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About Lipitor

If you use Lipitor or another statin please help others by sharing your experience. What would you tell your best friend about using Lipitor? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Subj: Unexplained weight gain
Date: 6/16/2009
I took lipitor and hurt so doctor changed me to crestor. I have had anal rash and not feeling well. I am now off everything I just don't know what to do. What is the best drug with the least side effects? Thank you. I am 72 yrs old and just a mess. I have unexplained weight gain, which I never had and can't get rid of it. I just seem to be getting worst and worst since starting statins.

AskDocWeb: Patients taking Crestor have also reported unexplained weight gain. There may be a problem with statin in general because they are toxic to muscles. Statins are known to block Q10 production, a nutrient vital to heart muscle function. There are also a number of new studies that indicate statins inappropriately activates genes that damage muscle fibers. It is alarming to look at the increase in heart failures, more than doubled in the past twenty-six years. The rise in the number of heart failures directly parallels the increased use of statins. Compared to the 1980 level we have 450,000 unexplained new cases of heart failure each year.

Subj: Rash and rising blood pressure
Date: 6/25/2009
I have been on lipitor for 12 months. I had many ill effects most of which appear as possible side effects in the internet literature. More of them appear in personal anecodotal testimonals. Anyway 14 days ago I stretched the time between my 20 mg dosage. 8 days ago I went to half a pill. 4 days ago I stopped lipitor. My sleep is somewhat improved, I have a little more energy, and I am less depressed and less irritable. However, my blood pressure is rising 150/ 95. I am experiencing a rash throughout my body. This rash is very itchy. Any scratching intensifies the rash. I have cream that is helping. However, I notice that my arms are larger, my arteries are less pronounced than ever before. I have had many blood samples drawn in the last 3 weeks. Will things improve? Will there be new symptoms to looks forward to? My doctor is very supportive. I think we are both in uncharted territory. Do you have any advice?

AskDocWeb: No, medical advice should come from your local doctor. The purpose of this website is to share information about side effects.

Subj: Pain in left leg
Date: 6/25/2009
I have been taking Lipitor for several years after bypass surgery for coronary artery disease. Had no heart attack. Cholesterol generally not high even before Lipitor. Within the last several weeks, I have experienced a fair amount of muscle achiness confined almost entirely to my left leg (from which a vein had been harvested during the bypass surgery). I am 78 yrs. old and have generally enjoyed good health despite a history of Type 2 diabetes. I have also had much exercise (swimming, walking). The present muscle pain does not really interfere with walking, climbing, etc. But I do occasionally take six-hr. (one way) car trips to a vacation home and make a couple of long distance flights per year. I discussed all this with my dr recently who advised the usual tests. Everything was fine except for an elevated muscle enzyme reading which came in at 463. The cardiologist I was then sent to said the enzyme reading was not terribly high and that, yes, it might be caused by Lipitor. His suggestion: stop Lipitor for ab. two weeks and see how I feel. If much improved, he would then put me on another statin drug less likely to cause muscle pain. If little or no improvment, he would perform an ultrasound test on the leg. He was somewhat concerned ab. the fact that the discomfort was limited entirely to the left leg, especially the left thigh area. My last nuclear stress test on the heart (a year ago)was excellent. Could the problem really be Lipitor or might this be a case of DVT? I appreciate the help.

AskDocWeb: Most of the leg pain associated with Lipitor is reported to occur in both legs although there are a few reports of leg pain in just the right leg. There are also a few reports of pain just in the left leg so it is a possibility. It is also possible that the pain has another cause.

Subj: Hives in my armpit
Date: 6/30/2009
Lipitor Atorvastatin . . . been taking this in lieu of Zoccor for 4 weeks now and have developed 3 large hives in my armpit in space of last two weeks . . . other armpit is also getting a bit tender . . . Is this related to Atorvastatin in particular?

AskDocWeb: Hives are typically not confined to one area of your body. It sounds like your doctor should take a look.

Subj: A lot of pain
Date: 7/5/2009
I have been taking Caduet 2.5/20 for about a year. I have had generalized weakness. Now I suddenly can't lift my right arm without a lot of pain. My left arm/shoulder has felt the same way for most of the past year just not as bad. My doctor increased my lipitor does from 10 to 20 right before the right shoulder pain started. After reading this I am going to stop taking my lipitor and go back to just the Norvasic for my BP.

AskDocWeb: Do not stop taking any prescription drug without first talking to your doctor.

Subj: Pain
Date: 7/14/2009
I have been on lipitor 40mg. for several years and recently my hip has been very sore tender to the touch, now the pain radiates to across by hip area and to other side. It is most painful after I have sat in one position(like riding in a car). I plan to ask about the connection of lipitor? I would like to go off, and try something over counter.

Subj: He put my life and health in danger
Date: 7/18/2009
On 04/28/2009 I wrote a post and would like to give an update. I still have extreme muscle weakness in my legs and have not regained the strength to walk any distance. Bottom of my feet hurt that I cannot wear shoes but have to reley on flip-flop or cushioned socks. My legs swell extremely bad by the end of night, expecially my left leg. We have measured the calf and my calf swells up to 22 inches around by evening. I still have the piercing pain when I walk and now I only leave my house when I have a Drs. appointment. I go to a new Dr. next week to see if we can get my muscles in my legs stronger. Because of not being able to walk I am gaining weight. I am very depressed as I have to been known to walk sometimes 25-30 miles a day on days off. I owned my own restaurant and I worked 15-17 hours a day 7 days a week cooking and now I have had to close my business. Lipitor cost me a lot. I do not recommend any one taking this medicine.

