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Introduction into Lipitor

Brand Name(s): Lipitor

Generic Name Atorvastatin

What are atorvastatin tablets?

ATORVASTATIN (Lipitor®) blocks the body's ability to make cholesterol. Atorvastatin can help lower blood cholesterol for patients who are at risk of getting heart disease or a stroke. It is only for patients whose cholesterol level is not controlled by diet. It is not a cure. Generic atorvastatin tablets are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I take atorvastatin?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • an alcohol problem
  • any hormone disorder (such as diabetes, under-active thyroid)
  • blood salt imbalance
  • infection
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • low blood pressure
  • muscle disorder or condition
  • recent surgery
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • severe injury
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to atorvastatin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take atorvastatin tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the atorvastatin with a drink of water. Atorvastatin can be taken at anytime of the day with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

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.

What drug(s) may interact with atorvastatin?

  • alchohol-containing beverages
  • amiodarone
  • barbiturates (examples: phenobarbital, butalbital, primidone)
  • antacids
  • birth control pills
  • bosentan
  • carbamazepine
  • certain antibiotics such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, or troleandomycin
  • danazol
  • digoxin
  • diltiazem
  • grapefruit juice
  • herbal medicines such as Went Yeast (Cholestin?) or St. John's Wort
  • medicines for fungal infections (examples: fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
  • medicines for treating HIV infections
  • medicines that suppress your immune response (cyclosporine)
  • medicines to lower cholesterol or triglycerides (examples: colestipol, fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, niacin)
  • medicine used to stop early pregnancy (mifepristone, RU-486 or Mifeprex?)
  • nefazodone
  • nicardipine
  • oxcarbazepine
  • phenytoin
  • pioglitazone
  • rifampin, rifabutin, or rifapentine
  • verapamil

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking atorvastatin?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

Rare or uncommon:

  • dark yellow or brown urine
  • decreased urination, difficulty passing urine
  • fever
  • muscle pain, tenderness, cramps, or weakness
  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • skin rash, itching
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • nausea, vomiting
  • stomach upset or pain
  • tiredness

What should I watch for while taking atorvastatin?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need to have regular tests to make sure your liver is working properly.

Tell your prescriber or health care professional as soon as you can if you get any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you also have a fever and tiredness.

Atorvastatin is only part of a total cholesterol-lowering program. Your physician or dietician can suggest a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet that will reduce your risk of getting heart and blood vessel disease. Avoid alcohol and smoking, and keep a proper exercise schedule.

If you are going to have surgery tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking atorvastatin.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at controlled room temperature between 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77 °F). Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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