Skip to Content

Lipitor Side Effects

Generic Name: atorvastatin

Note: This document contains side effect information about atorvastatin. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Lipitor.

In Summary

Common side effects of Lipitor include: hemorrhagic stroke, arthralgia, diarrhea, and nasopharyngitis. Other side effects include: urinary tract infection, insomnia, limb pain, muscle spasm, musculoskeletal pain, myalgia, and nausea. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to atorvastatin: oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, atorvastatin (the active ingredient contained in Lipitor) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking atorvastatin:

Less Common or Rare

  • Cough
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • hives
  • itching
  • muscle cramps, pain, stiffness, swelling, or weakness
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • skin rash
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • wheezing

Incidence Not Known

  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • chills
  • dark-colored urine
  • diarrhea
  • joint pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center sore
  • red, irritated eyes
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips

Some side effects of atorvastatin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More Common

  • Headache
  • hoarseness
  • lower back or side pain
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • painful or difficult urination
  • stuffy or runny nose

Less Common

Incidence Not Known

  • Appetite increased
  • black, tarry stools
  • bloody nose
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • blurred vision
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • difficulty seeing at night
  • excessive muscle tone or tension
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • groin or scrotum pain
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • increased body movements
  • increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
  • increased sensitivity to touch or pain
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of sexual ability, drive, or desire
  • menstrual bleeding occurring earlier or lasting longer than usual
  • mental depression
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • pale skin
  • paranoia
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • slurred speech
  • swollen or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • unable to move or feel face
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • weight loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to atorvastatin: oral tablet

General

The most frequently reported side effects were nasopharyngitis, arthralgia, diarrhea, pain in extremity, and urinary tract infection.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea (up to 14.1%)

Common (1% to 10%): Dyspepsia, nausea, flatulence, constipation

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abdominal discomfort, eructation, abdominal pain, vomiting, pancreatitis[Ref]

Hepatic

Common (1% to 10%): Blood bilirubin increased, ALT increased, transaminases/hepatic enzymes increased, AST increased, liver function test abnormal, blood alkaline phosphatase increased

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hepatitis

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Cholestasis

Very rare (less than 0.1%): Fatal hepatic failure, nonfatal hepatic failure[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Very common (10% or more): Arthralgia (up to 11.7%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pain in extremity, musculoskeletal pain, muscle spasms, myalgia, joint swelling, back pain, creatine phosphokinase increased

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Neck pain, muscle fatigue

Rare (less than 0.1%): Myositis, myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, tendinopathy

Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy

Postmarketing reports: Tendon rupture[Ref]

Hematologic

Rare (less than 0.1%): Thrombocytopenia[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Headache

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Paresthesia, dizziness, hypoesthesia, dysgeusia, amnesia

Rare (less than 0.1%): Peripheral neuropathy

Frequency not reported: Nonfatal hemorrhagic stroke

Postmarketing reports: Cognitive impairment, memory loss, forgetfulness, memory impairment[Ref]

Endocrine

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Gynecomastia[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Common (1% to 10%): Allergic reactions

Rare (less than 0.1%): Anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity reaction[Ref]

Psychiatric

Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nightmare

Postmarketing reports: Confusion, depression[Ref]

Genitourinary

Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): White blood cells urine positive, erectile dysfunction[Ref]

Dermatologic

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Rash, pruritus, urticaria, alopecia

Rare (less than 0.1%): Angioneurotic edema/angioedema, bullous rashes, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis

Frequency not reported: Urticaria[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Common (1% to 10%): Cardiovascular death[Ref]

Respiratory

Very common (10% or more): Nasopharyngitis (up to 12.9%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pharyngolaryngeal pain, epistaxis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Asthma

Rare (less than 0.1%): Sinusitis, pharyngitis

Frequency not reported: Interstitial lung disease[Ref]

Ocular

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vision blurred

Rare (less than 0.1%): Visual disturbance[Ref]

Other

Common (1% to 10%): Non-cardiovascular death

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Deafness, tinnitus, malaise, asthenia, influenza, infection, chest pain, peripheral edema, fatigue, pyrexia

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Injury

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hearing loss[Ref]

Metabolic

Common (1% to 10%): Hyperglycemia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anorexia, hypoglycemia, weight increased

Frequency not reported: Diabetes mellitus[Ref]

References

1. "Product Information. Lipitor (atorvastatin)." Parke-Davis, Morris Plains, NJ.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.

Hide