When the pain first started I told my Dr. and he said it would be unusual for lipitor to cause this pain. On 04/27/2009 I got on Phifizer's website about lipitor and they said if you were experiencing these symptoms to stop taking lipitor and immediately contact your Dr. When I went back to my Dr. I printed out the web page from Phifizer prepared to argue with him why I had stopped taking lipitor, but he was aware and agreed I should not take lipitor. Mthat the pharmacy representative told him patients would do better taking COQ10 before they started lipitor and during. He was aware of this and now I have changed Drs as I feel that he put my life and health in danger. For What!

Subj: Loss of power in legs
Date: 7/19/2009
I have been on Lipitor for a couple of years. The last 6 months I have had major loss of power in my legs. I have had MRI scans etc done and some leg arteries cleared yet I only get some small percentage of power back in my legs. Does anyone suffer the same from lipitor?? Regards,

Subj: Itchy all over
Date: 7/24/2009
Hi, My doctor put me on Crestor, after taking it for about 6 weeks I began to get very very itchy all over my body. I stopped the Crestor and began to feel better. A few weeks later my doctor put me on Lipitor and now after about 2 weeks I am feeling very itchy again. Have you heard of this. By the way, I am not the mind over matter type.(smile) Thank you very much for any help that you may be able to give me.

AskDocWeb: It could be a drug allergy, others have had to stop taking Lipitor because of this. So far we have been unable to find any statistics on what percentage of people might be allergic to this drug. Also about 4% of Lipitor users report skin rash as a side effect.

Subj: Red Yeast Rice extract
Date: 7/27/2009
I have been taking Red Yeast Rice extract (1200mg daily) to maintain a moderate cholesterol level (165)for about two years. I recently stopped and have been experiencing side effects: vertigo and a general feeling of being a little bit "out of it". Is this a normal reaction when stopping a statin? If so, how long should it last? Thank you.

AskDocWeb: Discontinuing a statin can lead to a rapid rise in LDL cholesterol and C-reactive protein (CRP). Please get checked out by your doctor. CRP is a marker of harmful inflammation in the arteries that can lead to blood clots. New studies shows that people who stop taking statins have an acute increase in the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Red yeast rice is a substance made by fermenting a type of red yeast called Monascus purpureus over rice. The results of this fermentation process contain substances called monacolins, particularly one called lovastatin, which is believed to be converted in the body into a substance that inhibits HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that triggers cholesterol production.

In the late 1990s, studies showed that red yeast rice was effective at reducing cholesterol levels, mainly because of the lovastatin. When the FDA figured out that red yeast rice contained lovastatin, a drug protected by patent law, it banned red yeast rice products unless the manufacturers took extra steps to remove the lovastatin. After a decade of efforts by the FDA to eliminate such products, any that still contain lovastatin are illegal is the USA.

Please note: Statin drugs (atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol)) should not be taken with red yeast rice (or red yeast rice extract) because it may increase the effect of these medications and raise the risk of side effects such as liver damage. The side effects of red yeast rice are not fully understood but may include:
  • Bloating and gas
  • Damage to peripheral nerves
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Joint pain
  • Liver inflammation
  • Muscle pain
Statins were originally developed from yeast products.

Subj: Pill splitting
Date: 8/11/2009
Is it safe to break lipitor before using? I'm taking Lipitor 10 mg but my pharmacist gave 20 mg Lipitor with tool to cut the tablet.

AskDocWeb: Pill splitting is one of the current controversies going on in the health care industry. It appears that some insurance companies are encouraging patients to cut pills in half in order to save money. This is based on the fact that drug manufacturers typically charge the same amount for different doses of the same drug. For example Lipitor comes in both 10mg and 20mg doses. Patients who need a 10-milligram dose can purchase a 30-day supply of 20-milligram tablets, cut the pills in half and pay just one co-payment for a two-month supply. That means patients who are charged $50 in co-payments can save $300 a year. Uninsured people have long used this practice and it is as controversial as it is low tech.

The biggest critics of pill splitting are the drug firms that would lose money because patients would be buying only half as many pills. Of course spokesmen for the drug companies say that this practice can be dangerous, unsafe and should not be encouraged. They warn that some patients may not cut their tablets accurately, which could lead to under-doses or overdoses of medication and that people with arthritis, cognitive impairments, or poor vision may be especially prone to errors.

Consumer groups generally support pill splitting, as long patients consult with their physicians first. Pill splitting is something you should do only with the approval of your doctor and then ask your pharmacist as a double check. Pill splitters are sold in drugstores and are preferable to using a knife or a razor. You may not be able to take advantage of pill splitting if:
  • The pill crumbles or does not split cleanly. This would mean that you would not get all of your medicine.
  • The medicine is in capsule or liquid form. Splitting only works with pills or tablets.
  • The medicine is time-released. This means that your medicine is manufactured so that it works slowly over a specific number of hours.
  • The tablet or pill is not scored, which means that it doesn't have a groove or indent down the middle (there are some exceptions to this one).
  • The tablet has a coating or film for your comfort or protection (such as Propecia). Some pills have an unpleasant taste or are hard on your stomach.
If your medicine passes the above test, there are still some things you need to consider:

* If you are taking several medications, it may be just too complicated.

* Can I split all my pills at once? Some pills can only be split one at a time because exposure to air makes the drug less effective. Ask your pharmacist.

* Do vision problems make pill splitting too difficult? Some pills are very small and splitting them may make them just too small to handle.

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This website is protected by copyright 2007-2009 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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