A new lawsuit accuses AstraZeneca LP, and its distributor, McKesson Corp., of hiding ties between its cholesterol-lowering drug, Crestor (rosuvastatin), and increased risks for developing diabetes. The lawsuit was brought by a group of consumers over allegations that AstraZeneca and McKesson deceived consumers by concealing test results that tied Crestor to diabetes and other illness. The lawsuit was just removed to California federal court.
Our firm is pursuing lawsuits on behalf of consumers who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and other injuries following treatment with Crestor.
The consumers bringing the lawsuit also allege that AstraZeneca’s and McKesson’s internal studies revealed that Crestor was also tied to increase risks for kidney damage, cardiomyopathy, and heart disease and, with this knowledge, worked to subdue or slant negative health effects so that Crestor could continue to be prescribed. “Defendants well knew that prescribing physicians would not be in a position to know the true risks of Crestor and … would rely upon the misleading information that they promulgated,” according to the complaint.
The individuals bringing the lawsuits also allege they would not have used Crestor had they been aware of these potential injuries. “Defendants sold or aided and abetted in the sale of Crestor which was and is defective and unreasonably dangerous,” the complaint also indicated. “Defendants knew or should have known that Crestor was, and is, hazardous to human health.”
Statins are taken by about 25 percent of United States adults aged 45 and older and are meant to block a substance the body needs to produce cholesterol. Cholesterol may become trapped in the arteries, leading to heart attack and stroke, according to Reuters Health.
Regulators in Two Countries Call for Label Changes
In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for safety warnings on statins, including Crestor, indicating that the medications were associated with an elevated risk of inducing memory loss and increasing blood sugar levels, which have been tied to diabetes.
The FDA added the new safety warnings to cholesterol-reducing statin medications, including Crestor, specifically due to the drugs’ associations with increased risks of Type 2 diabetes and memory loss. The change was based on results from clinical trials and reports of adverse events from patients, physicians, and drug makers. Also, according to the FDA, statins may elevate users’ risk of developing brain-related effects, including memory loss and confusion. The labels warn physicians and patients that statins, such as Crestor, may lead to increases in blood sugar levels and Type 2 diabetes, adverse reactions seen in prior studies. According to Time, Type 2 diabetes may increase risks for cardiac disease.
In early 2013, Health Canada called on statin makers to update their labels to include a warning about the increased risk of diabetes from statins. The agency urged doctors to carefully monitor patients taking statins who are at risk for diabetes.
Study Reveals Statin-Diabetes Risk
A Canadian study recently revealed that patients taking statins, including Crestor, may be at an elevated risk of developing diabetes. In fact, stroke and heart attack patients may be at risk for a 15 percent increased risk of developing diabetes within two years of beginning treatment with the medications, according to a CTV News report. The study was conducted by researchers from the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) and was published in the British Medical Journal.
The researchers concluded that, when compared to patients taking low-potency statins, patients taking higher potency statins, such as Crestor, experienced a 15 percent relative increased risk of developing diabetes over a two-year period. The study’s lead author suggests physicians consider writing these prescriptions with caution. “Doctors need to consider the possibility that high doses of statins will increase the risk of diabetes in such patients,” said Dr. Colin Dormuth in a statement. “The health consequences of a diabetes diagnosis can be significant,” said co-author Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe. “Following a heart attack or stroke, doctors are more likely to prescribe a high-potency statin, but a lower-strength statin may be a better choice for many patients.”
Crestor Associated with Other Adverse Reactions
In the past, statins, such as Crestor, have been associated with a number of other side effects, including increased risks for cataract development based on a study that appeared in JAMA Ophthalmology.
Another study revealed that people taking statins experienced a 10 percent increased risk of suffering from muscle pain, sprains, or strains. That study appeared in the June 3, 2013 online issue of JAMA of Internal Medicine. Drugs in the statin class, such as Crestor, are known to carry increased risks for myopathy (severe muscle damage) and should be prescribed with caution and at the lowest possible doses. In fact, prior research reveals links between statin treatment and muscle weakness and rhabdomyolys, a rare, muscle-wasting disease, according to Reuters Health.
Other studies have found that statin use was also associated with an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, that statins may actually minimize exercise benefits in obese adults, and that there may be a tie between statins and kidney damage.
A review of previously conducted clinical trials also cast doubt on statin efficacy, specifically Crestor, in the way in which the drug prevents blood clots. An earlier Science Daily report indicated that about 30 prior trials of statin drugs revealed that the drugs are barely effective at preventing blood clots, if at all.