GENERIC NAME: ATORVASTATIN - ORAL (a-TOR-va-STAT-in)
BRAND NAME(S): Lipitor
USES: Atorvastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins." It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.In addition to eating a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking. Consult your doctor for more details.
HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking atorvastatin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily.Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of this medication in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.If you also take certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take atorvastatin at least 1 hour before or at least 4 hours after taking these medications. These products can react with atorvastatin, preventing its full absorption.Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol or triglycerides do not feel sick.It is very important to continue to follow your doctor's advice about diet and exercise. It may take up to 4 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
SIDE EFFECTS: Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.A very small number of people taking atorvastatin may have mild memory problems or confusion. If these rare effects occur, talk to your doctor.This drug may infrequently cause muscle problems (which can rarely lead to very serious conditions called rhabdomyolysis and autoimmune myopathy). Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms during treatment and if these symptoms persist after your doctor stops this drug: muscle pain/tenderness/weakness (especially with fever or unusual tiredness), change in the amount of urine.This medication may rarely cause liver problems. If you notice any of the following rare but serious side effects, tell your doctor immediately: yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, severe stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea/vomiting.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking atorvastatin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease, alcohol use.Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).Limit alcoholic beverages. Daily use of alcohol may increase your risk for liver problems, especially when combined with atorvastatin. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially muscle problems.This medication must not be used during pregnancy. Atorvastatin may harm an unborn baby. Therefore, it is important to prevent pregnancy while taking this medication. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) while taking this medication. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: See also How to Use section.Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.Some products that may interact with this drug include: cyclosporine, gemfibrozil, telaprevir, tipranavir plus ritonavir.Other medications can affect the removal of atorvastatin from your body, which may affect how atorvastatin works. Examples include colchicine, telithromycin, certain azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole), among others.Do not take any red yeast rice products while you are taking atorvastatin because some red yeast rice products may also contain a statin called lovastatin. Taking atorvastatin and red yeast rice products together can increase your risk of serious muscle and liver problems.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others.Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood cholesterol/triglyceride levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised February 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
Latest MedicineNet News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top atorvastatin Related Articles
Angina SymptomsAngina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning, squeezing, and aching. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of angina but there are other causes. Angina is diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history and performing tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood test, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart catheterization. Treatment of angina usually includes lifestyle modification, medication, and sometimes, surgery. The risk of angina can be reduced by following a heart healthy lifestyle.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test and LevelsAre elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels dangerous? C-reactive protein (CRP) is a blood test that doctors can use to detect risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease. CRP is a highly reactive protein that is found when there is general inflammation within the body. CRP levels seem to be able to predict cardiovascular risk at least, and cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol Drugs SlidesWhen diet and exercise aren't enough, should you turn to drugs? Learn cholesterol basics, drug classes, and available drugs along with their benefits and side effects.
Cholesterol (Lowering Your Cholesterol)High cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Getting your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in an optimal range will help protect your heart and blood vessels. Cholesterol management may include lifestyle interventions (diet and exercise) as well as medications to get your total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in an optimal range.
Cholesterol TestA cholesterol blood test measures the amount of cholesterol in the body. There are two types of cholesterol; the "good" cholesterol or HDL, and the "bad" cholesterol or LDL. High cholesterol levels in the blood can lead to heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Learn more about cholesterol tests and how to interpret them.
Nutrition QuizEven if you think you're getting enough fruits and vegetables per day, how can you be sure? Take the Diet & Nutrition Quiz to learn more about eating right.
Stress-Reducing FoodsWhile there are many ways to cope with stress, one strategy is to eat stress-fighting foods. Find out which foods to eat as part of a stress management diet.
Fatty Liver (NASH)Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NASH occurs due to the accumulation of abnormal amounts of fat within the liver. Fatty liver most likely caused by obesity and diabetes. Symptoms of fatty liver disease are primarily the complications of cirrhosis of the liver; and may include mental changes, liver cancer, the accumulation of fluid in the body (ascites, edema), and gastrointestinal bleeding. Treatment for fatty liver includes avoiding certain foods and alcohol. Exercise, weight loss, bariatric surgery, and liver transplantation are treatments for fatty liver disease.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart Attack PreventionHeart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
CAD SlideshowWhat is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease, arrhythmias and myopathy. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
Illustrations of the HeartThe muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more about the health topic.
Liver Blood TestsAn initial step in detecting liver damage is a simple blood test to determine the presence of certain liver enzymes in the blood. Under normal circumstances, these enzymes reside within the cells of the liver. But when the liver is injured, these enzymes are spilled into the blood stream, and can lead to diseases like fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hepatitis. Several medications also can increase liver enzyme test results.
Lower Cholesterol TipsNeed to lower your cholesterol levels? Use these smart diet tips to quickly and easily lower your blood cholesterol levels. Choose heart-healthy foods to lower cholesterol and improve your heart health.
StrokeA stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Sugar QuizSugar lurks in surprising places. Take the Sugar Quiz to learn of the many ways sugar sneaks into your diet and see what you know about sugar and artificial sweeteners!
Triglycerides (Tests and Lowering Your Triglyceride Levels)Triglycerides are a common form of fat that we digest. Triglycerides are the main ingredient in animal fats and vegetable oils. Elevated levels of triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, fatty liver disease, and pancreatitis. Elevated levels of triglycerides are also associated with diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, and medications (for example, diuretics, birth control pills, and beta blockers). Dietary changes, and medication if necessary can help lower triglyceride blood levels.