Generic Name: atorvastatin (a TOR va sta tin)
Brand Names: Lipitor
What is Lipitor?
Lipitor (atorvastatin) belongs to a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or “statins.” Atorvastatin reduces levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
Lipitor is used to treat high cholesterol, and to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors such as genetically high cholesterol.
Lipitor is for use in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.
You should not take Lipitor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, if you have liver disease, or if you have had an allergic reaction to Lipitor in the past.
Stop taking Lipitor and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
Serious drug interactions can occur when certain medicines are used together with Lipitor. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use now, and any medicine you start or stop using.
Atorvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, or dark colored urine.
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Lipitor will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan. Lipitor starts to work in about 2 weeks. Lipitor is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Lipitor if you are allergic to atorvastatin, or if you have:
- liver disease; or
- if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Atorvastatin can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop taking Lipitor and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking this medicine.
Atorvastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking Lipitor.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- liver problems;
- muscle pain or weakness;
- kidney disease;
- a thyroid disorder; or
- if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
Lipitor can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. This happens more often in women, in older adults, or people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Atorvastatin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 10 years old.
How should I take Lipitor?
Take Lipitor exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Lipitor is usually taken once a day, with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.
Do not break an Lipitor tablet before taking it.
You may need to stop using this medicine for a short time if you have:
- uncontrolled seizures;
- an electrolyte imbalance (such as high or low potassium levels in your blood);
- severely low blood pressure;
- a severe infection or illness; or
- surgery or a medical emergency.
It may take up to 2 weeks before your cholesterol levels improve, and you may need frequent blood test. Even if you have no symptoms, tests can help your doctor determine if Lipitor is effective.
Lipitor is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.