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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.

Lipitor is for use in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.

Important information

You should not take Lipitor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease.

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.

Slideshow: The Lowdown on Lipitor: What You Need To Know

In rare cases, atorvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading 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, and 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 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.

To make sure Lipitor is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • muscle pain or weakness;

  • history of liver disease;

  • history of kidney disease;

  • history of stroke (including TIA or "mini-stroke");

  • a thyroid disorder; or

  • if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.

Lipitor can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

This medicine 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.

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. 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.

While using Lipitor, you may need frequent blood tests.

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.

Lipitor dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease:

Initial dose: 10 mg to 80 mg orally once a day.

The initial dosage of Lipitor recommended for this patient in the prevention of cardiovascular disease is 10 mg to 80 mg orally once a day. Lipitor may be administered at any time of the day without regard for meals.

Dose adjustments should be made at intervals of 2 to 4 weeks.

Studies have demonstrated that treatment with atorvastatin is associated with significant reductions in the risk of cardiovascular endpoints and stroke in various patient populations for both primary and secondary prevention.

For primary prevention, atorvastatin treatment was effective in hypertensive patients with normal or mildly elevated cholesterol levels as well as in patients with type II diabetes. Patients had relatively low cholesterol levels at baseline in both trials; however, treatment with atorvastatin still resulted in significant reductions in cardiovascular outcomes and stroke.

For secondary prevention, intensive lipid lowering therapy with atorvastatin 80 mg/day was associated with significant incremental clinical benefit beyond therapy with 10 mg/day in patients with stable coronary heart disease. It was also shown to significantly reduce the risk of clinical outcomes in coronary heart disease patients versus usual medical care.

Usual Adult Dose of Lipitor for Hyperlipidemia:

Initial dose: 10, 20 or 40 mg orally once a day. The 40 mg starting dose is recommended for patients who require a reduction in LDL-cholesterol of more than 45%.

Dose adjustments should be made at intervals of 2 to 4 weeks.

Maintenance dose: 10 to 80 mg orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia:

10 to 17 years:
10 mg per day (max dose is 20 mg per day). Adjustments should be made at intervals of 4 weeks or more.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if your next dose is less than 12 hours away. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Lipitor?

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.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with atorvastatin and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Lipitor side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Lipitor: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

In rare cases, Lipitor can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading 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, and dark colored urine.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • kidney problems - little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;

  • liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • signs of a stroke - sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance.

Common Lipitor side effects may include:

  • muscle or joint pain;

  • diarrhea; or

  • upset stomach.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Lipitor?

Certain other drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems, and it is very important that your doctor knows if you are using any of them. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • antibiotic or antifungal medicine;

  • birth control pills;

  • cholesterol-lowering medication;

  • heart medication; or

  • medicine to treat HIV or AIDS.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with atorvastatin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Lipitor.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Lipitor only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2015 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 18.03. Revision Date: 2015-06-29, 1:16:44 PM.

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