atorvastatin, Lipitor

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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GENERIC NAME: atorvastatin

BRAND NAME: Lipitor

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

USES:

  • Atorvastatin is used for the treatment of elevated total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides and to elevate HDL cholesterol. The effectiveness of atorvastatin in lowering cholesterol is dose-related, meaning that higher doses reduce cholesterol more.
  • Atorvastatin prevents:
  • Atorvastatin reduces the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, angina and revascularization procedures in adults with multiple risk factors for coronary artery disease.
  • Atorvastatin also prevents heart attacks and strokes in patients with type 2 diabetes with multiple risk factors for coronary artery disease.

SIDE EFFECTS: Atorvastatin is generally well-tolerated. Minor side effects include:

Atorvastatin may cause liver and muscle damage. Serious liver damage caused by statins is rare. Liver tests should be performed at the beginning of treatment then as needed thereafter.

Inflammation of the muscles caused by statins can lead to serious breakdown of muscle cells called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis causes the release of muscle protein (myoglobin) into the blood, and myoglobin can cause kidney failure and even death. When used alone, statins cause rhabdomyolysis in less than one percent of patients. To prevent the development of serious rhabdomyolysis, patients taking atorvastatin should contact their health-care professional immediately if they develop unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or muscle tenderness.

Statins have been associated with increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels as seen in diabetes.

There are also post-marketing reports of:

Symptoms may start one day to years after starting treatment and resolve within a median of three weeks after stopping the statin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/30/2016

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