How Does Atorvastatin Work?|Effectiveness and Safety of Atorvastatin in Treating High Cholesterol?

Atorvastatin belongs to a group of medicines known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or “statins.” Atorvastatin decreases the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), in other words “bad cholesterol,” and triglycerides in the plasma while at the same time increasing the concentration of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good cholesterol.”

Atorvastatin is taken for the treatment of high cholesterol and also to decrease the danger of heart attack or other heart-related diseases in patient of diabetes type 2, stroke and other diseases. Atorvastatin is for the treatment of adults as well as children who are above 10 years old.

  • In case of pregnancy, breast-feeding or any liver disease, atorvastatin should be avoided.
  • This medication should be avoided as soon as you become pregnant and the doctor should be informed.
  • Severe drug reactions can take place when various drugs are used combined with atorvastatin. Inform your every health care provider regarding all the drugs you take now and any other drug you stop or start using.
  • Occasionally, it can lead to a state in which breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue occurs, causing kidney failure. The doctor should be informed in case of unexplained muscle tenderness, pain or weakness in particular if you additionally have unusual fatigue, fever and urine of dark color.
  • Prevent taking diet high in fat or cholesterol. If low-cholesterol diet is not followed then it might not lower your cholesterol.
  • The atorvastatin drug is just a part of a whole treatment program which also involves exercise, diet and control in weight. Diet, medication, and exercise should be followed closely.

How Does Atorvastatin Work?

Atorvastatin show its action by inhibiting an enzyme present in the liver which synthesizes various types of lipids like cholesterol and fats. Atorvastatin also increases the splitting of lipids.

Effectiveness of Atorvastatin in Treating High Cholesterol

Effectiveness of Atorvastatin in Treating High Cholesterol

Atorvastatin, in combination with nutritional measures, is taken for the effective treatment of high cholesterol in patient at increased danger of disease associated with CVS if preliminary nutritional measures are unsuccessful to decrease cholesterol.

Atorvastatin is also taken for lowering the danger of coronary complications (involves stroke, heart attack, and angina) in people who are at increased danger of these complications – like people with already occurring diabetes, coronary heart disease, peripheral vessel disease, a past history of stroke as well as events similar to stroke or heart attack, or with numerous threat factors like smoking, older age, low HDL-C, high blood pressure, or family history of heart disease.

  • Consider momentarily withholding the drug and searching for critical medical suggestion in case of any acute muscle pain or some other complication that may upsurge the danger of severe kidney failure or muscle injury like serious infection, trauma, major surgery, severe electrolyte disorder, uncontrolled seizures, or metabolic disorders.
  • Large quantities of grapefruit should be taken and Atorvastatin should be taken daily only once.
  • Stick to the TLC diet given by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), or an identical nutrition can be followed, while using atorvastatin.
  • Daily exercise is also significant apart from preventing smoking.
  • Atorvastatin Dosage requires to be customized but primarily should begin at 10-20 mg per day and be directed by the consequences of tests related to cholesterol conducted 2 to 4 weeks after.
  • Visit to the doctor should be done as soon as any yellowing of the skin or respiratory depression, mysterious cough or general fatigue occurs.

The response and effectiveness of Atorvastatin is quite impressive. Peak concentration observed in 1-2 two hours of administration; nevertheless, it may also take 1-2 week of daily dosing before enhancements in cholesterol levels can be seen, and almost four weeks until the highest effects of cholesterol decrement of the drug are seen.

  • Atorvastatin may decrease total concentration of cholesterol by 30 to 46%, triglycerides by 30 to 56%, with different upsurges observed in HDL.
  • Perhaps more efficient than other drugs belonging to this group of drugs.

What is the Recommended Dosage for Atorvastatin?

Normal Adult Dose for Avoidance of Cardiovascular Disease:

Primary dose: 10-80 mg through oral route once a day.

The primary dosage of atorvastatin suggested for this patient in the avoidance of disease related to CVS is 10-80 mg through oral route once a day. The amount may be given no matter what time is without considering any meal time.

Normal Adult Dose for Hyperlipidemia:

Primary dose: 10, 20 or 40 mg through oral route once a day. The 40 mg beginning amount is suggested for patients who are in need of LDL-cholesterol decrease by 45%.

Dose variation should be done at intermissions of 2-4 weeks.

Maintenance dose: 10-80 mg through oral route once a day.

Normal Pediatric Dose for Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia:

10mg/day dose is given for patients between 10 to 17 years (20mg/day is the max dose). Variations can be made at breaks of at least 4 weeks.

Safety of Atorvastatin in Treating High Cholesterol

The use of atorvastatin is proved to be safe but just like any other drug, Atorvastatin also comes with a bunch of side effects:

  • Nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the nasal pathways as well as back of the throat), diarrhea, arthralgia (joint pain), pain, dyspepsia, and infections of urinary tract.
  • Muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness – primarily requires additional inquiry to exclude more severe muscle effects like rhabdomyolysis – muscle cells destruction. Patients above age 65, using specific drugs (for instance itraconazole, cyclosporine, HIV antivirals), who consume two drinks of alcohol a day or with disease of kidney seem to be associated with more danger of severe side effects of Atorvastatin.
  • Just like other statins, Atorvastatin, may influence function of liver, showing as variations in jaundice or liver function tests needing reduction or discontinuation in dosage.
  • Atorvastatin may also influence diabetes markers like fasting glucose or HbA1c, and might not be appropriate in people with liver or kidney disorder.
  • Very few times, it has been related to memory loss, amnesia, forgetfulness, confusion and memory impairment. These symptoms usually disappear with discontinuation.


Atorvastatin drug is effective in decreasing cholesterol; nevertheless, its use may be restricted by adverse effects like muscle pain.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 27, 2017

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