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Brand Name(s) : Lipitor
Side Effects


Atorvastatin should be used with caution in: the elderly (those over 70 years of age), patients who have previously had liver disease or who regularly drink alcohol to excess, those who have previously had any type of stroke, patients with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), kidney problems, and those who have or have ever had any muscle pain or cramps, or if the patient or a close family member has an inherited (genetic or hereditary) muscle disorder, and patients with acute porphyria (a blood disease).

It should not be used in: patients with current liver problems, women who are pregnant, likely to become pregnant (women of child-bearing age not using contraception), or who are breastfeeding children.

Also see list of precautions and interactions.


Store at room temperature.


Atorvastatin is used to treat a number of problems.

It is a member of a class of drugs called hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, usually known as statins.

In general, this drug is used to modify levels of blood lipids (lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides).

Benefits of being on this drug include reducing the likelihood of cardiovascular disease events (e.g. heart attacks or stroke).

Listed below are the typical uses of atorvastatin:

However on occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on this list.


How often do I take it?

  • This medication is available as a tablet, which should be taken orally, usually as a single dose every day, with or without food. Chewable tablets can be chewed or swallowed whole with a drink of water.
  • Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • This medication can be taken at any time of day. However, it is best to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.
  • It may take 2 weeks before you notice any benefits of this drug.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • Avoid drinking more than one or two small glasses of grapefruit juice per day and keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well, unless your doctor tells you to stop.



Less commonly:


  • Yellowing of skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Fluid accumulated beneath the skin, such as ankle swelling (oedema)
  • Tenderness of the muscles or muscle cramps
  • Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).

Very rarely:

  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (severe blistering of the skin, mouth, eyes and private parts)
  • Patchy red rash
  • Serious muscle pain and weakness (rhabdomyolysis), sometimes with fever
  • Deafness
  • Liver failure
  • Disturbances in vision
  • Taste disturbances (changes in sense of taste)
  • Breast enlargement (in men).

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: muscle aches and pains, tenderness, weakness or cramps; or if you have unusual and unexpected bleeding or bruising.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking atorvastatin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other statins; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: any liver, if you drink substantial quantities of alcohol, or if you have muscle pains, cramps, or muscle tenderness or weakness.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: any previous liver or kidney problems, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), any previous unexplained muscle pains, cramps or muscle tenderness or weakness, you or you have a close family member who has had a hereditary (genetic) muscle disorder or muscle problems with statins or other lipid-modifying drugs, acute porphyria

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Yes. Keep alcohol intake to a minimum whilst taking atorvastatin.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below.


Atorvastatin is not safe to take during pregnancy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about this.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Atorvastatin is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about this.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Before using this medicine, tell your prescriber of all the medicines you are taking including prescription medicines and medicines you have bought over the counter without a prescription. Tell your prescriber if you are taking vitamins or complementary remedies such as herbal products, as these can also interact with medicines.

If you are taking more than one medicine, these may interact with each other. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines which interact with each other if the benefit outweighs the risks. In these cases, the dose of your medicines may need to be adjusted or you may be monitored more closely.

The following medicines may interact with atorvastatin:

  • Certain antibiotics such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, daptomycin, telithromycin, rifampicin or fusidic acid
  • Antifungals such as itraconazole, voriconazole, ketoconazole or posaconazole
  • Blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin
  • Immunosuppressants such as ciclosporin
  • Calcium channel blockers (e.g. diltiazem) used for treating high blood pressure
  • Antivirals such as atazanavir and nelfinavir
  • Other lipid-modifying agents, such as fibrates (e.g. gemfibrozil), nicotinic acid and ezetimibe
  • St John's Wort
  • Anti-arrhythmia medicines used to control heartbeat rhythm problems such as verapamil, diltiazem and digoxin
  • Oral contraceptives

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, tell your prescriber of all the products you are using before taking this medicine.

If you have a question or want to discuss anything about your medicine, speak to your local pharmacist.


No specific symptoms reported.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of atorvastatin or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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