FDA approved Atorvastatin in December, 1996. Atorvastatin is taken orally; it lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood. It belongs to a class of medications called statins, this class also includes Lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin, (Zocor), fluvastatin (Lescol), and pravastatin (Pravachol). All statins (including Atorvastatin) block the enzyme that makes cholesterol, HMGCoA reductase, thus preventing the production of cholesterol by the liver. The statins lower total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is considered to be the "bad" cholesterol primarily responsible for the development of coronary artery disease. When LDL cholesterol levels are lowered, it helps to retard progression and may even reverse coronary artery disease. Atorvastatin can also reduce the concentration of triglycerides in the blood unlike the other medications of this class. High blood concentrations of triglycerides are also considered to be responsible for the development of coronary artery disease.
When accumulation of cholesterol and fats along the walls of your arteries (a process called atherosclerosis) takes place, blood flow is decreased and, the oxygen supply to your heart, brain, and other parts of your body is therefore decreased. If you lower your blood level of cholesterol and fats, it may help to prevent heart disease, angina (Chest pain), strokes, and heart attacks.
A tablet of Lipitor is taken by mouth. Usually you should take it once a day with or without food. It is recommended to take Lipitor around the same time every day. Your doctor may prescribe you to start on a low dose of this medication and increase your dose gradually. You should continue taking Lipitor even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Lipitor until you consult your doctor. You should keep to low-cholesterol, low-fat diet.
If you miss to take the dose of this medicine you can take it as soon as you remember. But if it is near the time to take the next dose, you should not take the missed dose, you take only the next dose according to the schedule. You should not take a double dose of this medicine unless your doctor prescribes it.
This medicine should be kept tightly closed in the container it came in. Keep this medication out of reach of children. It should be stored at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). The medication that is outdated or no longer needed should be thrown away. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of your medication properly.
Lipitor Safety information
If you suffer liver disease you should not take Lipitor without consulting your doctor first. Before taking Lipitor, inform your doctor if you suffer a chronic muscular disease, require major surgery, or have a blood disorder. If you have any of the conditions listed above you may not be able to take Lipitor, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.
Lipitor belongs to the FDA pregnancy category X - it is known that Lipitor causes birth defects if pregnant women take it. You should not take Lipitor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether Lipitor passes into breast milk. So, if you are a breast-feeding mother, you should not take this medicine without consulting your doctor first.
Lipitor Side effects
Although side effects are not common when using Lipitor, they can occur. Inform your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or persist: gas, stomach pain or cramps, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, rash or itching, upset stomach.
If you have any of the following symptoms, immediately contact your doctor: muscle pain, tenderness, muscle cramps or weakness with or without a fever.
- You should stop taking Atorvastatin and seek emergency medical attention or immediately contact your doctor, if you experience any of the following serious side effects: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); decreased urine or rust-colored urine; or blurred vision.
- Rare cases of muscle problems and liver problems have been associated with taking Lipitor and other similar medications. You should immediately contact your doctor if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially with a fever or flulike symptoms or yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, dark colored urine or pale colored stools. The symptoms mentioned above may be early symptoms of muscle or liver problems.
- You should continue taking Atorvastatin and consult your doctor if you experience the following less serious side effects that may be more likely to occur: headache; upset stomach or flatulence; or a rash.
- Side effects other than listed above may also occur.