Definition - What does Lipitor mean?

Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) is prescribed in conjunction with a low-fat diet to lower the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the user’s blood. Lipitor may also help increase the HDL or “good” cholesterol in the blood.

If used properly, cholesterol lowering medications, such as Lipitor, may reduce the risk of certain medical conditions such as stroke or heart attack. Lipitor may also reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in diabetic patients who have an increased risk of kidney issues and high blood pressure.

Atorvastatin, manufactured and sold by Pfizer under the name Lipitor, has made billions of dollars. In fact, reports indicate from 1996 to 2012 while Pfizer had an exclusive patent for the medication, the company made an estimated $125 billion dollars. The Pfizer’s patent for atorvastatin expired in 2011.

The FDA released changes to the safety labels for statin drugs (including Lipitor). After the change, lawsuits were filed against Pfizer alleging that they breached their duty to inform the public about the serious side-effects that may happen when the medication is taken.

Justipedia explains Lipitor

How Does It Work?

Lipitor is a class of drug referred to as a statin. Statins inhibit the production of an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase in the liver. The lowering of this enzyme then stimulates LDL receptors, which increases the clearance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the bloodstream, resulting in an overall decrease of cholesterol levels.

Concerns About Lipitor

In February 2012, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced changes for the safety labels for cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, including Lipitor. According to the FDA, Lipitor and other statins may cause “generally non-serious and reversible cognitive side effects (memory loss, confusion, etc.) and reports of increased blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.”

Following the FDA announcement, Pfizer faced a wave of lawsuits from users who claim that Pfizer failed in their duty to properly warn the public about serious side-effects of their medication. In fact, more than a 1000 lawsuits have been filed against the pharmaceutical giant since 2012; experts warn the total could reach 10,000 or more. Pfizer remains committed to fighting the lawsuits.

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