Lipitor is a cholesterol-lowering drug used for treatment of high cholesterol level. Lipitor contains atorvastatin as main active ingredient. Atorvastatin calcium is a synthetic lipid-lowering agent. It belongs to HMG CoA reductase inhibitors or statins group of drugs. Lipitor acts by reducing bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein, or LDL and triglycerides in the blood. It positively affects good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein, or HDL.
Lipitor is used for reducing risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems arising due to high level of cholesterol. It is used to lower level of low-density lipoprotein in patients of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other cholesterol related risk factors. It is used in children more than 10 years and adults. Lipitor comes in 10, 20, 40, or 80 mg atorvastatin tablets and is meant for oral intake. Lipitor is usually administered once a day, with or without food. Patients should stick to the recommended dosages of this drug.
Lipitor is a part of a complete treatment program for high level of cholesterol. It should be complemented with proper diet, exercise, and weight control. Patients should consult their doctor about any allergy, medical history or medication being used before taking this drug. Grapefruit juice or alcohol should be avoided while using Lipitor, as it may prove fatal. Patients should also avoid high cholesterol foods while using this drug.
Patients who are pregnant, planning to conceive or breast-feeding should not take this medicine as its harmful effects on fetus or infant is not fully known. Lipitor use could cause harm to an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Pregnancy should be avoided by any proper birth control method while using this drug.
Lipitor could also cause the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, which could lead to kidney failure, in some patients. Older patients are more likely to suffer from this side effect. Patients suffering from kidney disease or uncontrolled hypothyroidism are also highly prone to this side effect. Patients suffering from kidney, liver or heart diseases, diabetes or hypothyroidism should not take this medicine. This drug could also cause chronic chest pain.
Lipitor could produce severe allergic reaction such as hives, breathing problems, swelling in face, lips, tongue, or throat. It could also cause weight gain, nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools or jaundice. Use of this drug may cause muscle problems. One of such serious muscle problem is rhabdomyolysis. Symptoms of this disease are unusual muscle pain, tenderness or weakness in muscles or change in the urination. Older patients are more prone to this side effect.
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