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    Atorvastatin

    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) and triglycerides, raising the level of "good" cholesterol (HDL).

    Common side effects of atorvastatin

    Constipation, Headache, Increased glucose level in blood, Indigestion, Muscle pain
    Content Details
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    Written By
    Dr. Anuj Saini
    MMST, MBBS
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    Reviewed By
    Dr. Ashish Ranjan
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    18 Feb 2020 | 05:21 PM (IST)
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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 check your liver function before starting the treatment and regularly thereafter. Inform your doctor if you notice signs of liver problems such as stomach pains, unusually dark urine or yellowing of skin or eyes.
    • Inform your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes before starting treatment with this medicine. 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, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding.

    Frequently asked questions for Atorvastatin

    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 disease and stroke. HDL cholesterol is called “good” cholesterol as it prevents the bad cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels. High levels of triglycerides are also harmful to you.

    Q. Is Atorvastatin used for lowering cholesterol?

    Atorvastatin belongs to a group of medicines known as statins, which lowers the level of lipids or fats. 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 levels 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. If you think that Atorvastatin is causing side effects, you should consult your doctor who may accordingly lower your dose or change your medicine.

    Q. Does Atorvastatin cause memory loss?

    Memory loss may occur with Atorvastatin in very rare cases. This is generally non-serious and may occur as early as 1 day or may take years to appear. These symptoms may disappear within about 3 weeks of discontinuing Rosuvas. However, you should consult your doctor if you experience this side effect as it could be due to some other reason.

    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 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. Does Atorvastatin make you tired?

    Yes, Atorvastatin can make you feel tired. This is because they reduce the energy supply to the muscles in the body. However, the exact reason behind the phenomenon is unknown and needs more research. Tiredness usually occurs after exertion. Generalized fatigue is more often seen in people with heart disease or those suffering from liver illness. Atorvastatin also causes muscle damage which further worsens the tiredness. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you feel tired while taking Atorvastatin.

    Q. Can I take alcohol with Atorvastatin?

    No, it is not advised to take alcohol with Atorvastatin. This is because the risk of developing liver problems increases if you drink alcohol while taking this medicine. Moreover, there is a significant increase in the triglyceride levels if Atorvastatin is taken along with alcohol. This can further lead to liver damage and also worsen some of the side effects such as muscle pain, muscle weakness and tenderness. People with liver problems are therefore advised, not to take Atorvastatin without consulting the doctor. They should also refrain from consuming alcohol while taking this medicine to get maximum benefit.

    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. This further decreases the amount of cholesterol that may build up on the walls of the arteries and block blood flow to the part of the body. By lowering the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides it prevents the chances of stroke and heart attack.

    Q. Can Atorvastatin cause muscle problems or muscle injury?

    Yes, taking Atorvastatin can cause muscle problems or muscle injury. This is because of the reduced oxygen supply to the muscle cells which leads to fatigue, muscle pain, tenderness or muscle weakness. The soreness may be significant enough to interfere with your daily activities. Do not take it lightly and consult your doctor to know about ways to prevent this and to avoid making it worse.

    Q. Can Atorvastatin be prescribed to children?

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

    Content on this page was last updated on 18 February, 2020, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)