The story of Margaret Clark, a Lipitor diabetes plaintiff, is well-known. The woman was in perfect health save for mildly elevated levels of the so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol, when her doctor prescribed the statin Lipitor. At the time Clark exercised regularly, remained at a healthy weight and maintained a healthy diet. There were no known risk factors for type 2 diabetes in her family background.
And yet, she was hit with a diagnosis of atorvastatin type 2 diabetes.
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) statin study, published in January 2012, hinted that the risk for diabetes is higher than suggested by previous studies, with investigators reporting a 48 percent increased risk of diabetes among women taking statins such as Lipitor.
And now there’s a new concern bubbling under the surface, but no less concerning.
According to a report in the Daily Mail (London, 7/14/15), a professor of psychiatry at Bangor University notes the potential for aggression after undertaking a study of case reports submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Professor David Healy found 310 reports of aggression and violence, and 62 reports of homicidal behavior involving Lipitor. There were 309 reports of irritability, 256 reports of personality change and 68 of paranoia.
In another study, researchers from the University of California looked at 1,000 people and found a link between statins such as Lipitor and aggression - particularly in postmenopausal women over the age of 45. Researchers found that women most likely to become aggressive were normally more placid than average. Among the study participants was a 46-year-old woman who admitted treating her husband rather badly for the duration of time she was on statins - about nine months. Six weeks after stopping, she was back to her normal self.
Healy noted in the Daily Mail report that clinical trials generally do not look properly at whether statins such as Lipitor are fostering behavioral changes.
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“Too often with drugs, we don’t have access to the data that is buried in the companies’ trials,” he said.
For the moment, the greatest concern over Lipitor from a legal perspective remains atorvastatin type 2 diabetes. However, no pharmaceutical drug is without side effects. With new guidelines suggesting that statins should be used as preventative therapy for anyone over 50, as opposed to patients presenting with high levels of LDL cholesterol or patients at risk for cardiovascular issues, statin use is expected to rise exponentially.
Will we see a corresponding rise in Lipitor type 2 diabetes and potential behavioral modification? Time will tell. Lipitor lawsuits continue to be consolidated within multidistrict litigation in the Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuits MDL (In re: Lipitor Type 2 Diabetes MDL 2502).