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Frequently Asked Questions
You should not take atorvastatin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact, and some drugs should not be used together.
Atorvastatin can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead 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, or dark urine.
Atorvastatin is used together with diet to lower blood levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL), to increase levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL), and to lower triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood).
Atorvastatin is used to treat high cholesterol, and 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.
Atorvastatin is used in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.
Atorvastatin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use atorvastatin if you are allergic to it, or if you have liver disease.
Do not use if you are pregnant. This medicine can harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. Stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor at once if you become pregnant.
Do not breastfeed while you are taking atorvastatin.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- liver problems;
- muscle pain or weakness;
- kidney disease;
- a thyroid disorder; or
- if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
Atorvastatin can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. This happens more often in women, in older adults, or people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Atorvastatin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 10 years old.
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Take the medicine at the same time each day, with or without food.
Do not break an atorvastatin tablet before taking it, unless your doctor has told you to.
You may need to stop using atorvastatin for a short time if you have:
- uncontrolled seizures;
- an electrolyte imbalance (such as high or low potassium levels in your blood);
- severely low blood pressure;
- a severe infection or illness; or
- surgery or a medical emergency.
It may take up to 2 weeks before your cholesterol levels improve, and you may need frequent blood tests. Even if you have no symptoms, tests can help your doctor determine if this medicine is effective.
Atorvastatin is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if you are more than 12 hours late for the dose. Do not use two doses at one time.
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Avoid eating foods high in fat or cholesterol, or atorvastatin will not be as effective.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.
Grapefruit may interact with atorvastatin and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid drinking more than 1 liter of grapefruit juice while taking atorvastatin.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, atorvastatin 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.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
- muscle weakness in your hips, shoulders, neck, and back;
- trouble lifting your arms, trouble climbing or standing;
- liver problems--upper stomach pain, weakness, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- kidney problems--little or no urinating, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath.
Common side effects may include:
- joint pain;
- stuffy nose, sore throat;
- diarrhea; or
- pain in your arms or legs.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
- other cholesterol-lowering medication;
- antibiotic or antifungal medicine;
- birth control pills;
- medicine to prevent organ transplant rejection;
- heart medication; or
- medicine to treat hepatitis C or HIV.
This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect atorvastatin. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Your pharmacist can provide more information about atorvastatin.
|Brand Name Examples||Supplied As||Strength|
|Lipitor||tablet||10 mg20 mg40 mg80 mg|
|Generic Examples||Supplied As||Strength|
|Atorvastatin Calcium||tablet||10 mg20 mg40 mg80 mg|