Atorvastatin

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Generic Name: Atorvastatin Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is atorvastatin used for?

Atorvastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower “bad” cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise “good” cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as “statins.” It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides and raising “good” cholesterol decrease the risk of heart disease, help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

In addition to eating a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking. Consult your doctor for more details.

How should I take atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin should be taken by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily.

Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of this medication in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

If you also take certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take atorvastatin at least 1 hour before or at least 4 hours after taking these medications. These products can react with atorvastatin, preventing its full absorption.

Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol or triglycerides do not feel sick.

It is very important to continue to follow your doctor’s advice about diet and exercise. It may take up to 4 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.

How do I store atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store atorvastatin in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of atorvastatin that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush atorvastatin down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using atorvastatin?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of atorvastatin or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Tell your doctor if you have liver disease. Your doctor will order laboratory tests to see how well your liver is working even if you do not think you have liver disease. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take atorvastatin if you have or have had liver disease or if the tests show you may be developing liver disease.

Tell your doctor if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily, if you are 65 years of age or older, if you have ever had liver disease, and if you have or have ever had muscle aches or weakness; diabetes, seizures, low blood pressure, or thyroid or kidney disease.

If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking atorvastatin. If you are hospitalized due to serious injury or infection, tell the doctor who treats you that you are taking atorvastatin.

Ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking atorvastatin. Alcohol can increase the risk of serious side effects.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using atorvastatin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking atorvastatin. Atorvastatin is pregnancy risk category X, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from atorvastatin?

Less serious side effects may include:

Stop taking atorvastatin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Confusion, memory problems
  • Fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine
  • Swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug are:

  • Birth control pills
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Conivaptan (Vaprisol)
  • Imatinib (Gleevec)
  • Isoniazid (for treating tuberculosis)
  • Spironolactone (Aldactone, Aldactazide)
  • An antibiotic such as dalfopristin/quinupristin (Synercid), rifampin (Rifater, Rifadin, Rifamate), telithromycin (Ketek), and others
  • An antidepressant such as nefazodone
  • Heart or blood pressure medication such as digoxin (Lanoxin), diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem), nicardipine (Cardene), quinidine (Quin-G), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), and others
  • HIV/AIDS medicine such as atazanavir (Reyataz), delavirdine (Rescriptor), efavirenz (Sustiva, Atripla), indinavir (Crixivan), and others
  • Any other “statin” medication such as amlodipine and atorvastatin (Caduet), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin)

Does food or alcohol interact with atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.]

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)
  • Liver disease
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Electrolyte disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Kidney disease
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Sepsis (severe infection)
  • Patients with elevated liver enzymes
  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using atorvastatin.

What is the dose of atorvastatin for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Initial dose: 10 mg to 80 mg orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipidemia

Initial dose: 10, 20 or 40 mg orally once a day. The 40 mg starting dose is recommended for patients who require a reduction in LDL-cholesterol of more than 45%.

What is the dose of atorvastatin for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia

10 to 17 years:

10 mg per day (max dose is 20 mg per day). Adjustments should be made at intervals of 4 weeks or more.

How is atorvastatin available?

Atorvastatin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet, Oral: 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of atorvastatin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: July 31, 2017 | Last Modified: July 31, 2017