LipitorGeneric Name: Atorvastatin
Brand Names: Lipitor
What is Lipitor?
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." Atorvastatin reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
Lipitor is used to treat high cholesterol. Lipitor is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors.
Lipitor is used in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.
Lipitor may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Important information about Lipitor
You should not take Lipitor if you are allergic to atorvastatin, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease. Stop taking Lipitor and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
Before taking Lipitor, tell your doctor if you have ever had liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder, or if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
In rare cases, Lipitor can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Lipitor will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.
There are many other drugs that can increase your risk of serious medical problems if you take them together with Lipitor. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.
Lipitor is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.
What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking Lipitor?
You should not take Lipitor if you are allergic to atorvastatin, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need to adjust your Lipitor dose or have special tests:
- history of liver disease;
- history of kidney disease;
- a thyroid disorder; or
- if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
In rare cases, Lipitor can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use. Certain other drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems, and it is very important that your doctor knows if you are using any of them:
- diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem);
- gemfibrozil (Lopid), fenofibric acid (Fibricor, Trilipix), or fenofibrate (Antara, Fenoglide, Lipofen, Lofibra, Tricor, Triglide);
- antibiotics such as clarithromycin (Biaxin) or erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin);
- antifungal medications such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or ketoconazole (Extina, Ketozole, Nizoral, Xolegal);
- HIV medications such as atazanavir (Reyataz), ritonavir (Norvir), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), saquinavir (Invirase), and others;
- medicines that contain niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others); or
- drugs that weaken your immune system, such as steroids, cancer medicine, or medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection, such as cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).
FDA pregnancy category X. Lipitor can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take Lipitor if you are pregnant. Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking Lipitor. Atorvastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking Lipitor.