What is Lipitor?
Lipitor, generic name atorvastatin, is a drug administered orally and prescribed for lowering blood cholesterol levels in the body.
It hails from a class of drugs called statins, which also include Mevacor(lovastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), and Pravachol (pravastatin).Like all other statins, Lipitor prevents the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Just like any other drug, there are a few important things that need to be taken into account before one starts taking this drug. Some major important information about Lipitor is as follows
People who are allergic to atorvastatin should never take Lipitor or any of its generic forms.
In some cases, Lipitor can cause a condition resulting in a gradual and dangerous breakdown of the body’s skeletal muscles. Hence, any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, etc. must be reported to the doctor immediately.
In order to gain the most out of your Lipitor use, avoid eating foods which are high in fat or cholesterol.
Alcohol raises triglyceride levels and hence, must be avoided when taking Lipitor.
Taking Lipitor is just one aspect of a complete program for reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. The program also includes balanced diet, exercise and weight management.
What Should I Know Before Taking Lipitor?
Before you start taking any medicine, you need to know all about it, including the dos and don’ts associated with it as well as its common side effects. Lipitor is no different. Here are the common things you need to know before you start taking Lipitor.
Tell your doctor in advance if you have a thyroid disorder of some kind.
People with any history of liver disease or renal failure need to consult their doctor before taking Lipitor.
Tell your doctor about any and every medication that you take. The interaction of any of these medicines with Lipitor might be potentially harmful and it is advisable that you deal with any eventuality well in advance.
Keep a list of all the medications you take and show them to your doctor and any healthcare provider who treats you.
Consult your doctor if you take more than two alcoholic beverages each day. Lipitor affects the liver and hence, people who drink are at an increased risk of being affected.
The active ingredient in Lipitor is atorvastatin, which works as a HMG CoA reductase inhibitor, stopping the production of cholesterol in the liver by blocking the enzyme responsible for producing it.
How It Works
Lipitor belongs to a class of drugs known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors. These drugs reduce the levels of “bad” cholesterol i.e. low-density lipoprotein(LDL) as well as triglycerides, while increasing the blood levels of good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the body. Lipitor blocks the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is responsible for the production of cholesterol. This inhibits the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Lipitor is available in tablets of 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg. The prescription depends on the severity of the condition and the patient’s response to the treatment. Lipitor is to be taken once daily, usually starting with 10-20 mg per day. It can be taken any time of the day, with our without any food intake.
There are a number of drugs that Lipitor can potentially react with and cause unwanted and undesirable consequences. In some cases, these consequences can even be life threatening if not dealt with carefully. Some medicines you need to tell your doctor about if you are taking them with Lipitor are as follows
diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem)
antibiotics like Biaxin or Erythrocin
antifungal medicines such as Diflucan, Sporanox, Nizoral, or Vfend
HIV medications like Norvir, Kaletra, or Invirase
medicines containing niacin such as Advicor, Niacor, Simcor,
drugs that weaken your immune system, like steroids, cancer medicine, etc.
Possible side effects of atorvastatin
Rare cases of muscle problems and liver problems have been associated with the use of atorvastatin and other similar medicines. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by a fever or flu like symptoms or yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, dark colored urine or pale colored stools. These may be early symptoms of muscle or liver problems.
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking atorvastatin and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- decreased urine or rust-colored urine; or
- blurred vision.
- Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take atorvastatin and talk to your doctor if you experience
- upset stomach or flatulence; or
- a rash.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who should not take Lipitor tablets?
A: Do not take Lipitor tablets if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. You should not take Lipitor even if you are breast feeding, have some liver problems or are simply allergic to Lipitor or its ingredients.
Q: When is the best time to take Lipitor?
A: Lipitor tablets should be taken once a day. They can be taken both with and without food, any time of the day. However, it is better to take them at about the same time every day.
Q: Can Lipitor be prescribed to children?
A:No, Lipitor is not approved by the FDA for use in children younger than 10 years of age.