Atorvastatin, marketed under the trade name Lipitor among others, is a member of the drug class known as statins, which are used primarily as a lipid-lowering agent and for prevention of events associated with cardiovascular disease.
The reference site for Atorvastatin
WHAT IS ATORVASTATIN?
Atorvastatin is a drug used for lowering cholesterol and thereby preventing cardiovascular disease. This medication works by reducing the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of fat), and apolipoprotein B (a protein needed to make cholesterol) in your blood.
Atorvastatin is also used to increase the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood. These actions are important in reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
With 2005 sales of US$12.9 billion under the brand name Lipitor®, it is currently the biggest selling drug in the world.
Brand Name(s): Lipitor
CAS nº: 134523-00-5
The sections below will provide you with more specific information and guidelines related to Atorvastatin and its correct use. Please read them carefully.
Atorvastatin was approved by the FDA in December 1996.
Additionally, the FDA also approved Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering medicine atorvastatin for the new indication to reduce stroke risk and heart attack in people with type 2 diabetes without evidence of heart disease, but with other risk factors.
The FDA’s decision was based on a landmark trial of over 10,000 patients that found that patients taking Lipitor® at its lowest dose had significantly fewer heart attacks than those taking placebo.
Please visit the official site of the FDA for further information.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Atorvastatin is an oral drug that lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood.
It belongs to a class of drugs referred to as statins which includes lovastatin (Mevacor®), simvastatin (Zocor®), fluvastatin (Lescol®), and pravastatin (Pravachol®).
All statins, including atorvastatin, prevent the production of cholesterol by the liver by blocking the enzyme that makes cholesterol, HMGCoA reductase. They lower total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol levels. (LDL cholesterol is believed to be the “bad” cholesterol that is primarily responsible for the development of coronary artery disease.) Lowering LDL cholesterol levels retards progression and may even reverse coronary artery disease.
Unlike the other drugs in this class, atorvastatin can also reduce the concentration of triglycerides in the blood. High blood concentrations of triglycerides have also been associated with coronary artery disease.
Other uses for this medicine
Atorvastatin has also been used in the treatment of combined hyperlipidemia (or-aemia) is a commonly occurring form of hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels).
However, it is important that you first talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your particular condition.
Dosage and using this medicine
The usual dose range for adults is between 10-80 mg once daily, usually taken with the evening meal. It is common to begin at 10 mg once daily, and measure fasting lipid levels within the first 4 weeks, and then adjust dosage according to the response.
The maximum daily dose is 80 mg per day. Lipitor® comes in 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg tablet sizes.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with atorvastatin. The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous effects.
Do not stop taking atorvastatin without first talking to your doctor. This particular medication may need to be taken on a long-term basis for the treatment of high cholesterol.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking atorvastatin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to this medication, to any other “statins”, or if you have any other allergies.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions.
Moreover, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication regarding your medical history, especially of if you suffer from heart disease, have a history of liver disease, kidney disease, underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), diabetes (poorly controlled), or alcohol use.
The rare development of severe muscle damage (see Side Effects section) can infrequently lead to serious kidney problems. This medication is usually temporarily stopped if you have any condition which can increase your risk of developing kidney problems. Before stopping your medication, notify your doctor immediately if you have any of the following conditions: major surgery, trauma, serious illness (e.g. sepsis, severe metabolic/endocrine/electrolyte disorders), very low blood pressure, or uncontrolled seizures).
You should also limit alcoholic beverages. Daily use of alcohol may increase your chance for serious side effects.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the side effects of the drug, especially muscle damage.
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 young girls and women of child-bearing age use effective birth control measures to prevent pregnancy while taking this drug since atorvastatin may cause harm to an unborn baby.
Additionally, this medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug, therefore it is advised that you consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Please take the missed atorvastatin dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose.
It is strongly advised that you do not take a double dose of this medication in order to make up for a missed one, as serious side effects may result.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Possible side effects from atorvastatin may include:
headache upset stomach excess gas nausea rashes
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
headache upset stomach or flatulence rashes general muscle pains
Moreover, if you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
difficulty in breathing
closing of the throat
swelling of the lips, tongue, or face
decreased urine or rust-colored urine
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
It is recommended that you store this medication away from heat and direct light. Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
Moreover, please remember to throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. If you have any queries regarding the proper disposal of your medication, talk to your pharmacist.
In case of an emergency/overdose
In the case of a suspected overdose, call your local poison control center on 1-800-222-1222. However, if the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, please call the local emergency services immediately on 911.
NOTE: symptoms of an overdose of atorvastatin are not known.
PICTURES OF ATORVASTATIN PILLS
Below you will find images and specific information on the principal types of atorvastatin that exist, including their respective brand name(s), strength, inscription codes and manufacturers.
The information below includes general information and guidelines for patients taking this medication and should never be used to substitute professional medical advice that can be provided by a qualified physician or family doctor.
Strength(s): 20 MG
Imprint: 20 | PD 156
Manufacturer: PFIZER US PHARM.
Strength(s): 40 MG
Imprint: 40 | PD 157
Manufacturer: PFIZER US PHARM.
Distributor: PHYSICIANS TC.
Strength(s): 80 MG
Imprint: 80 | PD 158
Manufacturer: PFIZER US PHARM.