What is Lipitor?
Lipitor is a prescription medication classified as a statin, designed to lower the risk of cardiac disease, heart attack, stroke and chest pain. The drug is intended to lower a patient’s bad cholesterol by inhibiting the production of an enzyme in the liver and triglycerides in the patient’s blood. More than 29 million patients have been prescribed Lipitor in the United States (http://www.lipitor.com/brand). Although millions of Americans rely on statins such as Lipitor because, the drug’s significant side effects can far outweigh the benefits.
Who is Affected by Lipitor’s Side Effects?
- Women who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
- Women who took Lipitor within six months before their type 2 diabetes diagnosis
- Women with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or lower (BMI Calculator) (Type 2 diabetes is typically only found in those with a BMI greater than 30)
- Women under the age of 80
Has Lipitor Been Linked to Type 2 Diabetes?
Lipitor has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women under the age of 80 who have taken Lipitor. A 2012 study conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative documented a startling increase in Lipitor diabetes risk for postmenopausal women (http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20120109/statins-may-raise-diabetes-risk-in-older-women). Studies have shown that there is a 50% higher risk of developing diabetes for postmenopausal women taking Lipitor, while there is only a 9% greater risk for the general population (http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20120109/statins-may-raise-diabetes-risk-in-older-women).
Another study done in March 2011 by the American College of Cardiology showed the effects and relationship between diabetes and woman taking Lipitor over the past decade.
Three large randomized clinical trials showed that an 80 milligram dose of Lipitor caused significant increases in fasting insulin and glycated hemoglobin levels consistent with insulin resistance and ambient glycemia in hypercholesterolemic patients. The study’s results confirmed that the drug does increase the risk for developing diabetes.
Is Lipitor Safe?
The FDA became aware of these studies linking type 2 diabetes and statin use (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/28/statin-warnings-memory-loss-diabetes-lipitor-crestor-zocor_n_1307232.html), and as a response, in 2012, the FDA released a warning regarding the link between Lipitor’s side effects and type 2 diabetes. The FDA warning mandated changes to the product’s safety label, which included a new warning about the risk of high blood sugar for patients taking Lipitor and other statins. (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/03/fda-adds-risk-of-diabetes-memory-problems-to-lipitor-and-similar-drugs/index.htm).
Despite recent studies and FDA warnings, Lipitor fails to provide doctors and patients with information about the dangers that are associated with the drug. The Lipitor website does not list type 2 diabetes as a possible side effect of the drug, but states the importance of telling your doctor if you have diabetes.