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Lipitor Side Effects

Generic Name: atorvastatin

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

In Summary

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

For the Consumer

Applies to atorvastatin: oral tablet

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by atorvastatin (the active ingredient contained in Lipitor). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when 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

Minor Side Effects

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

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:
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • back pain
  • belching or excessive gas
  • constipation
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • heartburn, indigestion, or stomach discomfort
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • shivering
  • sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • vomiting
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


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


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]


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]


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]


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]


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


Common (1% to 10%): Allergic reactions
Rare (less than 0.1%): Anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity reaction[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nightmare
Postmarketing reports: Confusion, depression[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): White blood cells urine positive, erectile dysfunction[Ref]


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]


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


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]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vision blurred
Rare (less than 0.1%): Visual disturbance[Ref]


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]


Common (1% to 10%): Hyperglycemia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anorexia, hypoglycemia, weight increased
Frequency not reported: Diabetes mellitus[Ref]


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

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

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

Not all side effects for Lipitor may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.