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Atorvastatin calcium is a cholesterol-lowering drug. Your doctor may prescribe it along with a special diet if your blood
cholesterol or triglyceride level is high and you have been unable to lower your readings by diet alone. The drug works by
helping to clear harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol out of the blood and by limiting the body's ability to
form new LDL cholesterol.
Your doctor may prescribe Atorvastatin calcium to reduce your chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease
if you have any of the following risk factors:
- have low levels of hdl (high-density lipoprotein--the good cholesterol);
- have high blood pressure;
- have a family history of early heart disease;
- are age 55 years or older;
For people at high risk of heart disease, the doctor may suggest a cholesterol-lowering drug if LDL readings are 130 or
more. For those at low risk, a drug is considered at readings of 190 or more.
Atorvastatin calcium is usually prescribed only if diet, exercise, and weight loss fail to bring your cholesterol levels
under control. It's important to remember that Atorvastatin calcium is a supplement--not a substitute--for those other measures. To get the full benefit of the drug, you need to stick to the diet and exercise program prescribed by your doctor. All these efforts to keep your cholesterol levels normal are important because they may lower your risk of heart disease.
Lipitor tablets contain the active ingredient atorvastatin, which is a type of drug called a statin. It works by reducing
the production of cholesterol by the liver.
For the sake of simplicity, there are two sorts of cholesterol; a 'bad' sort called low density lipoprotein (LDL) and
a 'good' sort called high density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is deposited in the arteries and increases the risk of heart
disease by clogging and narrowing the arteries (atherosclerosis), while HDL actually protects the arteries against this.
Atorvastatin decreases the production of LDL cholesterol by blocking the action of the enzyme in the liver (called HMG-CoA
reductase) that is responsible for its production. This decreases the amount of cholesterol in the liver cells, which causes
them to take up LDL cholesterol from the blood. The decreased cholesterol production and increased removal of LDL cholesterol
from the blood ultimately results in lowered blood cholesterol levels.
As the body produces most cholesterol at night, statins are generally more effective if taken at night.
Atorvastatin causes a small decrease in the production of other 'bad fats' in the blood called triglycerides, and a
small increase in the level of HDL cholesterol. This results in lowered levels of 'bad fats' and raised levels of 'good fats'
in the blood.
Statins have an important role in the prevention of coronary heart disease. They reduce the risk of excess cholesterol
being deposited in the major blood vessels of the heart. Any blockage in the blood vessels limits the amount of blood and
therefore oxygen being carried to the heart muscle. This can cause chest pain (angina) and in severe cases can result in a
heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Statins reduce the risk of stroke by decreasing the risk of excess cholesterol being deposited in the blood vessels
leading to the brain. These fat deposits can cause blockage and therefore limit blood and oxygen supply to certain parts of
Atorvastatin is prescribed to lower cholesterol and other bad fats in people who have high levels either due to genetics
(familial hypercholesterolaemia) or as a result of diet and lifestyle. This helps to reduce the risk of hardening of the
arteries (atherosclerosis) and the problems described above that this can cause.
Atorvastatin can be prescribed to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in people with diabetes, regardless of
their cholesterol levels. It has been shown to reduce the risk of needing procedures to improve blood supply to the heart,
such as a balloon dilation of an artery or a heart bypass graft. It reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and death
from heart disease.
It is important to continue to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet and exercise regime while taking atorvastatin. Discuss
this with your doctor.
Why is Atorvastatin bought?
- reducing the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks strokes or needing heart bypass surgery in people
with diabetes who have at least one other risk factor (for example smoking high blood pressure diabetic eye disease or
diabetic kidney disease). The drug can be prescribed for this purpose in people who don't currently have evidence of coronary
heart disease irrespective of what their cholesterol levels are;
- inherited high blood cholesterol levels (familial hypercholesterolaemia);
- high levels of any or all of the fats in the blood such as cholesterol triglycerides and lipoproteins (mixed
- high blood cholesterol levels (primary hypercholesterolaemia);
Atorvastatin Side Effects
Atorvastatin side effects that you should report to your health care professional or doctor as soon as possible:
- urinary tract infection;
- stomach pain;
- muscle aching or weakness;
- joint pain;
- inflammation of sinus and nasal passages;
- fluid retention;
- flu symptoms;
- chest pain;
- back pain;
- allergic reaction;
- accidental injury;
- abnormal heartbeat;
- weight gain;
- skin reactions such as rash and itch;
- muscle pain;
- muscle disorders;
- muscle cramps;
- memory loss;
- loss of appetite;
- liver disorders;
- hair loss (alopecia);
- feeling of weakness;
- excess gas in the stomach and intestines (flatulence);
- erectile dysfunction (impotence);
- disturbances of the gut such as diarrhoea constipation nausea vomiting or abdominal pain;
- difficulty in sleeping (insomnia);
- decreased sensitivity to touch or pain pins and needles sensations;
- decrease in the number of blood cells called platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia);
- chest pain (angina);
- changes in blood sugar levels;
- back pain joint pain;
- abdominal pain;
You need to follow a standard cholesterol-lowering diet before starting Atorvastatin calcium, and should continue following it throughout your therapy.
The recommended starting dose is 10 or 20 mg once a day. (The doctor may start with 40 mg daily if your LDL levels need to be reduced by more than 45%.) The doctor will check your cholesterol levels every 2 to 4 weeks and adjust the dose accordingly. The maximum recommended daily dose is 80 mg.
CHILDREN 10 to 17 YEARS OLD
The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once a day. The dosage may be increased after 4 weeks, as determined by the doctor, up to a maximum of 20 mg a day. Girls must be having regular menstrual cycles before starting therapy with Atorvastatin calcium.
The safety and effectiveness of Atorvastatin calcium in children under 10 years old or in doses greater than 20 mg a day have not been studied.