Atorvastatin (Lipitor®) is a medicine that treats high cholesterol. It works by causing your liver to make less cholesterol. People take atorvastatin to lower their risk of a stroke or heart attack. For the best results, exercise and eat healthy while taking atorvastatin.
ATORVASTATIN (a TORE va sta tin) treats high cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It works by decreasing bad cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood. It belongs to a group of medications called statins. Changes to diet and exercise are often combined with this medication.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Lipitor
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
Take this medication by mouth. Take it as directed on the label at the same time every day. You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, take it with food. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.
Do not take this medication with grapefruit juice.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While it may be prescribed for children as young as 10 for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
This medication may also interact with the following:
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
Your care team may tell you to stop taking this medication if you develop muscle problems. If your muscle problems do not go away after stopping this medication, contact your care team.
Talk to your care team if you wish to become pregnant or think you might be pregnant. This medication can cause serious birth defects.
Talk to your care team before breastfeeding. Changes to your treatment plan may be needed.
This medication may increase blood sugar. Ask your care team if changes in diet or medications are needed if you have diabetes.
If you are going to need surgery or other procedure, tell your care team that you are using this medication.
Taking this medication is only part of a total heart healthy program. Ask your care team if there are other changes you can make to improve your overall health.
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
More common side effects of atorvastatin may include:
Weight gain isn’t a side effect of atorvastatin. But a study found that many people who take statins eat more calories and fat than people who don’t take statins.
When taking atorvastatin, you should avoid:
People with advanced liver disease shouldn’t use statin medications.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can be frustrating to feel like exercising and changing your diet weren’t enough to bring your cholesterol numbers into a healthy range. But many people need help from medicines like atorvastatin to reach their cholesterol goals. Exercising and eating nutritious foods still matter, though, so keep those habits for the best results.
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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.