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Lipitor (Generic)

Lipitor (Atorvastatin) belongs to the group of medicines called 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors. It works by blocking an enzyme that is needed by the body to make cholesterol, thereby reducing the amount of cholesterol in the blood.


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Uses

Atorvastatin is used, along with a cholesterol-lowering diet, to help lower cholesterol and fats (triglycerides) in the blood. Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.

How to take

Take this medication by mouth usually once daily with or without food; or as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. It may take up to 2 weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol or triglycerides do not feel sick.

Side effects

Headache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, gas, or stomach upset/pain may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: joint pain, muscle pain or weakness, fever, unusual tiredness, chest pain, swelling in the arms or legs, dizziness. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, change in the amount of urine, vision problems, black stool, severe stomach pain. An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precaution

This medication is not recommended for use if you have the following medical conditions: liver problems. Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: heart disease, eye problems (e.g., cataracts), thyroid problems, uncontrolled seizures, recent serious infection, recent major surgery, low blood pressure, alcohol use, any allergies (especially to other "statin" drugs). Daily use of alcohol may increase your chance for serious side effects. Limit alcoholic beverages. Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug. This medication must not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is recommended that women of child-bearing age use effective birth control measures while taking this drug since atorvastatin may cause fetal harm. This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast- feeding.

Drug interactions

This drug is not recommended for use with: mibefradil, azole antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole). Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication you may use, especially: cyclosporine, macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin, troleandomycin), fibrates (e.g., gemfibrozil, clofibrate), niacin (nicotinic acid), antacids, digoxin, birth control pills, nefazodone, protease inhibitors (e.g., indinavir, ritonavir), rifamycins (e.g., rifampin). Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store at room temperature between 56 and 86 degrees F (13 to 30 degrees C) away from light and moisture.