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Statins Side Effects - Diabetes, Rhabdomyolysis & Cardiomyopathy

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Statins are a class of drugs that lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Use of statins has been linked to statin side effects including an increased risk of cardiomyopathy and diabetes. The high-potency and best-selling statins, namely Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor, have been found to increase statin diabetes risk by up to 15 percent. Additionally, a link between statins and rhabdomyolysis has been reported.


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Statin Drugs

Statins lower a patient's blood cholesterol by reducing the amount of cholesterol the liver produces. By lowering the amount of cholesterol in the blood, statins are used to treat and prevent atherosclerosis, which can cause chest pain, heart attacks and strokes.

Common side effects of statins include headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, rash, weakness and muscle pain.

Drugs in the Statin Class

Altoprev(lovastatin extended-release)
Crestor (rosuvastatin)
Lescol (fluvastatin)
Lipitor (atorvastatin)
Mevacor (lovastatin)
Pravachol (pravastatin)
Zocor (simvastatin).

Drugs that Combine a Statin with another drug

Simcor (a combination of simvastatin and niacin)
Vytorin (a combination of simvastatin and ezetimibe)

Statins and the FDA

On February 28, 2012, the FDA announced that use of statins was associated with an increased risk of diabetes mellitus. Although the FDA said the risk is small, some critics argue that studies investigated by the FDA included statins that were not as potent as others. For every 167 people taking Crestor, for example, one person developed diabetes. That's compared with one in every 255 patients treated with a statin overall.

In March 2012, the FDA announced a label change to alert patients to the risk of side effects and possible drug interactions linked to statin use. According to the FDA, there have been reports of muscle injury when statins are used with fibrates (cholesterol-lowering drugs), niacin (in large doses), Ranexa (used to treat angina) or Colchicine (used to treat gout).

The FDA also noted that there were reports of serious liver problems in patients who use statins. Although those reports are rare, the condition is serious. Symptoms of liver problems include tiredness or weakness, loss of appetite, upper abdominal pain, and dark-colored urine. Some patients have also experienced an increase in blood sugar levels.

In October 2012, the FDA announced a change to the warning label of drugs in the statin class. That change was made to alert patients to the risk of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM), an autoimmune myopathy, a rare condition that is associated with statin use. Symptoms of IMNM include proximal muscle weakness and increased serum creatine kinase, both of which can continue after statin therapy has been discontinued.

The FDA has not removed statins from the market, saying it believes the benefits of statin drugs continue to outweigh the risks.

Statin Cardiomyopathy Risk

Some statins have reportedly been linked to an increased risk of cardiomyopathy, a serious weakening of the heart muscle or a change in the structure of the heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy is associated with the heart's inability to pump blood adequately and other problems related to the function of the heart.

Statin Diabetes Risk & Statin Diabetes Research

April 2015: A study of healthy adults conducted by Veterans Affairs researchers and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicinefound that Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor may significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes. Researchers reviewed data involving 26,000 beneficiaries of the Tricare military health system. This study was unique in that it involved people who had no history of diabetes, heart disease or severe chronic diseases.

March 2015: The medical journal Diabetologia reported that a study conducted by researchers in Finland found that use of the popular cholesterol drugs like Lipitor and Zocor may increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. More than 9,000 patients ages 45-73 were followed over a period of six years. Researchers found that the risk of Type 2 diabetes was increased by about 46 percent for those taking Lipitor and Zocor. The findings were dose-dependent, meaning that the larger the dose, the more likely a diabetes diagnosis. Further, statin treatment reduced sensitivity to insulin and reduced insulin secretion over time.

September 2014: Research published in The Lancet found that the enzyme statins designed to control cholesterol are also tied to a number of factors affecting blood sugar.

May 2014: A Canadian study published in BMJ (5/29/14) concluded that patients who are prescribed strong statins like Crestor, Zocor and Lipitor are looking at a 15 percent increased risk for diabetes within two years, when compared against patients taking statins that were considered low in potency.

February 2014: A UK study published in the European Society of Cardiology found that 3 percent of those taking statins were later diagnosed with diabetes, compared to only 2.4 percent who were given a placebo.

2006: The JUPITER study (Justification for the Use of Statins in Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin) found that in certain patients, the risk for newly developed diabetes increased 25 percent in patients who used Crestor (a statin drug) over those who were given a placebo. Meanwhile, a meta-analysis of six statin studies showed the risk of new-onset diabetes increased by about 13 percent when patients were given a statin.

Statin Lawsuits

More than 2,300 Lipitor lawsuits have been filed in the District of South Carolina on behalf of individuals who allegedly developed Type 2 diabetes due to their use of the statin, according to court documents. The lawsuits claim that Pfizer knew or should have known about risks associated with their medication for years, but withheld diabetes warnings from the medical community and the public to avoid a negative impact on sales and growth of the world's best-selling ever medication.

Crestor lawsuits have been filed against AstraZeneca on behalf of former users of the statin who were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Many Crestor cases are currently pending in California state court.

