Lipitor Drug Information

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Generic Name: atorvastatin (a TOR va sta tin)

Lipitor is a cholesterol-lowering medication that blocks the production of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the body. Lipitor reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood. Lowering your cholesterol can help prevent heart disease and hardening of the arteries, conditions that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and vascular disease. Lipitor is used to treat high cholesterol. Lipitor is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with coronary heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
What is the most important information I should know about Lipitor?
• Do not take Lipitor without first talking to your doctor if you have liver disease.
• Alcohol and Lipitor can both damage your liver. Discuss with your doctor the amount of alcohol that you drink so that it can be determined if Lipitor is the best choice for lowering your cholesterol.
• Do not take Lipitor if you are pregnant, if you are planning a pregnancy, or if you are breast-feeding a baby.
• Contact your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if it is accompanied by a fever or flulike symptoms or yellowing of your skin or eyes.


What is Lipitor?
• Lipitor blocks the production of cholesterol (a type of fat) in your body.
• Lipitor is used to reduce the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of fat), and apolipoprotein B (a protein needed to make cholesterol) in your blood. Lipitor is also used to increase the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood. These actions are important in reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
• Lipitor may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.


Who should not take Lipitor?
• Do not take Lipitor without first talking to your doctor if you have liver disease.
• Before taking Lipitor, tell your doctor if you
· drink alcoholic beverages,
· have a chronic muscular disease,
· require major surgery, or
· have a blood disorder.
• You may not be able to take Lipitor, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.
• Lipitor is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that Lipitor will cause birth defects if it is taken during pregnancy. Cholesterol is very important for the proper development of a baby. Do not take Lipitor if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy.
• It is not known whether Lipitor passes into breast milk. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.


How should I take Lipitor?
• Take Lipitor exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
• Take each dose with a full glass of water.
• Lipitor can be taken with or without food.
• Lipitor is usually taken once a day. Try to take your dose at the same time each day. Follow your doctor's instructions.
• Your doctor may want to monitor your liver function with blood tests before starting treatment with Lipitor, at twelve weeks after both the start of your treatment and any increase in dose, and periodically (every 6 months) thereafter. Depending on the results of these tests, your doctor can determine how much monitoring you will require.
• Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Lipitor. The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.
• Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. To realize beneficial effects from Lipitor, avoid fatty, high-cholesterol foods.
• Do not stop taking Lipitor without first talking to your doctor. It may be weeks or months before beneficial effects are seen from this medication.
• Store Lipitor at room temperature away from moisture and heat.


What happens if I miss a dose?
• Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.


What happens if I overdose?
• Seek emergency medical attention.
• The symptoms of an overdose of Lipitor are not known.


What should I avoid while taking Lipitor?
• Alcohol and Lipitor can both damage your liver. Discuss with your doctor the amount of alcohol that you drink so that it can be determined if Lipitor is the best choice for lowering your cholesterol.
• Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Lipitor. The interaction could lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.


What are the possible side effects of Lipitor?
• If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Lipitor and seek emergency medical attention or call your doctor immediately:
· an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
· muscle aches, pain, or weakness;
· "flu-like" symptoms;
· decreased urine or rust-colored urine;
· blurred vision; or
· yellowing of your skin or eyes.
• Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Lipitor and talk to your doctor if you experience
· headache;
· upset stomach or flatulence; or
· a rash.
• Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.


What other drugs will affect Lipitor?
• Do not take Lipitor without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
· cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral);
· gemfibrozil (Lopid);
· niacin (Nicolar, Nicobid, Nicotinex, others);
· clarithromycin (Biaxin);
· erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Ilotycin, Eryc, PCE, Ilosone, others); or
· fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or ketoconazole (Nizoral).
• The medications listed above interact with Lipitor and may cause damage your muscles.
• Before taking Lipitor, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
· other cholesterol-lowering drugs such as cholestyramine (Questran) or colestipol (Colestid); or
· digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps).
• You may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
• Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Lipitor. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

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