Atorvastatin blocks the production of cholesterol (a type of fat) in your body.
Atorvastatin is used to reduce the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of fat), and apolipoprotein B (a protein needed to make cholesterol) in your blood.
Atorvastatin is also used to increase the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood. These actions are important in reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
What is the most important information I should know about Atorvastatin?
Do not take Atorvastatin without first talking to your doctor if you have liver disease. Alcohol and Atorvastatin can both damage your liver. Discuss with your doctor the amount of alcohol that you drink so that it can be determined if Atorvastatin is the best choice for lowering your cholesterol. Do not take Atorvastatin if you are pregnant, if you are planning a pregnancy, or if you are breast-feeding a baby. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if it is accompanied by a fever or flulike symptoms or yellowing of your skin or eyes.
Who should not take Atorvastatin?
Do not take Atorvastatin without first talking to your doctor if you have liver disease. Before taking Atorvastatin, tell your doctor if you :
- drink alcoholic beverages,
- have a chronic muscular disease,
- require major surgery, or
- have a blood disorder.
You may not be able to take Atorvastatin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above. Atorvastatin is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that Atorvastatin will cause birth defects if it is taken during pregnancy. Cholesterol is very important for the proper development of a baby. Do not take Atorvastatin if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy. It is not known whether Atorvastatin passes into breast milk. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take Atorvastatin?
Take Atorvastatin exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you. Take each dose with a full glass of water. Atorvastatin can be taken with or without food. Atorvastatin is usually taken once a day. Try to take your dose at the same time each day. Follow your doctor's instructions. Your doctor may want to monitor your liver function with blood tests before starting treatment with Atorvastatin, at twelve weeks after both the start of your treatment and any increase in dose, and periodically (every 6 months) thereafter. Depending on the results of these tests, your doctor can determine how much monitoring you will require. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Atorvastatin. The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor. Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. To realize beneficial effects from Atorvastatin, avoid fatty, high-cholesterol foods. Do not stop taking atorvastatin without first talking to your doctor. It may be weeks or months before beneficial effects are seen from this medication. Store Atorvastatin at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose of Atorvastatin?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.
What happens if I overdose on Atorvastatin?
Seek emergency medical attention. The symptoms of an overdose of Atorvastatin are not known.
What should I avoid while taking Atorvastatin?
Alcohol and Atorvastatin can both damage your liver. Discuss with your doctor the amount of alcohol that you drink so that it can be determined if Atorvastatin is the best choice for lowering your cholesterol. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Atorvastatin. The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.
What are the possible side effects of Atorvastatin?
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Atorvastatin and seek emergency medical attention or call your doctor immediately:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- muscle aches, pain, or weakness;
- "flu-like" symptoms;
- decreased urine or rust-colored urine;
- blurred vision; or
- yellowing of your skin or eyes.
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.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
What other drugs will affect Atorvastatin?
Do not take Atorvastatin without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
- cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral);
- gemfibrozil (Lopid);
- niacin (Nicolar, Nicobid, Nicotinex, others);
- clarithromycin (Biaxin);
- erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Ilotycin, Eryc, PCE, Ilosone, others); or
- fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or ketoconazole (Nizoral).
The medications listed above interact with Atorvastatin and may cause damage your muscles. Before taking Atorvastatin, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
- other cholesterol-lowering drugs such as cholestyramine (Questran) or colestipol (Colestid); or
- digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps).
You may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above. Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Atorvastatin. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
Where can I get more information on Atorvastatin?
Your pharmacist has additional information about atorvastatin written for health professionals that you may read.
* Illustrations are for graphic purposes only, and the shipped medication may differ in appearence.