Drug Class: Antilipidemic
Available in: Tablets
Available OTC? No
As Generic? No
chest pain, unusual or unexplained muscle aches and tenderness.
you experience one or more of these side effects, call your
or diarrhea, dizziness or lightheadedness, bloating or gas,
heartburn, nausea, allergic reaction, stomach pain, rise in
liver enzymes. These side
effects occur in 1% to 2% of patients.
Less Common: Sleeping
difficulty, skin rash.
To treat high blood cholesterol levels. Usually
prescribed after lifestyle measures, including dietary changes,
weight loss, and exercise, fail to reduce the amounts of total
and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood to
How the Drug Works
Atorvastatin blocks the action of an enzyme required
for the manufacture of cholesterol, thereby interfering with
its formation. By lowering the amount of cholesterol in liver
cells, atorvastatin increases the formation of receptors for
LDL, reducing blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol. In addition
to lowering LDL cholesterol, atorvastatin also modestly reduces
triglyceride levels and raises HDL (the so-called "good")
Initial dose is 10 mg a day, taken once daily.
It may be increased by your doctor as needed to a maximum dose
of 80 mg per day. Unlike other "statin" cholesterol-lowering
drugs, atorvastatin does not have to be taken in the evening
to be maximally effective.
Onset of Effect
2 to 4 weeks.
Duration of Action
The effect persists for the duration of therapy.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs are only one part of
a total program that should include regular exercise and a healthy
diet. The American Heart Association publishes a "Healthy
Heart" diet, which is recommended.
Store in a tightly sealed container in a dry place
away from heat and direct light.
If You Miss a Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. Take your next
scheduled dose at the proper time and resume your regular dosage
schedule. Do not double your next dose.
Stopping the Drug
The decision to stop taking the drug should be
made in consultation with your doctor. Once the medication is
discontinued, blood cholesterol will likely return to its original
Side effects are more likely with prolonged use.
As you continue with atorvastatin, your doctor will periodically
order blood tests to evaluate liver function.
Over 60: No special
problems are expected in older patients.
Driving and Hazardous Work: The
use of atorvastatin should not impair your ability to perform
such tasks safely.
Alcohol: No special
precautions are necessary.
not be used during pregnancy or by women who plan to become pregnant
in the near future.
Breast Feeding: This
drug is not recommended for women who are nursing.
Infants and Children: Safety
and effectiveness are not known; this drug is rarely used in
children. Consult your pediatrician.
Special Concerns: Important
elements of treatment for high cholesterol include proper diet,
weight loss, regular moderate exercise, and avoidance of certain
medications that may increase cholesterol levels. Because atorvastatin
has potential side effects, it is important that you maintain
a healthy diet and follow other treatments your doctor may suggest.
Symptoms: An overdose
of atorvastatin is unlikely.
What to Do: Emergency
instructions not applicable.
Consult your doctor if you are taking cyclosporine,
gemfibrozil, niacin, antibiotics, (especially erythromycin),
or medications for fungal infections. All of these drugs may
increase the risk of myositis (muscle inflammation) when taken
with atorvastatin and may lead to kidney failure.
No known food interactions.
Consult your doctor if you have any of the following
problems: liver, kidney, or muscle disease, or have undergone
an organ transplant or recent surgery.
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