What is atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is a cholesterol-lowering medication that blocks the production of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the body.

Atorvastatin reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood. Lowering your cholesterol can help prevent heart disease and hardening of the arteries, conditions that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and vascular disease.

Atorvastatin is used to treat high cholesterol. Atorvastatin is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with coronary heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

Atorvastatin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to atorvastatin, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication. Before taking atorvastatin, tell your doctor if you have:

  • diabetes;
  • underactive thyroid;
  • kidney disease;
  • a history of liver disease; or
  • a muscle disorder.

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can cause birth defects. Do not use atorvastatin if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.

It is not known whether atorvastatin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not take atorvastatin without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Atorvastatin is not for use in children younger than 10 years of age.

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Atorvastatin will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking atorvastatin. Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels, and may also damage your liver while you are taking atorvastatin.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with atorvastatin and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

An overdose of atorvastatin is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using atorvastatin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with fever or flu symptoms; or
  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea or stomach pain, stomach upset, heartburn;
  • constipation, bloating, gas;
  • stuffy nose; or
  • itching, skin rash; or
  • headache.

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.

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Interactions

Many drugs can interact with atorvastatin. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);
  • erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, others) or clarithromycin (Biaxin);
  • gemfibrozil (Lopid), clofibrate (Atromid-S), or fenofibrate (Tricor);
  • niacin (Nicolar, Nicobid, Slo-Niacin, others);
  • an antifungal medication such as itraconazole (Sporanox), fluconazole (Diflucan), or ketoconazole (Nizoral);
  • drugs that weaken your immune system such as cancer medicine or steroids, cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf), sirolimus (Rapamune), tacrolimus (Prograf), and others;
  • HIV or AIDS medication such as indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), lopinavir-ritonavir (Kaletra), or saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with atorvastatin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Lipitor and atorvastatin

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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