Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

Updated: Jun 20, 2021


Typically supplied as the following:

  • Immediate Release Oral Tablet: 10 MG, 20 MG, 40 MG, 80 MG

Lipitor (Atorvastatin) belongs to a class of medicines commonly refer to as statins. They work by inhibiting the key step in the synthesis or production of cholesterol in the body. In doing so, they help to reduce the amount of cholesterol, particularly Low Density Lipo-Protein Cholesterol (LDL-C) in the blood. Cholesterol is important for the normal function of the body cells and a quick lipid profile or lipid panel test can help physicians determine the amounts of the different types of cholesterol in your body. Having too much or a high level of cholesterol can be detrimental to the overall health. As noted by the American Heart Association, a high level of LDL-C has been associated with a higher risk for heart diseases. Lipitor is usually prescribed by physicians as an adjunct to diet and exercise in patients with multiple risk factors for a heart disease. Depending on the reduction goal in LDL-C, atorvastatin doses can be further divided into different treatment intensities. Click chat with a pharmacist for more about indications and treatment.

When is a good time to take my atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin can be taken any time of the day per the prescribing information. It is important to note that cholesterol biosynthesis varies throughout the day from person to person and usually peaks at night. Thus, choosing the right statin to meet this this factor is always important. According to a 2018 review of current evidence, shorter-acting statins are suggested for night time dosing, while the longer acting ones are suggested to be dosed anytime of the day. Atorvastatin is a long acting statin and for this reason, it can be taken anytime of the day and without regards to food.

I am looking into using CBD oil for a current condition. Does it interact with atorvastatin?

CBD oil may potentially interact with atorvastatin and other prescription medications. Discuss with your physician before starting CBD oil. Click lets chat to get connected with one of our pharmacist.

Does atorvastatin really causes muscleache?

One of the common side effects of atorvastatin is severe muscle pain and weakness. Certain risk factors such as high dose (intensity) of statins, age, concurrent medications, and underlying medical conditions (liver disease) among others increase this risk significantly.


Stop use and discuss with your physician or pharmacist if you are experiencing this side-effects while on atorvastatin. Some patients may have to be evaluated for different cholesterol medications, while others may be restarted at a lower dose of atorvastatin or a lower intensity statin.

I drink grapefruit juice often, should I totally avoid it while on atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is metabolized or broken down into active and inactive products by a class of liver enzymes called cytochrome P450. Grape fruit juice is thought to contain one or more components that may affect the function of the 3A4 subgroup of this liver enzyme, which play a key role in the metabolism of many prescription drugs including atorvastatin. Consumption of grape fruit juice, especially in large amounts, while on atorvastatin may hinder how quickly the medication is removed from your body contributing to an increase risk of side-effects.

When can I stop taking atorvastatin? Can I take red yeast rice supplement instead?

You should always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before stopping your prescription medications. They should also be aware when you start or stop an over the counter medication. Red yeast rice is a commercially available herbal supplements that is marketed to help reduce cholesterol in the body. In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings against taking red yeast rice products due to the lack of assurance about its efficacy and safety. Like many commercially available products that are not evaluated by the FDA for safety and standardized preparation methods prior to marketing, you should always consult with your pharmacist and doctor before consuming.

I was recently started on atorvastatin, should I continue taking this medicine after I become pregnant.

Limited published data on the use of atorvastatin are insufficient to determine a drug-associated risk in pregnancy. Nevertheless, it is know that atorvastatin inhibits cholesterol production in the body. Thus, there is a possibility that it may potentially have some effects on fetal development. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if you are planning to become pregnant while on atorvastatin.

Have more questions? Click Let's Chat to be connected with one of our pharmacists.


References:

  • Awad K, Banach M; The optimal time of day for statin administration: a review of current evidence. Current Opinion in Lipidology. 29(4):340–345, AUGUST 2018

  • Atorvastatin Calcium [prescribing information]. Pennington, NJ: Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc.2019

  • Cholesterol Abnormalities and Diabetes. American Heart Association Website. Accessed Oct 20, 2019.



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