There are several adverse side effects noted in association with the use of Lipitor. Common colds, which are known medically as nasopharyngitis, can result from the medication, as can diarrhea.
Another side effect that has been associated with Lipitor is arthralgia, more generally known as joint pain. Joint pain can be a symptom of illness, infection, injury, or an allergic reaction to a medication. This may contribute to pain in the extremities, which has also been cited in connection with Lipitor.
In a related vein but in a more serious capacity, rhabdomyolysis has been connected to statins, such as Lipitor. Rhabdomyolysis is defined as the breakdown of muscle tissue, resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream; myoglobin is a substance harmful to the kidneys. Symptoms of this condition include muscle weakness and aching, as well as dark-colored urine. Rhabdomyolysis needs to be treated fairly quickly in order to avoid permanent kidney damage.
Kidney failure is a side effect of Lipitor resulting from muscle damage. When kidneys fail, they become unable to effectively filter the blood of waste products and toxins. Kidney failure, also called renal failure, is a chronically progressive disease which, if it goes untreated, can harm the whole body. Cardiovascular disease is one of the risks associated with long-term kidney problems.
Signs of kidney failure include swelling of legs and feet, nausea and loss of appetite, and little to no ability to urinate.
Urinary tract infections are another side effect that has been associated with Lipitor. These infections, often referred to as UTIs, can occur anywhere along the system, which includes the bladder, kidneys, and connecting tubes. They become more serious if left untreated, spreading to the kidney and potentially causing permanent damage.
Liver failure is also one of the serious side effects of Lipitor. Liver failure appears in two forms: chronic, which develops gradually over time, and acute, which occurs more rapidly. When this failure occurs, the liver is unable to perform its many essential functions, which relate to digestion, metabolism, nutrient storage, and immunity.
The most serious side effect of Lipitor, which has been the focus of recent lawsuits, is the development of type 2 diabetes in women who have used the medication. The most common form of diabetes, type 2 describes the inability of fat, liver, and muscle cells to respond to insulin in the correct way. This disallows sugar from entering the cells, resulting in a high-level buildup known as hyperglycemia.
Symptoms include bladder or kidney infections, fatigue, hunger and thirst, increased urination, and blurred vision. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that requires lifelong monitoring and regulating.