A recently published editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is raising questions about new guidelines that could result in some 40 million more Americans taking cholesterol-lowering stains like Lipitor. Among other things, the editorial sites potential side effects, such as Lipitor diabetes, in cautioning against the possible “statinization” of America.
The publication of the editorial followed the release of new guidelines for prescribing statins by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology. Among other things, the revised guidance places less emphasis on cholesterol numbers. Instead, it is being recommended that any patient who can answer “yes” to any of the following four questions be prescribed Lipitor or another statin:
The guidelines also recommend that doctors not set cholesterol goal numbers for patients, which means many people could find themselves taking statins for the rest of their lives.
Some experts have said that the new guidelines could double the number of people taking statins like Lipitor.
Writing in the December 2nd issue of JAMA, Dr. John P. A. Ioannidis, director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine, posits that such widespread use of the drugs could “be one of the greatest achievements or one of the worst disasters of medical history.” He goes on to cite the risk of diabetes, myopathy and other potential statin side effects as reasons for caution.
“Information on potential statin harms (myopathy, diabetes, and more) is accumulating and concerning but also less systematically collected and thus carries more uncertainty than the benefits,” he writes. “The exact incidence of harms could markedly affect the optimal risk threshold for treatment.”
The new statin guidelines were published as dozens of Lipitor lawsuit filings alleging a connection between use of the medication and the onset of Type 2 diabetes were beginning to move forward in courts throughout the U.S. At least 100 such claims are now pending, and some plaintiffs are seeking to have federally-filed cases consolidated in a multidistrict litigation and transferred to one judge for pretrial proceedings. However, Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lipitor, is opposed to the creation of a consolidated litigation for Lipitor diabetes claims.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now investigating Lipitor lawsuits on behalf of patients who developed Type 2 diabetes while taking Lipitor. If you would like to learn more about your legal options, please contact the firm today for a free case review by calling .