The family of a recently deceased woman decided to sue her regular physician after she died from renal failure caused by a Lipitor prescription. Though she was deemed healthy in every other regard, the patient was prescribed over 80 mg a day of the drug as a preventative measure against her inherited heart disease, and was sent into a deadly onset of rhabdomyolysis and kidney complications. A cardiologist was needed to testify on the liability of the patient’s physician, as well as the likelihood that the woman’s dosage would need to be so high in a precautionary scenario.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you routinely prescribe statins?
- 2. Are there circumstances under which otherwise healthy patients would be started on a high dose?
Expert Witness Response E-036007
I prescribe statins and have an active academic practice which includes speaking and publishing. Even though the patient’s health was assessed as normal, according to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association’s criteria a moderate to high intensity statin drug would likely have been recommended for her. A dose of Lipitor 40-80mg would be reasonable, and due to his age he should have been on 40 mg in my opinion.
Expert Witness Response E-023142
In my experience as an actively practicing general cardiologist at a major academic medical center, Atorvastatin or “Lipitor” 80 mg may be indicated in some circumstances, but only very rarely. My work emphasizes preventative cardiology, and I was previously the Principal investigator at our institution on a trial for a new treatment for high cholesterol.