Atorvastatin (By mouth)

Introduction

Atorvastatin (a-tor-va-STAT-in)

Lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Helps prevent chest pain, stroke, heart attack, or certain heart and blood vessel diseases in people who are at higher risk for these diseases.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Lipitor

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to atorvastatin, or to similar medicines such as cerivastatin, fluvastatin (Lescol®), lovastatin (Mevacor®), pravastatin (Pravachol®), or simvastatin (Zocor®). You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have liver problems.

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about diet and exercise.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using birth control pills, cyclosporine (Neoral®, Sandimmune®), digoxin (Lanoxin®), erythromycin, gemfibrozil (Lopid®), niacin, or an antibiotic such as fluconazole (Diflucan®), itraconazole (Sporanox®), or ketoconazole (Nizoral®). Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicines that weaken your immune system, such as a steroid or cancer treatment.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver problems, kidney problems, a muscle disorder, or if you have recently had a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack).
  • If your doctor tells you to increase the amount of medicine you are taking or if you are just starting this medicine, make sure you tell the doctor right away if you get muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have low blood pressure, severe infection, a history of electrolyte problems, uncontrolled seizures, or if you have had any recent injury or major surgery.
  • Tell your doctor if you usually drink large amounts of alcohol.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine does not take the place of lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about a diet and exercise program that is right for you.
  • Do not stop using this medicine without asking your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash.
  • Chest pain or tightness.
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Increased hunger or thirst.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.
  • New or worsening swelling anywhere in your body.
  • Numbness (loss of feeling), tingling, or new problems with movement.
  • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
  • Trouble urinating, discomfort when urinating, or a change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Unexplained fever.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising, or bowel movements that are bloody, dark, or tarry.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Changes in your desire or ability to have sex.
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Dizziness, mood changes, or trouble sleeping.
  • Headache, runny or stuffy nose.
  • Joint pain.
  • Mild stomach upset, gas, or indigestion.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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