Lipitor (generic: atorvastatin calcium) tablets were specifically formulated to treat high cholesterol, and to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors. Of particular concern, however, are reports that suggest the use of this drug may coincide with the onset of severe complications. Accordingly, regulatory officials have been made aware that the use of Lipitor may increase a patient’s risk of experiencing cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion). Those that have taken Lipitor and experienced similar complications may be eligible to receive substantial compensation.
Lipitor Memory Loss Overview
As a product of the world renown Pfizer corporation, Lipitor received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 17, 1996. Upon said approval, Lipitor was indicated for the treatment of high cholesterol, and to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors. It belongs to a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or “statins.” As such, this drug reduces levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while simultaneously increasing levels of “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
While Lipitor has become a prominent contributer to the fight against high cholesterol, its use may coincide with the onset of serious side effects. Of particular concern, however, are reports that suggest Lipitor may result in the development of memory loss and similar cognitive impairments. According to an FDA Safety Communication, there have been rare postmarketing reports of cognitive impairment associated with the use of statins like Lipitor. Accordingly, these cognitive issues have been reported for all statins. Therefore, those that have taken Lipitor and experienced similar complications may be eligible to receive substantial compensation.
While the FDA continues to believe that the cardiovascular benefits of statins outweigh the risk of impending memory loss, information about the potential for generally non-serious and reversible cognitive side effects (memory loss, confusion, etc.) have been added to Lipitor labels.
Cognitive Adverse Events
After reviewing the AERS database, the published medical literature (case reports and observational studies), and randomized clinical trials to evaluate the effect of statins on cognition, the FDA has acknowledged a link between Lipitor and memory loss.
According to another FDA Safety Communication, post-marketing adverse event reports generally described individuals over the age of 50 years who experienced notable, but ill-defined memory loss or impairment that was reversible upon discontinuation of statin therapy. Time to onset of the event was highly variable, ranging from one day to years after statin exposure. The cases did not appear to be associated with fixed or progressive dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The review did not reveal an association between the adverse event and the specific statin, the age of the individual, the statin dose, or concomitant medication use.