General information about Lipitor
Lipitor, with active ingredient atorvastatin calcium, belongs to a class of drugs known as statins. The drug is used for lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the body and increasing the level of good cholesterol. The drug is also used for reducing triglycerides in the body. The drug works by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA. The enzyme is responsible for production of cholesterol in the body. Thus, by inhibiting the function of the enzyme, the drug helps in reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
Precautions/side effects of Lipitor
Lipitor has the active ingredient atorvastatin. Patients allergic to atorvastatin or other forms of statins should refrain from taking this drug. Other than that, people with thyroid imbalance, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or weak muscles should take this drug only after due consultation with the doctor. The use of the drug by patients with thyroid disorder or muscle weakness can cause kidney failure.
Lipitor is also known to react with certain medications such as medications used for treating AIDS like nelfinavir, indinavir etc., drugs used for treating high blood pressure such as digoxin, quinidine etc., birth control pills, antibiotics such as rifmapin and others. People on any of these drugs should take Lipitor only after consulting a physician.
Lipitor is a Category X pregnancy drug. It can result in adverse effects on the fetus as well as the new born child. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should not take this drug.
Lipitor is also known to cause certain side effects such as diarrhea, nausea or pain in the muscles. However, in some cases, serious side effects may show up to the drug such as muscle weakness, jaundice, unusual weight gain or dark colored urine. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- Foods high in fat content should be avoided while taking Lipitor to maximize the effect of Lipitor.
- Excessive alcohol consumption while taking Lipitor increases the risk of side effects to the drug. Alcohol consumption should be kept to the bare minimum, not more than 2 glasses per week, while taking Lipitor.
- Foods containing grapefruit should be avoided while taking Lipitor as grapefruit is known to react adversely with Lipitor.
- It is important to incorporate proper exercise and a strict diet intake in the daily routine to maximize the effect of Lipitor.
Dosage of Lipitor
Lipitor is available as 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg tablets. The usual initial dosage of the drug is 10 mg or 20 mg once daily. However, the dosage may be increased depending on the response of the patient. For patients above the age of 65 years, the maximum dosage of Lipitor is 20 mg once daily.
Lipitor can be taken with or without food. It should be taken with a glass full of water. Overdose of the drug should be avoided at all costs. If a dose is missed, it should be taken at the earliest. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug can cause serious side effects such as seizures or abnormally low blood pressure which require immediate medical attention.
Storage of Lipitor
Lipitor should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It should be stored at room temperature not exceeding 30 degree Celsius away from the reach of children and pets at all times.