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All about: Lipitor

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Generic Name: Atorvastatin (a-TOR-va-STAT-in)
Brand Name: Lipitor

Lipitor is used for:

Lowering high cholesterol and triglycerides in certain patients. It also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL, "good") cholesterol levels. It is used along with an appropriate diet. It is used in certain patients to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, chest pain caused by angina, or blood vessel blockage. It is also used in certain patients to reduce the risk of hospitalization for congestive heart failure, or the need for medical procedures to open blocked heart blood vessels. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Lipitor is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, also known as a "statin." It works by reducing the production of certain fatty substances in the body, including cholesterol.

Do NOT use Lipitor if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Lipitor
  • you have liver problems or unexplained abnormal liver function tests
  • you are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • you are taking an HIV protease inhibitor (eg, ritonavir), itraconazole, or mibefradil

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Lipitor :

Some medical conditions may interact with Lipitor . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are planning to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have low blood pressure, a serious infection, or a history of seizures
  • if you have metabolism, hormonal, or electrolyte problems
  • if you drink alcohol or have a history of liver problems or alcohol abuse
  • if you have recently had major surgery, a serious injury, or a stroke

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Lipitor . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Amiodarone, azole antifungals (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole), colchicine, diltiazem, fibrates (eg, gemfibrozil, clofibrate), fluconazole, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), imatinib, immunosuppressants (eg, cyclosporine), macrolides (eg, erythromycin), mibefradil, nefazodone, niacin, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (eg, delavirdine), streptogramins (eg, dalfopristin), telithromycin, vasopressin receptor antagonists (eg, conivaptan), verapamil, or voriconazole because they may increase the risk of muscle or kidney problems
  • Bosentan, carbamazepine, rifampin, or St. John's wort because they may decrease Lipitor 's effectiveness
  • Digoxin, hormonal birth control (eg, birth control pills), macrolide immunosuppressants (eg, tacrolimus), or spironolactone because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Lipitor

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Lipitor may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Lipitor :

Use Lipitor as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Lipitor by mouth with or without food.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice at the same time you take Lipitor . Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may increase the risk of side effects from Lipitor . Talk to your doctor before including grapefruit or grapefruit juice in your diet while taking Lipitor .
  • Continue to take Lipitor even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of Lipitor , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Lipitor .

Important safety information:

  • Lipitor may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Lipitor with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Drinking alcohol daily or in large amounts may increase the risk of liver problems with Lipitor . Check with your doctor before drinking alcohol while you are taking Lipitor .
  • Follow the diet and exercise program given to you by your health care provider.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Lipitor before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Women who may become pregnant should use effective birth control while taking Lipitor . Check with your doctor if you have questions about using birth control.
  • Report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness to your doctor right away, especially if you also have a fever or general body discomfort.
  • Lab tests, including blood cholesterol levels and liver function tests, may be performed while you use Lipitor . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • This medicine should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 10 years old and in those who have not reached puberty; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use Lipitor if you are pregnant. It may cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are taking it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if Lipitor is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Lipitor .

Possible side effects of Lipitor :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; gas; headache; stomach pain or upset; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bone, joint, or tendon pain; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; dark urine; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; flu-like symptoms; joint pain; muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness (with or without fever or fatigue); painful or frequent urination; pale stools; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe stomach pain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Lipitor :

Store Lipitor at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Lipitor out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Lipitor , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Lipitor is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Lipitor . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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