Several Lipitor lawsuits filed in April 2013 are seeking to consolidate all similar federal actions in the U.S. District of South Carolina. After speaking with a Lipitor diabetes lawyer in March 2013, a South Carolina woman filed a Personal Injury and Product Liability lawsuit against Pfizer. The lawsuit claims that Pfizer promoted and marketed Lipitor as safe and effective and that Pfizer did not adequately disclose this risk to its consumers. Plaintiff Evalina Smalls claims that prior to taking Lipitor she lived a healthy and proactive lifestyle. She was not overweight and had a healthy diet. But she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after taking Lipitor for about ten years to decrease her risk of heart disease. (Case Number 2:2013cv00796)

See Lipitor Litigation up to October 2013

See Crestor litigation up to October 2013

Lawsuits filed by US women diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes increased from 56 to almost 1,000 in a period of five months, Reuters reported in August 2014. The diabetes lawsuits began shortly after the FDA in 2012 warned that statins, including Lipitor and Crestor, were linked to incidents of memory loss and a "small increased risk" of diabetes. Women face a higher risk than men of developing diabetes from using Lipitor, and gain fewer benefits, according to plaintiffs' lawyers.

Statin Side Effects Legal Help

If you or a family member have taken a Statin and have experienced any side effects, please click the link below to have your Statin Side Effect claim submitted to a Drug and Medical Device attorney for further review.
Last updated on Sep-10-15


Vytorin alleged risk of heart attack and liver damage.

Zetia Merck and Shering-Plough have conducted unpublished tests that raise questions about risks of heart attack for Zetia users.

Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuit Canada Attorneys are now looking into the possibility of filing personal injury lawsuits in Canada.

Simvastatin and Amiodarone alleged risk of Rhabdomyolysis when drugs used together.

Zetia Merck and Shering-Plough have conducted unpublished tests that raise questions about risks of heart attack for Zetia users.

Zocor Warning Issued by FDA

Crestor Side Effects


Concern Over Crestor Side Effects Is Old News
Concern Over Crestor Side Effects Is Old News Washington, DC: AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of Crestor, recently released its third-quarter (Q3) results for 2015 during which the company referenced various patent and personal injury lawsuits for the benefit of investors and analysts concerned, as they are, about all aspects of doing business. And a Crestor lawsuit, for a pharmaceutical firm, is simply part of doing business. However, various Crestor side effects have not only been fueling lawsuits, but have also been raising the ire of health advocates for some time [READ MORE]

Crestor Lawsuits Still Percolating
Crestor Lawsuits Still Percolating Los Angeles, CA Not that Americans could be accused of popping any medication like candy. But there are times when consumers have become so desensitized to medications, that popping a pill such as an aspirin or a statin to rein in bad cholesterol is rarely given a second thought. However, with statins, and specifically Crestor, a second thought might be warranted with regard to Crestor side effects [READ MORE]

Are Statins Linked to Aggression?
Are Statins Linked to Aggression? Boston, MA When people start taking Crestor, they likely watch for some of the reported Crestor side effects that affect them physically. Not many people think to watch for emotional side effects linked to medications. But a recently published study suggests statins may be linked to increased aggression in women [READ MORE]


Posted by
Eric henderson
I'm having joint pain, aching popping wrist, leg pain all over, also hair loss.

Posted by
I have taken Zocor/Simvastatin for 10-15 years. I was diagnosed with extreme Diabetes II this year (blood sugar 330) by a new-to-me primary care physician. My previous physician told me for several years that I was pre-diabetic when my blood-sugar was in the 200s. I didn't know anything about diabetes to know that was a problem. Since my lipids were high, the new doctor also prescribed Crestor instead of the simvastatin and Metformin for the diabetes. During the 2 weeks I took Crestor my blood sugar kept climbing even while taking the Metformin. I did research on the web and found articles about the link between statins and diabetes. I quit taking all statins and my blood sugar began to reduce. I still take the Metformin but it easily keeps my blood sugar within or close to normal range. I also have a high creatin number. I fear I have permanent liver damage due to taking statins for so many years.

Posted by
I have been prescribed Pravastatin Sodium 20mg by Apotex Corp. I have taken this drug daily since 11-11-14 and discontinued it because of bone pains and a visit to bone specialists who never asked what drugs may have been causing tendonitis in my right arm (tennis arm). I have been off this drug for over two weeks and my right arm is still hurting, but less. I believe I have damage to my arm because of this drug, even though my GP said you just feel it but it does no harm. I disagree with this "dismissal" of my experiences with this drug. For a time, while on this drug, I actually thought I had bone cancer since many joints in my legs and arm were causing pain to my joints.

Posted by
I took Lipitor beginning August 2006 and through 2007. I was diagnosed with Diabetes type 2 at the time I began taking it.

Posted by
I have severe joint pain and also was recently diagnosed with gout in my right foot. I am also a Diabetic. I have been taking cholesterol medication for over 2 years. My joint pain is now affecting my ability to walk, as I am now using a walker or cane most of the time. I am in constant pain and I am no longer able to do the activities I normally do, such as driving and walking for exercise. I have trouble sleeping due to the severe joint pain I deal with every day.


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