Atorvastatin is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." Atorvastatin reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
Atorvastatin is used to treat high cholesterol, and to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors.
Take atorvastatin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Do not break an atorvastatin tablet unless your doctor has told you.
Atorvastatin is usually taken once a day, with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
You may need to stop using atorvastatin for a short time if you have:
an electrolyte imbalance (such as high or low potassium levels in your blood);
severely low blood pressure;
a severe infection or illness; or
surgery or a medical emergency.
To be sure this medicine is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.
Atorvastatin is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. You may need to take atorvastatin on a long-term basis for the treatment of high cholesterol. Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if your next dose is less than 12 hours away. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to atorvastatin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop taking atorvastatin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness;
confusion, memory problems;
fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine;
swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all;
increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss; or
nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious atorvastatin side effects may include:
mild muscle pain;
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