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Atorvastatin

Pronunciation

Generic Name: atorvastatin (a-TOR-va-STAT-in)
Brand Name: Lipitor

Atorvastatin is used for:

Lowering high cholesterol and triglycerides in certain patients. It also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL, "good") cholesterol levels. It is used along with an appropriate diet. It is used in certain patients to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, chest pain caused by angina, or blood vessel blockage. It is also used in certain patients to reduce the risk of hospitalization for congestive heart failure, or the need for medical procedures to open blocked heart blood vessels. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Atorvastatin is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, also known as a "statin." It works by reducing the production of certain fatty substances in the body, including cholesterol.

Do NOT use atorvastatin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in atorvastatin
  • you have liver problems or unexplained abnormal liver function tests
  • you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • you are taking cyclosporine, gemfibrozil, mibefradil, telaprevir, or tipranavir plus ritonavir
  • you take conivaptan or have taken it in within the past 7 days

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using atorvastatin:

Some medical conditions may interact with atorvastatin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are able to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have low blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes, thyroid problems, muscle problems (eg, pain, weakness), or a serious infection
  • if you have metabolism, hormonal, or electrolyte problems
  • if you drink alcohol or have a history of seizures, liver problems, or alcohol abuse
  • if you are scheduled for major surgery, or have recently had major surgery, a serious injury, or a stroke

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with atorvastatin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Amiodarone, azole antifungals (eg, fluconazole, itraconazole), colchicine, conivaptan, cyclosporine, daptomycin, delavirdine, diltiazem, fibrates (eg, fenofibrate, gemfibrozil), fusidic acid, HCV protease inhibitors (eg, boceprevir, telaprevir), HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), imatinib, macrolides (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin), mibefradil, mifepristone, nefazodone, niacin, quinine, streptogramins (eg, dalfopristin), telithromycin, verapamil, or voriconazole because they may increase the risk of muscle or kidney problems
  • Bosentan, carbamazepine, efavirenz, rifamycins (eg, rifampin), or St. John's wort because they may decrease atorvastatin's effectiveness
  • Cimetidine, digoxin, certain hormonal contraceptives (eg, certain birth control pills), ketoconazole, macrolide immunosuppressants (eg, tacrolimus), or spironolactone because the risk of their side effects may be increased by atorvastatin

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if atorvastatin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use atorvastatin:

Use atorvastatin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with atorvastatin. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take atorvastatin by mouth with or without food.
  • Swallow atorvastatin whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
  • Taking atorvastatin at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
  • Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice may increase the amount of atorvastatin in your blood, which may increase your risk for serious side effects. The risk may be greater with large amounts of grapefruit or grapefruit juice. Avoid large amounts of grapefruit or grapefruit juice (eg, more than 1 quart daily). Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about including grapefruit or grapefruit juice in your diet while you are taking atorvastatin.
  • Continue to take atorvastatin even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of atorvastatin, take it as soon as possible if you remember within 12 hours of the missed dose. If it is more than 12 hours since the missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use atorvastatin.

Important safety information:

  • Atorvastatin may cause liver problems. Rarely, severe and sometimes fatal liver problems have been reported in patients taking "statin" medicines, including atorvastatin. Your risk of developing liver problems may be greater if you drink alcohol daily or in large amounts, or if you have a history of liver problems. Check with your doctor before drinking alcohol while you are taking atorvastatin. Tell your doctor right away if you experience symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine; pale stools; severe or persistent nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain; unusual tiredness; yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor. Doing so may cause an increase in the risk of severe side effects.
  • Follow the diet and exercise program given to you by your health care provider.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take atorvastatin before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Women who may become pregnant should use effective birth control while taking atorvastatin. Check with your doctor if you have questions about using birth control.
  • Muscle problems (myopathy) may occur with atorvastatin. Report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness to your doctor right away, especially if you also have a fever or general body discomfort. Tell your doctor if you have muscle problems that persist even after your doctor has told you to stop taking atorvastatin.
  • Diabetes patients - Atorvastatin may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Lab tests, including blood cholesterol levels, creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels, and liver function, may be performed while you use atorvastatin. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use atorvastatin with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially muscle problems.
  • Atorvastatin should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 10 years old and in those who have not reached puberty; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use atorvastatin if you are pregnant. It may cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are taking it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if atorvastatin is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking atorvastatin.

Possible side effects of atorvastatin:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; joint pain; mild sore throat; nausea; runny or stuffy nose; stomach upset.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue); burning, numbness, or tingling; change in the amount of urine produced; confusion; memory problems; mental or mood problems (eg, depression); muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness (with or without fever or fatigue); painful, difficult, or frequent urination; persistent pain, soreness, redness, or swelling of a tendon or joint; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe stomach or back pain (with or without nausea or vomiting); symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine; pale stools; severe or persistent nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain; unusual tiredness; yellowing of the skin or eyes).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of atorvastatin:

Store atorvastatin at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep atorvastatin out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about atorvastatin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Atorvastatin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take atorvastatin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about atorvastatin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to atorvastatin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using atorvastatin.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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