Skip to main contentSkip to accessibility services
  1. Drugs A to Z
  2. Atorvastatin
No Ads

Atorvastatin

(a-TOR-va-STA-tin)

For preventing heart attack and stroke

Disclaimer

The content on this page is not medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage are right for you.

Last updatedJuly 27, 2021

Atorvastatin

Atorvastatin (Lipitor) is a statin, taken to lower high cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in people at increased risk for these diseases.

Rx Pill Icon.

Brand name

Lipitor
Pharmacy Icon.

Rx or OTC

Available by prescription only

Clock Icon.

When & How

  • Take every day at bedtime.
  • Take at the same time every night.
Thumbs Up Icon.

Do’s

  • Take exactly as prescribed.
  • Continue to take atorvastatin even after you feel better.
  • Maintain a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and exercise regularly while taking atorvastatin (Lipitor) to help reduce risks of heart disease.
Thumbs Down Icon.

Don’ts

  • Do not skip doses. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is less than 12 hours until the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule.
  • Avoid drinking large amounts (40 oz) of grapefruit juice. It can increase the concentration of the drug in your body.
  • Do not take while pregnant; women of childbearing age should use contraception during treatment.
  • Do not breastfeed while taking this medication.
Doctor Icon.

Discuss with your doctor

  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • If you have liver disease or had liver disease in the past.
  • If you have had a stroke.
  • Tell any of your doctors that you’re taking atorvastatin (Lipitor) before you are prescribed any new medications.
  • If you have more than two alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Taking any herbal medications, vitamins, or dietary supplements.
User Speech Bubble Icon.

User reviews

Have you used this drug? Be the first to provide feedback about the experience.

What is Atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin (Lipitor) is a statin, taken to lower cholesterol and to reduce the risk of heart attack, angina (chest pain), heart surgery, and stroke. It is prescribed for people with high cholesterol and those with risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Atorvastatin slows down the production of cholesterol to decrease the amount of cholesterol that builds up on artery walls. It decreases the amount of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (unhealthy fats) in the blood, and increases the amount of “good” HDL cholesterol.

Atorvastatin should be taken along with maintaining a low-fat diet.

Atorvastatin is available by prescription only.

Atorvastatin dosages
Pills Icon.

Tablets

  • 10 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 40 mg
  • 80 mg

Similar drugs to Atorvastatin

  • Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin)
  • Mevacor, Altoprev (lovastatin)
  • Pravachol (pravastatin)
  • Caduet (amlodipine and atorvastatin)
  • Liptruzet (atorvastatin and ezetimibe)

Side effects

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Joint pain

12% of people experience joint pain

Diarrhea

6% of people experience diarrhea

Urinary tract infection

6% of people experience urinary tract infection

Cold symptoms

5% of people experience cold symptoms

Nausea

4% of people experience nausea

Pain in extremity

4% of people experience pain in extremity

Indigestion

3% of people experience indigestion

Musculoskeletal pain

3% of people experience musculoskeletal pain

Full list of side effects

  • Deep muscle pain
  • Cold symptoms
  • Pain in extremity
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sore throat
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Burping
  • Flatulence
  • Hepatitis
  • Cholestasis
  • Neck pain
  • Increase hyperglycemia in diabetics
  • Nightmares
  • Nose bleeds
  • Hives
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus

Long-term complications

Serious complications are rare but can include:

  • Liver damage.
  • Rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle fibers) usually when taken together with certain medications. This can lead to kidney failure.

Safety notes

  • Atorvastatin has a risk of a rare complication that causes muscle weakness and rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to kidney failure.
  • If you have liver disease, you should not take atorvastatin. It can increase risk of liver toxicity.
  • Do not drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily when taking atorvastatin.
  • Do not take if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It can harm the fetus.
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, abruptly stopping atorvastatin can increase inflammation.

Atorvastatin interactions

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these medications or supplements

Drug interactions associated with increased risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis:

  • Cyclosporine may increase the effect of atorvastatin (Lipitor); avoid taking together.
  • Clarithromycin may increase the effect of Lipitor, an alternative is preferred.
  • Itraconazole
  • Digoxin
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Niacin
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Spironolactone
  • Cimetidine
  • HIV medications: Cobicistat-containing medications (Stribild)Darunavir, Lopinavir, Ritonavir, Nelfinavir, Efavirenz
  • Rifampin
  • Tricor
  • Colchicine

Tell your doctor if you have any of these pre-existing conditions

  • Liver disease (hepatitis), or if tests show that you are developing liver disease.
  • Diabetes. This medication may increase your blood sugar.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Taking this medication may increase the risk of kidney failure.
  • You are pregnant or nursing.

Atorvastatin pricing

Money Bag Icon.Find ways to saveMoney Bag Icon.
Pill Icon.See your optionsPill Icon.

Search for your prescribed drug for a price comparison.

Review Atorvastatin

Rate this drug

Alert Icon.
0
Alert Icon.
Alert Icon.
Alert Icon.
Alert Icon.

Once your review receives approval from our editors, it will exist on Buoy as a helpful resource for others who may experience something similar.

Alert Icon.

Was this article helpful?

References