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Description

What is Atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin and the brand name Lipitor are medications used to treat high cholesterol and to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack and other heart problems for people with coronary heart disease, genetically high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes. Atorvastatin is a statin medication. Atorvastatin should be used along with a healthy diet to lower “bad cholesterol” such as LDL and triglycerides and increase “good cholesterol” such as HDL in the blood. Lipitor works by slowing down the production of cholesterol within the body which decreases the amount of cholesterol that may build up on your artery walls blocking blood flow.

Always read the patient information and instructions carefully before using this medication.

  • Lipitor is an oral cholesterol medication that can be taken with or without food.
  • This medication is typically taken once daily and your Atorvastatin dosage is based on factors including your age, medical condition, response to treatment and which other medications you may be taking.
  • If you also take bile acid binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol to lower your cholesterol, take Atorvastatin at least an hour before, or 4 hours after these medications as they can react with Atorvastatin preventing its full absorption.
  • Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication as atorvastatin and grapefruit may lead to unwanted side effects.
  • This cholesterol medicine is most effective when taken regularly. Continue to take Lipitor even if you feel well. It can take up to four weeks before you feel the full effect of this medicine.
  • Atorvastatin should be supplemented by a healthy diet and exercise to lower your cholesterol.

Cautions

Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist:

  • If you have any drug allergies.
  • Which other prescription and non-prescription medications you currently take.
  • Your medical history especially of liver disease or kidney disease.
  • Your use of alcohol.

Also be aware of these Atorvastatin warnings:

  • Alcohol may cause liver problems and when combined, Lipitor and alcohol can further increase your risk of liver problems. Limit your alcohol intake while taking this medication.
  • Older adults can be more sensitive to the side effects of atorvastatin.
  • Atorvastatin must not be used during pregnancy as it may harm an unborn baby. Prevent pregnancy while taking this medication through birth control. Tell your doctor immediately if you become pregnant. Breast deeding is not recommended while taking this drug.

Side Effects

Common atorvastatin side effects may include but are not limited to:

  • Joint pain or pain in your arms or legs.
  • Stuffy nose or sore throat.
  • Diarrhea.

Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following Lipitor side effects:

  • Urination which is dark, painful, burning or a little urination.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Weakness, tiredness or shortness of breath.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes.
  • Swelling in the feet or ankles.

FAQs

Q: How long does it take to feel the effects of Atorvastatin?

A:  It can take up to four weeks before you feel the full effect of this medicine. Continue taking this medication even if you feel well.

Q: What is the Lipitor generic alternative called?

A: Generic Lipitor is known as Atorvastatin.  Both Lipitor and Atorvastatin are available in 80mg, 40mg, 20mg and 10mg strengths.

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