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Are Statin Guidelines Contributing To The Number of Women Diagnosed With Lipitor Diabetes?

Author: Lisa Sandberg
by Lisa Sandberg
Posted: Mar 25, 2015

Statins like Lipitor have been heavily promoted as a safe way to treat high cholesterol levels. The drugs inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme in the liver that plays an important role in LDL cholesterol production. Blocking it lowers LDL levels, which is believed to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

But a growing number of experts are questioning whether statin therapy is helpful, especially in light of increased reports of Lipitor diabetes complications in women. The question comes even as the number of people who qualify to take statins is expected to soar.

If you were diagnosed with diabetes after taking Lipitor, you're not alone. Thousands of women have experienced the same condition after using the drug.

"Primary Prevention" Elevates The Risk Of Lipitor Diabetes

The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for the prescription of statin therapy in November 2013. The changes are expected to produce a dramatic rise in the number of people using drugs like Lipitor. According to a recent editorial published by Medscape, the number of users could swell from less than 13 million to 45 million.

Traditionally, doctors have prescribed Lipitor to patients who showed signs of cardiovascular disease. The goal of therapy was to achieve specific lipid levels. Once those levels were met, the therapy was often stopped.

The new guidelines emphasize an entirely different set of goals. Therapy is no longer reserved for those with CVD. Statin use is now advised for anyone who falls into 1 of 4 distinct groups:

  1. Individuals with CVD.
  2. Individuals with LDL cholesterol levels of 190 mg/dL or higher.
  3. Individuals between 40 and 75 years of age with type 2 diabetes.
  4. Individuals between 40 and 75 years of age with a 10-year risk of CVD.

There is little to no emphasis on meeting specific lipid levels. The goal of statin therapy is now to reduce the risk of a heart attack, even among individuals who are arguably not at risk for such an event. Worse, therapy is likely to become lifelong for many patients.

This approach is referred to as "primary prevention." Although it's designed with good intentions, it is sure to result in unintended consequences. Doctors are encouraged to prescribe drugs like Lipitor to men and women who may not need them. As the number of users rises, the number of cases in which Lipitor causes diabetes may rise as well.

Do Lipitor's Benefits Outweigh The Risk Of Diabetes In Women?

Another problem is the increased risk of disease that accompanies statin therapy among older women. A 2012 study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that postmenopausal women taking statins were 50% more likely to become diabetic than non-users.

The new guidelines are expected to result in a dramatic increase in the number of older women using the drugs. Widespread use among that demographic could cause the pending Lipitor litigation to expand considerably.

It's worth noting that the American Heart Association admits to a lack of data regarding the benefits of statin therapy among individuals over the age of 75. Concerns have also been raised that doctors, no longer focused on meeting specific lipid numbers, will begin prescribing the drugs to patients who are unlikely to benefit from them.

This is alarming news since a long line of clinical trials and scientific studies have demonstrated a possible connection between drugs like Lipitor and diabetes.

Confusion Reigns as Lipitor Litigation Grows

Consumers are understandably confused. Some doctors strongly recommend statins, even if their patients show few signs of being at risk for cardiovascular disease. Other doctors advise staying away from such drugs unless there is clear evidence of high LDL levels and significant plaque buildup in the coronary arteries.

Meanwhile, the AHA and ACC have essentially dismissed the traditional protocol for determining whether someone should receive statin therapy. A much larger population than ever is now considered to be eligible for treatment.

Underlying the confusion is a growing fear that individuals taking the drugs are at a significantly increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. There is no known cure for the condition. Once it develops, it continuously exposes the patient to a risk of serious health complications.

If you or someone you love took Pfizer's cholesterol drug and were later diagnosed with diabetes, consider discussing your case with Lipitor lawsuit attorneys. There is no obligation to file a lawsuit. If you decide to do so, there are typically no legal fees unless they obtain a financial recovery for you.

Find more information, about the Lipitor Lawsuit here

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Author: Lisa Sandberg

Lisa Sandberg

Member since: Mar 09, 2015
Published articles: 5

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