Atorvastatin belongs to a group of lipid-regulating medicines known as statins. In combination with a healthy lifestyle and diet, it is used to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and raise ‘good’ cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol is a substance produced by the liver that is vital to the functioning of all cells in the body. While having high level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or ‘good’ cholesterol, is good for you, a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol can build up in your arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke. The best way to reduce the amount of LDL in the blood is by eating a healthy diet that is low in fat and cholesterol, exercising regularly and losing weight. Atorvastatin may be prescribed in addition to these lifestyle changes, and works by reducing the amount of LDL produced by the liver.
The active ingredient in Atorvastatin in atorvastatin calcium trihydrate, which lowers levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
The inactive ingredients in Atorvastatin are mannitol, copovidone, sodium carbonate anhydrous, croscarmellose sodium, silicified microcrystalline cellulose (silica, colloidal anhydrous, microcrystalline cellulose), lactose monohydrate, sodium lauryl sulfate, silica colloidal anhydrous, magnesium stearate, poly vinyl alcohol - part hydrolyzed, titanium dioxide (E171), talc (E553b), lecithin (soya) (E322) and xanthan gum (E415).
Please Note: Inactive ingredients may vary for different brands of generic medication.
Always take Atorvastatin as instructed by a doctor. Your doctor will place you on a low-cholesterol diet and prescribe the lowest dose possible for you, usually 10 mg taken once daily. The dose may then be increased following regular check ups if necessary.
Swallow one tablet a day with water at the same time each day. To help you remember, try and make this a part of your daily routine. If you forget to take a dose, don’t worry, just take the next dose at the scheduled time. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Atorvastatin is supplied at 6 different dosages: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg or 80 mg, taken once daily as instructed by a doctor. Dr Felix supplies Atorvastatin as 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg film-coated tablets.
Atorvastatin can be taken at any time of the day, but you should try and take it at the same time each day.
Atorvastatin should not be crushed or split, but should be swallowed whole with water. It can be taken with or without food. If you struggle to swallow tablets whole, you should discuss this with your doctor - they may be able to find you an alternative.
The duration of treatment is dependent on the patient and will be determined by your doctor. Your dosage and progress will be assessed at intervals of 4 weeks or more, and your doctor will help you decide when to raise or lower your dose, and when to come off Atorvastatin completely. Never stop taking this medication without first consulting a doctor.
Before prescribing Atorvastatin, your doctor will prescribe a low-fat diet which you should maintain for the duration of your treatment. In some cases, reducing your cholesterol through lifestyle may mean you can avoid taking Atorvastatin altogether. Alongside exercising regularly, try cutting saturated fats out of your diet while increasing your intake of fibre, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Should also try and cut down on alcohol, and quit smoking if you haven’t already done so.
Whilst using this medication, try and avoid drinking too much grapefruit juice, as it can increase the concentration of Atorvastatin in your system and interfere with the way it works.
Like all medications, Atorvastatin may cause side effects in some patients. If you experience any of the following rare, serious side effects, stop taking this medication immediately and go to your nearest accident and emergency department:
Common side effects may affect up to 1 in 10 people and include:
Uncommon side effects (affecting up to 1 in 100 people) include:
Rare side effects can affect up to 1 in 1,000 people and include:
Very rare side effects only affect up to 1 in 10,000 people and include:
Do NOT take Atorvastatin if:
Before taking Atorvastatin, inform your doctor if any of the following apply to you:
Before taking Atorvastatin, inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription. In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking:
Like all medications, Atorvastatin can cause side effects in some patients, the most common being muscle pain or cramps. For this reason, your doctor will prescribe a low dose to begin with and gradually increase it if necessary. If you are experiencing side effects, try and keep track of them ad report them to your doctor.
For the relief of muscle cramps, doctors recommended daily stretching exercises, compression stockings, avoiding high-heeled shoes and keeping your arm and leg muscles warm. You may also try taking magnesium supplements. If side effects do not improve over time, speak to your doctor for advice.
There is no evidence to suggest that Atorvastatin affects fertility in men or women. However, if you are trying to get pregnant, speak to your doctor for advice before taking this medication.
While using this medication, you should drink no more than 2 small glasses of grapefruit juice per day. Grapefruit juice can increase the concentration of this medication and alter the way it works.
