Overdose of Statin Threatens Patient Health

    This is a medical malpractice case involving an eighty year-old man whose Lipitor prescription, intended to be preventative, became detrimental to his health. He had normal triglyceride and cholesterol levels, but was placed on 80 mg of Lipitor a day as a precautionary measure. At a second consultation, his doctor decided to prescribe an additional 20 mg a day, increasing the patient’s Lipitor intake to 100 mg a day and quickly sending him into rhabdomyolysis. A primary care physician was asked to opine on the facts of the case and speak to the liability of the man’s doctor.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Do you routinely prescribe statins? If so, have you ever seen this outcome?
    • 2. Have you ever lectured or published on statins?

    Expert Witness Response E-074812

    I review about 30 pharmacy requests every day and see requests for statins frequently. I am familiar with current American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommendations for treatment with statins. Additionally, I have written an update for the Journal of Family Practice on the use of statins. I am not sure why an elderly man would be prescribed statins if his cholesterol level was normal; If he met the criteria for statin treatment based on current recommendations then the dose should be the maximum tolerated. I would have to see a complete medical record to know if the medication was justified or not.

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