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;
ou should not take atorvastatin if you are allergic to it, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease.
To make sure you can safely take atorvastatin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
- history of liver disease;
- history of kidney disease;
muscle pain or weakness;
a thyroid disorder; or
if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
In rare cases, atorvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use. Certain other drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems, and it is very important that your doctor knows if you are using any of them:
diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Dilacor, Diltia, Diltzac, Taztia, Tiazac);
gemfibrozil (Lopid), fenofibric acid (Fibricor, Trilipix), or fenofibrate (Antara, Fenoglide, Lipofen, Lofibra, Tricor, Triglide);
antibiotics such as clarithromycin (Biaxin) or erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole);
antifungal medicines such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), or voriconazole (Vfend);
>HIV medications such as darunavir (Prexista), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), ritonavir (Norvir), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), nelfinavir (Viracept), saquinavir (Invirase), or tipranavir (Aptivus);
medicines that contain niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others); or
drugs that weaken your immune system, such as steroids, cancer medicine, or medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection, such as cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).
FDA pregnancy category X. Atorvastatin can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take atorvastatin if you are pregnant. Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking atorvastatin. Atorvastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking atorvastatin.
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