Experts have been raising concerns about the risk of Lipitor memory loss since at least 2003. However, it was not until February 2012 that Pfizer updated the warnings on Lipitor to include the risk of memory loss — and only after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required new warnings. Pfizer is now facing a growing number of lawsuits and class actions involving people who took Lipitor and suffered memory loss, amnesia, confusion, forgetfulness, and other severe cognitive side effects.
Lipitor and Memory Loss
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a type of drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke in people with pre-existing heart disease. Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver that can clog arteries and cause deadly cardiovascular events. However, cholesterol also has beneficial purpose in the body — it insulates neurons in the brain to increase the speed of electrical synapses. More than 25% of the body’s total cholesterol is located in the brain. Therefore, it is not surprising that cholesterol-inhibiting medications like Lipitor are also associated with memory loss and cognitive dysfunction.
The number of reports linking Lipitor and memory loss has been growing for many years. This study published in 2003 in Pharmacotherapy reviewed 60 reports of memory loss associated with Lipitor and other drugs in the statin class. The most common symptom was short-term memory loss. Some patients also reported complete or partial amnesia. Since then, the evidence linking Lipitor and memory loss has continued to grow.
FDA Safety Warning for Lipitor Memory Loss
In February 2012, the FDA published a Drug Safety Communication to warn about the link between Lipitor and memory loss, confusion, and other cognitive side effects. The FDA specifically warned about reports of the following types of mental dysfunction:
- Memory loss
- Feeling “fuzzy”
- Loss of focus
- Amnesia (partial and complete)
According to an FDA Consumer Update:
“In general, the symptoms were not serious and were reversible within a few weeks after the patients stopped using the statin. Some patients affected in this way had been taking the medicine for a day; others had been taking it for years.”
Lipitor Memory Loss Lawsuits
Pfizer is facing many individual Lipitor memory loss lawsuits and class action lawsuits. Plaintiffs allege that Pfizer did not adequately warn them about the potential risk of this side effect.
For many years, there has been evidence that Lipitor could cause memory loss. However, Pfizer did not update the warnings for more than a decade — and only when the FDA required it in February 2012, a few months after the patent on Lipitor expired in November 2011. In the meantime, many people used Lipitor, suffered from memory loss, and continued using Lipitor because they were unaware of the side effect. These lawsuits are seeking compensation and punitive damages for this injury.
Worst Side Effects of Lipitor
- Memory loss
- Muscle pain and damage
- Liver damage and failure
- Kidney damage and failure
- Type-2 diabetes