What is Atorvastatin?
Atorvastatin, also sold under the brand name Lipitor, is used to lower bad cholesterol and fats, such as triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and increase good cholesterol or HDL in the blood. This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as statins, which work by reducing the quantity of cholesterol made by the liver. This helps to lower the risk of heart disease and prevents strokes and heart attacks, when coupled with lifestyle changes such as being more active, stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet and losing weight if necessary.
If you have a family history of heart disease or you have a long-term health condition such as diabetes you may be prescribed Atorvastatin.
How does Atorvastatin work?
Statins are needed to prevent serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke by preventing bad cholesterol building up and narrowing and hardening the arteries, and therefore restricting the blood flow to major organs such as the heart and brain. To prevent this, Atorvastatin reduces the amount of bad cholesterol that is produced by the liver, and improves the body’s ability to get rid of LDL cholesterol through the liver. Atorvastatin essentially blocks the enzyme in the liver that helps to make cholesterol.
Who is suitable to take Atorvastatin?
This medicine is suitable for adults and children over the age of 10 years who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol or are at an increased risk of heart disease despite cholesterol levels being normal.
Who should not take this medicine?
Not everyone who has high cholesterol will be suitable for this type of treatment. Your medical history and present health condition will be considered before you are prescribed Atorvastatin. If you have any existing medical conditions or are taking any other medication which is not suited to this type of medicine, you will not be able to take Atorvastatin.
You should speak to your doctor if any of the following apply to you as this may mean your unsuitable to take this medication:
- Allergic to atorvastatin or any other ingredient in this medicine
- Liver or kidney problems
- Severe lung disease
- Pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
- An underactive thyroid
- Drink large amounts of alcohol
- Have or have had a muscular disorder such as fibromyalgia
- Have had muscular side effects when taking statins in the past
As a precaution while taking this medicine you should limit your intake of alcoholic beverages and avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice, as this can increase the amount of Atorvastatin in your bloodstream.
Taking Atorvastatin with other medicines
If you’re already taking other medicines it’s important to inform your doctor of these whether they’re prescription or non-prescription medicines. This is to ensure that Atorvastatin will not interact with these drugs and potentially cause side effects or reduce or strengthen their effects, and vice versa. You should be particularly aware of the following medicines when taking Atorvastatin, these include:
- Medicines that alter your immune system such as ciclosporin
- Some antibiotics and antifungal medicines such as erythromycin and ketoconazole, and more.
- Medicines used to regulate lipid levels e.g gemfibrozil
- Calcium channel blockers
- Medicines used to treat HIV
- Medicines used to treat Hepatitis C
Other medicines include:
St John’s Wort
Can you take Atorvastatin while pregnant?
Always ask your doctor for advice before taking any medication while pregnant. The safety of taking Atorvastatin during pregnancy has not been established, therefore it’s important that you avoid taking this medicine if pregnant or if you’re planning to become pregnant. Likewise, Atorvastatin is not recommended to be taken while breastfeeding as it’s unknown whether this medicine can pass into breast milk.
If you’re taking Atorvastatin it’s important to use reliable contraceptive measures if you do not wish to become pregnant.
It you’re planning to become pregnant in the near future and you’re currently taking Atorvastatin, it’s best to stop taking this medicine for at least 3 months before you start trying to get pregnant.
How to take Atorvastatin
This medication is taken orally with or without food, as directed by your doctor. It is usually taken once daily and the typical starting dose is 10mg per day – any adjustment of this dose should be made at 4 weekly intervals, to a maximum of 80mg per day.
If you’re also taking cholesterol-reducing medication, take Atorvastatin at least 1 hour before or at least 4 hours after taking these medications. Try to take this medication at the same time each day and regularly for it to be effective.
Are there any side effects of Atorvastatin?
Like all medicines, Atorvastatin may cause some side effects but not everyone will experience them.
Side effects may vary between the different types of statins, and some of the most common side effects of Atorvastatin include:
- Nausea or indigestion
- Aches and pains in the joints and back
- Sore throat
- Cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, blocked nose or sneezing
- Constipation or wind
More uncommonly, use of Atorvastatin may also cause:
- Mild memory problems or confusion
- Muscle problems, which in rare cases can lead to serious conditions such as rhabdomyolysis and autoimmune myopathy
- Signs of kidney problems, such as changes in the amount of urine
- Liver problems
In rare cases, statins may cause or worsen diabetes – talk to your doctor about the risks of this.
Very serious allergic reactions are rare, however, seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following:
- Itching or swelling, particularly of the face, tongue or throat
- Severe dizziness
- Difficulty breathing
Please see the patient information leaflet for a list of all possible side effects. If you experience any side effects while taking this medicine you should speak to your doctor who will test whether this type of statin is keeping your cholesterol under control, and may possibly reduce your dose if side effects are bothering you. Minor side effects may reduce or disappear over time.
How effective is Atorvastatin at reducing cholesterol?
Having high cholesterol doesn’t necessarily produce noticeable symptoms and so you may not feel a whole lot different while taking Atorvastatin but it’s important to continue taking this medicine as it will be working on the inside. If taken correctly and consistently, Atorvastatin will effectively lower your cholesterol levels within 4 weeks.
How long will I need to take this medicine for?
Statins are usually taken for the rest of your life if diet and exercise alone is not effectively lowering your cholesterol, as it’s likely that your cholesterol levels will rise when stopping medication. As long as Atorvastatin is controlling your cholesterol levels well and you’re not experiencing any side effects, you can take this medicine long term. It’s important to still maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle to keep your cholesterol under control.
How do I buy Atorvastatin online?
To legally and safely buy Atorvastatin medication, you need a prescription from a General Medical Council (GMC) registered doctor. Our online service allows you to do this quickly and easily, from the comfort of your own home by submitting a completed consultation form to one of our GMC doctors.
Once you’ve submitted the relevant information, one of our doctors will review the request and, if it is deemed appropriate for you, your prescription will then be issued and dispensed by our UK-based pharmacy with full tracking to your chosen address. Medicines are typically dispatched within 24 hours of the order being received.
How is my order shipped to me?
When an order is ready for shipping, it is collected and delivered by either the Royal Mail or DPD depending on your preference (or possibly your location or the item you ordered). Each order is assigned a tracking number, which will be emailed to you at the time of dispatch. Your medicine will be sent in plain and discreet packaging that’s eco-friendly. We do not include any branding on our packaging nor any labels which inform readers what type of product is contained within.
Advice on Addiction and Medication Restrictions
If you are at all worried or concerned about an addiction to any type of medication, we urge you to speak to a professional for help and advice. Below are links to organisations that can help.
Talk To Frank
NHS Help & Advice On Drug Addiction