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    Information about Atorvastatin

    Atorvastatin uses

    Atorvastatin is used in the treatment of high cholesterol.

    How atorvastatin works

    Atorvastatin is a lipid-lowering medication (statin). It works by blocking an enzyme (HMG-CoA-reductase) that is required in the body to make cholesterol. It thus lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL).

    Common side effects of atorvastatin

    Headache, Constipation, Muscle pain, Increased glucose level in blood, Joint pain, Allergic reaction, Nausea, Indigestion, Nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the throat and nasal passages), Increased creatine phosphokinase (CPK) level in blood, Diarrhea, Nosebleeds
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Anuj Saini
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Ashish Ranjan
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    09 Oct 2019 | 06:59 PM (IST)
    Want to know more?
    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Atorvastatin

    • In general, Atorvastatin is safe. It may cause diarrhea, gas or an upset stomach. If any of these happen to you, take it with food.
    • Inform your doctor if you experience fatigue, muscle weakness or muscle pain. 
    • Your doctor may monitor your liver function before starting the treatment and regularly thereafter. Inform your doctor if you notice signs of liver problem such as yellowing of skin or eyes, unusually dark urine or stomach pains.
    • Inform your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes. If you are diabetic, monitor your blood sugar level regularly as Atorvastatin may cause an increase in your blood sugar level.
    • Do not take Atorvastatin if you are pregnant or planning to conceive.

    Frequently asked questions for Atorvastatin


    Q. What should I know about high cholesterol?

    Cholesterol is a type of fat present in your blood. Total cholesterol is determined by the total amount of LDL and HDL cholesterol in the body. LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol. Bad cholesterol can build up in the wall of your blood vessels and slow or obstruct blood flow to your heart, brain, and other organs. This can cause heart diseases and stroke. HDL cholesterol is called “good” cholesterol as it prevents the bad cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels. Triglycerides also are harmful fats found in your blood.

    Q. Is Atorvastatin used for lowering cholesterol?

    Atorvastatin belongs to a group of medicines known as statins, which are lipid (fat) lowering medicines. Atorvastatin is used to lower lipids known as cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood when low-fat diet and lifestyle changes fail to lower the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. If you are at an increased risk of heart disease, Atorvastatin can also be used to reduce such risk even if your cholesterol levels are normal. You should maintain a standard cholesterol-lowering diet during treatment.

    Q. Will taking Atorvastatin increase my risk of diabetes?

    If you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, taking Atorvastatin may increase this risk slightly. This is because Atorvastatin can raise your blood sugar a little. If you already have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may advise monitoring your blood sugar levels more closely for the first few months. Tell your doctor if you find it harder to control your blood sugar.

    Q. For how long do I need to take Atorvastatin? Is it safe for long-term use?

    You may need to take Atorvastatin life long or for the duration prescribed by your doctor. The benefits will only continue for as long as you take it. If you stop taking Atorvastatin without starting a different treatment, your cholesterol level may rise again. It is considered to be safe and has few side effects if taken as directed by the doctor.

    Q. Does Atorvastatin cause weight loss?

    No, Atorvastatin has not been reported to cause weight loss. However, weight gain has been reported as an uncommon side effect. Please consult your doctor if you experience weight loss while taking Atorvastatin.

    Q. Can I stop taking Atorvastatin?

    No, you should not stop taking Atorvastatin without consulting your doctor. You should consult your doctor if you think that taking Atorvastatin is causing side effects. Your doctor may accordingly decide to lower your dose or change your medicine.

    Q. Does Atorvastatin cause memory loss?

    No, Atorvastatin does not cause loss of memory. However, it is an uncommon side effect of Atorvastatin, and may affect only 1 in 100 people. Please consult your doctor if you experience any symptoms of memory loss after taking Atorvastatin.

    Q. When should I take Atorvastatin?

    Atorvastatin is generally taken once a day. It can be taken in the morning or night or at any time of the day, with or without food. Try taking this medicine at the same time every day to help remember when to take it.

    Q. What does Atorvastatin do to the body?

    Atorvastatin acts on the liver and stops it from making bad cholesterol. It not only lowers the levels of LDL-C (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides but also helps to raise your HDL-C (good cholesterol). This in turn, lowers the risk for heart attack, stroke, certain types of heart surgery, and chest pain in patients who have heart disease or diabetes.

    Q. What are the most common side effects of Atorvastatin?

    The common side effects of Atorvastatin include nausea, indigestion, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, headache, and aches and pains in your back and joints. It may also cause nosebleeds, sore throat, and cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, blocked nose or sneezing.

    Q. Is Atorvastatin a blood thinner?

    No, Atorvastatin is not a blood thinner. It is a cholesterol-lowering medicine. It works by slowing down the production of cholesterol in the body to decrease. This further decreases the amount of cholesterol that may build up on the walls of the arteries and block blood flow to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body. By lowering the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides it prevents the chances of stroke and heart attack.

    Q. Can Atorvastatin be prescribed to children?

    Atorvastatin is for adults and children aged 10 years or more whose cholesterol does not come down enough with exercise and low-fat diet. It is not approved for use in patients younger than 10 years old.

    Content on this page was last updated on 09 October, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)