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About Lipitor

What is Lipitor?

Lipitor is the brand name of the drug atorvastatin ( pronounced: a TORE va sta tin )

Atorvastatin blocks the production of cholesterol (a type of fat) in your body.

Atorvastatin is used to reduce the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of fat), and apolipoprotein B (a protein needed to make cholesterol) in your blood.

Atorvastatin is also used to increase the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood. These actions are important in reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

Lipitor may also be used for purposes other than those listed here.

How does Lipitor work?

Lipitor, along with diet, lowers LDL, the "bad" cholesterol levels in the blood, by blocking an enzyme in the liver that your body uses to make cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can stick to the walls of your arteries and slow or clog the flow of blood. When less cholesterol is produced, the liver takes up more of it from the bloodstream. This results in lower levels circulating in your blood.
If you have high cholesterol, lowering your LDL level is important for your good health. Lipitor also increases the level of HDL or "good" cholesterol in your blood. HDL cholesterol helps get rid of the extra LDL cholesterol.

What side effects do users of Lipitor report?

Along with its desired effects, Lipitor may cause some unwanted side effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do then they may need medical attention.

The most COMMON side effects of Lipitor are constipation, gas, headache, hoarseness, lower back or side pain, pain or tenderness around eyes and cheekbones, painful or difficult urination, stomach pain, stomach upset, stuffy or runny nose.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of these less common or rare side effects occur:
  • Blistering, peeling, loosening of skin
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Joint pain
  • Large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • Muscle cramps, pain, stiffness, swelling, or weakness, especially if accompanied by unusual tiredness or fever
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center sore
  • red, irritated eyes
  • redness, tenderness, itching, burning, or peeling of skin
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips
  • tightness in chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • wheezing
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur.

Some of the less common side effects reported by those taking Lipitor:
  • Abdominal pain
  • accidental injury
  • 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
Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What are the symptoms of overdose or something gone wrong?

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if it is accompanied by a fever or flu-like symptoms or yellowing of your eyes or skin.

The symptoms of an overdose of atorvastatin are not known. Seek emergency medical attention.

Storing Lipitor

Store atorvastatin at room temperature away from moisture, heat and children, not in the bathroom.

Conditions you should tell your Doctor about before taking Lipitor:

liver disease
drink alcoholic beverages
chronic muscular disease
have a blood disorder
require major surgery

You may not be able to take atorvastatin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the above conditions.

Do not take atorvastatin if you are pregnant, if you are planning a pregnancy, or if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Tell Your Doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral)
gemfibrozil (Lopid)
niacin (Nicolar, Nicobid, Nicotinex, others)
clarithromycin (Biaxin)
erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Ilotycin, Eryc, PCE, Ilosone, others)
fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or ketoconazole (Nizoral)

The medications listed above interact with atorvastatin and may cause damage your muscles.

Before taking atorvastatin, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines: other cholesterol-lowering drugs such as cholestyramine (Questran) or colestipol (Colestid); or digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps).

You may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with atorvastatin. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Things to avoid while taking Lipitor

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with atorvastatin. The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.

To realize beneficial effects from atorvastatin, avoid fatty, high-cholesterol foods.

Do not stop taking atorvastatin or any statin without first talking to your doctor. It may be weeks or months before beneficial effects are seen from this medication.

Alcohol and atorvastatin can both damage your liver. Talk with your doctor about the amount of alcohol that you drink so that it can be determined if atorvastatin is the best choice for lowering your cholesterol.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

General Notes on Lipitor

Atorvastatin is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that atorvastatin
will cause birth defects if it is taken during pregnancy. Cholesterol is very important for the proper development of a baby. Do not take atorvastatin if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy.

It is not known whether atorvastatin passes into breast milk. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Eat a low-cholesterol diet.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Atorvastatin can be taken with or without food.

Atorvastatin is usually taken once a day. Try to take your dose at the same time each day.

Your doctor may want to monitor your liver function with blood tests before starting treatment with atorvastatin, at twelve weeks after both the start of your treatment and any increase in dose, and periodically (every 6 months) thereafter. With the results of these tests, your doctor can determine how much monitoring you will require.

Lipitor is available in four dogages; 10mg, 20mg, 40mg and 80mg pills.

Common Misspellings for Lipitor

Lipitor is often misspelled, as many people hear the word verbally, write it down and spell it incorrectly. Here are a few of the most common misspellings for Lipitor, lipttor, lipetor, lippator and lipator.

FDA Warning Update

In February 2012, the FDA announced changes to the safety information on the labels of statins such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor saying that they may raise levels of blood sugar and could cause memory loss.

Lipitor Feedback

Read comments by Lipitor users.

Most recent post: June 2, 2016


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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2010-2016 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Lipitor and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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