Saturday, 3 December 2011

End Of The Road For Pfizer's Lipitor

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Main Category: Statins
Also Included In: Cardiovascular / Cardiology;  Cholesterol;  Pharma Industry / Biotech Industry
Article Date: 01 Dec 2011 - 19:00 PST

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The FDA approved today a generic version of Pfizer's Lipitor, one of the world's best selling drugs. Known pharmaceutically as atorvastatin calcium tablets, Lipitor is used to reduce cholesterol. The generic version will be manufactured by Ohm Laboratories in New Brunswick, N.J.

Cholesterol itself is not a major problem and is, in fact, an essential nutrient for the body. However, if blood levels are high, it tends to signal the possibility of fatty deposits building up in the arteries, especially those in the heart, thus over time causing heart failure.

Although easily detected with a simple blood test, there are no symptoms, and thus many people are unaware of the condition, and not all cholesterol is bad. There are three different types :high-density lipoprotein (HDL)low-density lipoprotein (LDL)triglyceridesHDL (good cholesterol) helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. LDL (bad cholesterol) is the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries, which can prevent proper blood flow to your heart and lead to a heart attack. Triglycerides can lead to hardening of the arteries.

Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research clarified the good news :

"This medication is widely used by people who must manage their high cholesterol over time, so it is important to have affordable treatment options ... We are working very hard to get generic drugs to people as soon as the law will allow."


Lipitor (atorvastatin) is part of a group of drugs known as "statins" that are used to lower cholesterol by blocking an enzyme in the liver. Atorvastatin, when combined with a low fat / low cholesterol diet can be highly effective in lowering both LDL and triglycerides in the blood.

Atorvastatin can also help to raise HDL, the good type of cholesterol, that helps prevent deposits building in the arteries. Statistics show that it reduces the risks for heart attack, stroke, chest pains, and need the for heart surgery. Its also effective in high risk patients who already have heart disease or are at high risk from factors such as age, smoking, high blood pressure, low HDL or family history.

Lipitor does have some side effects and patients have reported problems, such as inflammation of the nasal passages, joint pain, diarrhea and urinary tract infections.

Generic drugs are sometimes considered of less quality, but those approved by FDA have the same high quality and strength as brand-name drugs. The generic manufacturing and packaging sites must pass the same quality standards as those of brand-name drugs.

Written By Rupert Shepherd.
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

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Everyday Health Network
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