Atorvastatin will not prevent your contraception from working. However, it may increase the release of hormones from some contraceptive pills, increasing the likelihood of experiencing side effects. Speak to our doctor or pharmacist for advice if you are worried about side effects.
You should limit the amount of alcohol you drink whilst using this medication.
Lipitor is a branded name for Atorvastatin made by Pfizer. Atorvastatin is the generic version. The active ingredients are the same in both Lipitor and generic versions of Atorvastatin, so the effects should be the same. However, some people do report increased effects from branded medications, but this is usually attributed to the placebo effect and not to any other mechanisms.
There are 5 types of statin prescribed in the UK: Atorvastatin (Lipitor), Fluvastatin (Lescol), Pravastatin (Lipostat), Rosuvastatin (Crestor) and Simvastatin (Zocor). The main difference between statins is the amount they lower your cholesterol. Low-intensity statins (Fluvastatin, Pravastatin, Simvastatin) are sufficient for lowering the cholesterol of most patients, but if a doctor feels that a higher dose is appropriate, they may prescribe a high-intensity statin (Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin) instead.
Different types of statin can have different side effects in different people. If you stuff with side effects while taking one variant, your doctor may try prescribing you another for better results.
Atorvastatin is a prescription medication and must only be taken following consultation with a doctor. Your doctor will place you on a low-cholesterol diet and prescribe you a low dose of Atorvastatin (usually 10 mg once daily), which may be increased if necessary.
The best way to reduce the amount of LDL in your blood is by making changes to your lifestyle. Exercising regularly is extremely beneficial for lowering cholesterol and improving your general wellbeing. You should also try and cut down on foods which are high in saturated fats, including fatty cuts of meat and processed meats, butter and lard, cream and ice cream, cheese (particularly hard cheese), cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and products containing coconut or palm oil.
If you are overweight, the best way to reduce your cholesterol is to lose weight healthily, and your doctor will be able to provide you with a weight-loss plan. You should also try to cut down on alcohol and, if you haven’t already done so, quit smoking.
Although high levels of ‘good cholesterol’ are beneficial, high levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ are dangerous and can lead to serious health problems such as a stroke or heart attack. It is therefore necessary to reduce this cholesterol, which can sometimes be achieved through changes to diet and exercise alone. When this does not effectively reduce levels of ‘bad cholesterol’, it is essential to begin medication such as Atorvastatin to lower cholesterol in the blood.
Atorvastatin is made by several different companies. The branded variant, Lipitor, is made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, while the generic brand is made by companies including TEVA, Mylan, Almus and Accord. While the generic and branded variations of this medication are identical, patients may find they experience different side effects with different brands. Dr Felix will always try and source your preferred brand if you have one, just drop us an email to let us know.
The effectiveness of Atorvastatin is entirely dependent on the lifestyle of the patient, and it is imperative to maintain a low-fat diet whilst taking this medication. You will not be able to feel the effects of Atorvastatin, but your doctor may choose to conduct blood tests to monitor your cholesterol levels during treatment.
The effectiveness of Atorvastatin is dependent on the patient’s cholesterol levels and lifestyle, and doctor will be able to determine the right dosage for you. When accompanied by the appropriate lifestyle changes, Atorvastatin is an effective means of lowering cholesterol in the long term.
The duration of your treatment depends on your cholesterol levels, lifestyle, and whether your doctor deems you to be at risk of heart disease. The best way to reduce the risk of heart disease is to improve your lifestyle by eating healthily, exercising regularly and losing weight.
Atorvastatin is a treatment for high cholesterol, used to lower the risk of heart disease such as heart attack or stroke. It is not a cure for high cholesterol and is only effective if accompanied by the appropriate lifestyle changes - losing weight, eating a low-fat diet and exercising regularly.
There is no evidence that Atorvastatin is addictive.
Statins are powerful drugs, and your course of treatment will be monitored by a doctor. However, they are some of the most investigated medicines currently in use and are deemed to be effective and safe. Doctors only prescribe medications after weighing-up the benefits vs the risks. If you are prescribed statins, it will be because the potential risk of taking the treatment would be less than the risk of not taking them.
Atorvastatin is prescribed as a long-term treatment and works best if taken over many years. Never stop taking this medication without first consulting your doctor.
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