What is Lipitor (atorvastatin), Side Effects, Dosage, Drug Interactions | Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD | RxEconsult

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Lipitor (atorvastatin) Uses, Side Effects, Dosing, and Efficacy Category: Cholesterol by - November 12, 2011 | Views: 10024 | Likes: 0 | Comment: 1  

Lipitor| Atorvastatin

Medication Class: HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins)
Manufacturer(s): Pfizer Inc.
Approval Date: December, 1996

What is Lipitor and how does it work

Lipitor is a cholesterol reducing drug that works by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase which is needed for the production of cholesterol in the liver. Lipitor is also classified as an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor or “statin”.

What does Lipitor treat

  • Reduces the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, revascularization procedures (opening blocked blood vessels), and angina (chest pain) in patients without coronary heart disease (blocked arteries) but have other risk factors for heart disease.
  • Reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for heart disease.
  • Reduce high cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Reduce high cholesterol in boys and girls 10-17 years old after diet has failed.

How effective is Lipitor

  • Reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 39-60%
  • Reduce triglycerides by 19-37%
  • Increase HDL (good cholesterol) by 5-9%
  • The effect of Lipitor on cholesterol level is evident within 4 weeks of continued use.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: 10 mg daily administered over 3.3 years significantly reduced the rate of fatal coronary heart diseases and non-fatal heart attack by up to 36% compared to placebo, irrespective of age, obesity, smoking status and presence of renal dysfunction (kidney problems), or cholesterol level.
  • Type 2 diabetes: 10 mg daily given to patients with type 2 diabetes for 3.9 years, reduced the rate of major cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, acute CHD death, unstable angina, coronary revascularization and stroke) by 37% as compared to placebo.
  • Stroke: 10 mg daily given to patients with type 2 diabetes reduced the risk of stroke by 48% and heart attack by 42% over 3.9 years compared to placebo.

What are interesting facts about Lipitor

  • Lipitor is the most prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug in the world.
  • A generic version is available.
  • It reduces the risk of heart attacks in patients with risk factors for heart disease regardless of cholesterol level.

What is Lipitor's dosage and how is it administered

Lipitor is tablets are administered orally once daily.

  • The recommended starting dose or adult is 10 mg or 20 mg daily. Maximum dose is 80 mg daily.
  • Patients requiring more than 45% reduction in LDL-C may start at 40 mg once daily.
  • Dose may be adjusted every 2 to 4 weeks based on response.
  • Pediatric patients are treated with 10 or 20 mg daily (maximum dose).

What are the side effects of Lipitor

Common: headaches, weakness (asthenia), abdominal pain, muscle pain, joint pain, allergic reactions, rash, stomach upset (dyspepsia), diarrhea, constipation, inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis), sore throat (pharyngitis), flu-like symptoms, and elevated liver enzymes.

Statins have been associated with memory loss, increased blood glucose, and diabetes.

Serious: Liver damage, rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown), kidney failure, pancreatitis.

Lipitor drug interactions

  • Birth control pills (oral contraceptives)
  • Biaxin (clarithromycin): Increases blood levels of Lipitor by reducing breakdown of Lipitor. May lead to increased side effects.
  • Rifampin: May reduce blood levels of Lipitor by increasing breakdown of Lipitor. May cause reduced efficacy.
  • Antifungal medications such as Diflucan (fluconazole), Nizoral (ketoconazole), Sporanox (itraconazole) may increase blood levels of Lipitor by reducing breakdown of Lipitor. May lead to increased side effects.
  • Cyclosporine: Increases blood levels of Lipitor and may increase the risk of muscle side effects. Dose of Lipitor should not exceed 10 mg daily if combined with cyclosporine.
  • Fibrates (Lopid, Tricor): Increase the risk of muscle side effects.
  • Niacin, a type of vitamin B available as dietary supplements may increase the risk of muscle side effects when combined with Lipitor.
  • Protease inhibitors (ritonavir plus saquinavir, or ritonavir plus lopinavir): Increase blood levels of Lipitor by reducing breakdown of Lipitor. May lead to increased side effects.
  • Grape fruit juice (>1.2 liters per day): May increase blood levels of Lipitor by reducing the breakdown of Lipitor.

What is the cost of Lipitor

Generic Lipitor may cost $0.23 to $1.08 per pill.

How to obtain prescription assistance for Lipitor?

For prescription assistance for Lipitor visit Pfizer patient assistance program.

References: Lipitor FDA Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.

This medication summary is for information only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider.

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