Countless women have been put at risk by pharmaceutical companies peddling their cholesterol lowering medications. Statins, or lipid-lowering medications, have become a part of our vernacular. In today’s culture, 15 million people take statins to lower their cholesterol.
The nature of the drug, which inhibits the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase and controls the cholesterol production in the liver, is appealing to those who suffer from high cholesterol.
However, women have not been told the entire truth about the safety of this increasingly popular medication.
A commonly overlooked truth about the statin class of medicines is that women who take statins are at a considerably higher risk of developing diabetes than their non-statin-consuming counterparts.
A 2012 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that postmenopausal women who take statins are placed at an increased risk for developing diabetes mellitus. This study, known as the Women’s Health Initiative, showed a 48% increased risk for diabetes in women taking statins.
An additional study revealed that worsening glycemic control occurred more frequently with atorvastatin, commonly known as the popular drug Lipitor, than with pravastatin, commonly known as Pravachol.
In response to the mounting evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would require changes to the labels of statin drugs:
“Increases in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) have been reported with statin use. The FDA is also aware of studies showing that patients being treated with statins may have a small increased risk of increased blood sugar levels and of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus.”
At this time, the FDA does not recommend that patients be discontinued from their statin therapy in spite of the now known increased risk for diabetes. Amy G. Egan, MD, MPH, Deputy Director for Safety in the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products at the FDA, states:
“Elevations in blood sugar levels should be treated with dietary and lifestyle management and/or adjustment or initiation of anti-diabetic therapies. We do not consider this a reason to not continue or not initiate statins, particularly in the diabetic population where patients are at increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular events and statin therapy has been shown to reduce that risk.”
My advice is that if you aren’t currently taking a statin drug, try to manage your cholesterol with diet and exercise. There are resources available to you on AdvoKAYte to help you determine some alternatives.
If you are already taking a statin, particularly Lipitor, discuss a cholesterol-lowering diet (preferably a plant-based diet) with your doctor. At a minimum, you should speak with your doctor about switching you to a drug in the statin class other than Lipitor.
If you are on Lipitor and have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, you should speak with a Lipitor lawyer to discuss your particular situation and learn whether you may be eligible to make a claim against Pfizer.
I am currently investigating claims on behalf of women who meet the following criteria:
- Are under age 60
- Have a BMI less than 30 (if you don’t know your BMI, you can easily calculate it by clicking this link to an online BMI calculator)
- Have taken Lipitor for at least a year
- Have been diagnosed with diabetes
Need more information? Learn more about Lipitor lawsuits.
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