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Lipitor ( atorvastatin ) assist in lowering cholesterol or other fats in the blood (such as triglycerides). High levels of these fats can cause heart disease by blocking the blood vessels that feed blood and oxygen to the heart.

Lipitor is part of the class of medications known as HMG-Co A Reductase inhibitors. This class of medications inhibits an enzyme in the liver, which is accountable for cholesterol metabolism in the body. Lipitor currently is the most potent per mg of the class.

Hence, Lipitor is successful in reducing low density lipoprotein cholesterol ( LDL-C ), triglycerides and other lipids/fats in the blood.

The tablets are available in 4 strengths: 10, 20, 40 and 80 mg.

Be sure to take your Lipitor as a single dose. It does not matter if you take it with food or without food, however, you should not take it with grapefruit juice. Your physician will normally tell you to take it in the evenings.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you can. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take the next dose. Don't take a double dose.

Never change the dosage unless your physician advises you to.

Lipitor Precautions and Contraindications

Speak with your physician prior to taking this medication, especially if:

  • You have liver disease.
  • You are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or think you might be pregnant. This medicine should not be used during pregnancy. If you get pregnant during treatment, you should stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor immediately.
  • You are breast-feeding your baby. This medicine may be present in your breast milk.
  • You have taken any of the following medicines before and you have had a reaction:

Lipitor Drug Interactions

Be sure to speak with your physician prior to taking this drug if you are also taking any other medicines, prescription or non-prescription, especially:

  • corticosteroids (cortisone-like medicines)
  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
  • gemfibrozil (Lopid)
  • fenofibrate (Lipidil Micro) or bezafibrate (Bezalip)
  • lipid-lowering doses of niacin (nicotinic acid)
  • erythromycin, clarithromycin or azole antifungal agents (ketoconazole or itraconazole)
  • nefazodone ( Serzone )
  • indinavir sulfate (Crixivan), nelfinavir mesylate (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir mesylate (Invirase)
  • terfenadine

Lipitor Side Effects

Side effects are typically minimal with Lipitor treatment, but serial testing of liver enzymes is essential and occasional individuals will have marked muscle inflammation, which necessitates stopping the medication. There are some minor side effects which you should speak with your physician should they occur:

  • stomach pain or upset
  • gas
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting or throwing up
  • headache
  • skin rash
  • However, speak to your physician immediately should you experience any of the following:
  • muscle pain that you can't explain
  • muscle tenderness or soreness
  • weakness and not feeling well
  • fever