, there are over 40 major drug interactions with Lipitor, more than 160 moderate and nearly 75 minor interactions.
Some of the drugs that cause major interactions with Lipitor include (but are not limited to):
- Amoxicillin-containing medications
- Colchicine-containing medications
- Emtricitabine-containing medications
- Erythromycin-containing medications
- Fenofibric acid
- Lopinavir / ritonavir
- Lovastatin / niacin
- Niacin-containing medications
This is just a partial list of generic names among the most dangerous drug interactions in Lipitor patients. If you are taking medications that you suspect may interact with Lipitor, consult your doctor immediately. It is always important to speak to your physician about any medications you are taking, prescribed or otherwise, to avoid potentially life-threatening complications.