What is Lipitor?
Lipitor is the brand name for Atorvastatin. It belongs to the statin group of medication and is prescribed to lower down the levels of triglycerides as well as cholesterol in the body. The statin group of medication is also termed as lipid metabolism regulators or HMG CoA reductase inhibitors because of its mechanism of action in the body.
‘High levels of cholesterol in the human body’ has become a common condition these days. Researchers, claim unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits as the cause for the high levels of cholesterol. In some cases, genetic inheritance may also be responsible for high levels of cholesterol in the body. High levels of cholesterol increases the chances of heart-attack and therefore it becomes utmost important to get in touch with the physician as soon as possible. Lipitor is the most common medication prescribed by the physicians to treat cholesterol.
How Does Lipitor Work In Treating Cholesterol?
Lipitor acts by blocking the enzyme responsible for producing cholesterol in liver by attaching itself to the neuron receptors. As the enzymes get blocked, less quantity of cholesterol is produced in the body and eventually the concentration of cholesterol decrease in the blood.
While Lipitor lowers down the levels of total cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein) in the body, at the same time, it raises the levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein), also known as good cholesterol.
Thus by reducing the levels of cholesterol in the body, Lipitor shows its effectiveness in reducing the chances of heart diseases like heart attack.
Effectiveness of Lipitor
As per physicians, Lipitor has been found effective in reducing the risk of heart attack in patients with high blood pressure and the following risk factors:-
- Enlarged heart ventricles
- Abnormalities in the ECG report
- Age of 55 years or above and male
- Family history of heart disease
- Disease in the Retina
- Type 2 diabetes
Lipitor usually starts showing the positive effects in the human body in 2-4 weeks depending upon the prevailing conditions and the number of risk factors associated with the subject. Post 2-4 weeks, the physician may decide to stop or continue with Lipitor after referring to your new blood test report.
Lipitor is available in dose strengths of Atorvastatin 10 mg, Atorvastatin 20 mg, Atorvastatin 40 mg, Atorvastatin 80 mg. Depending upon the patient’s age, weight, height and the severity of the condition, the physician prescribes the apt dose strength of Lipitor. Try to comply with the dose regime prescribed by the physician to heal your body, well on time.
Side Effects of Lipitor
Side effects are defined as unwanted responses to a medication when consumed in normal doses as recommended by the physician. Side effects may be temporary, severe or in worst cases, can be permanent. Therefore, it is very important to keep a note of any undesirable responses, post consumption of the medication and immediately report it to your physician or the pharmacist.
Following are Some of the Side Effects of the Lipitor:-
Category 1 – Temporary Side Effects of Lipitor
The first category of side effects happen often after the consumption of Lipitor. Immediately contact your physician if you find any one of these happening in your body, so that he can guide you on how to manage the side effects along with Lipitor. Following are the temporary side effects of Lipitor:-
- Urge to vomit
- Stomach Pain
- Rashes on the body
- Sexual problems
Category 2 – Severe Side Effects of Lipitor
The second category of side effects of Lipitor does not happen often however if any of these happen in your body, without any delay, you should contact your physician. Delay in seeking medical attention can lead to serious problems. Some of the Severe Side Effects of Lipitor are:
- Loss of memory
- Shortness of breath
- Symptoms of high blood pressure like unexplained loss of weight, frequent urination, infection, fruity breath odor, poor healing of the wound, urge for over eating etc.
- Trouble in sleeping
- Symptoms of depression like increase/decrease in weight, suicidal tendency, loss of interest in daily activities, loss in concentration etc.
- Symptoms of liver damage like abdominal pain, yellow eyes and/or skin, loss of appetite, itching, color of the stools changes to clay color, vomiting, nausea etc.
Category 3 – Permanent Side Effects of Lipitor
This category of side effects are classified as the most dangerous. If you find any of the symptoms that fall under this category happening to your body, an immediate medical attention is required, failing which the symptoms may turn into a permanent damage or can be even life threatening.
Following are the category 3 side effects of Lipitor:
Symptoms that fall under the third category are
- Symptoms of severe allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing, swelling on the face, hives or throat.
- Symptoms of muscle damage like tenderness or weakness in the muscles, unexplained pain in the muscles, discoloration of the urine etc.
- Frequent episodes of fever.
What your Physician should know while you take Lipitor?
While your physician prescribes Lipitor (Atorvastatin), be sure to inform him about any of the following medical conditions or habit that you might have. This will help him decide if it is safe for you to consume Lipitor or not.
If you have a history of cardiac stroke or transient ischemic attack, it is very important to tell your physician about it especially when it happened within the past 6 months, as the risk of hemorrhagic stroke increases with Lipitor.
Habit of Consuming Alcohol
If you are in a habit of consuming alcohol, you should let your physician know about it as it would make him aware about the fact. In such a case he will closely monitor your body vitals and parameters frequently.
If you are suffering from Diabetes or are at a risk of developing it, you should let your physician know about it as Lipitor leads to an increase in the blood sugar levels. Lipitor also effects the blood’s glucose tolerance level.
You ought to tell your physician about any history of kidney disease as with Lipitor, your body may be at a high risk of developing muscle effects.
An active liver disease or people who have a liver functioning more than normal, should let their physician know about it as Lipitor may reduce the liver function and may also cause liver failure.
Let your physician know about any history of muscle pain or tenderness especially when you have a medication history of statins. Ignoring the fact may lead to frequent muscle cramps, pain in the muscles and muscle weakness.
Cholesterol is required during pregnancy for the healthy growth of fetus in the body. Lipitor may lead to reduction in the amount of cholesterol in the body and therefore might harm the growth of the baby. Therefore, if you become pregnant, while on the Lipitor prescription, immediately let your physician know about it.
The research is still going on, if Lipitor (Atorvastatin) passes on to baby via the breast milk. However, the physician’s still as a precautionary step, avoid prescribing it during this period.
Contraindications of Lipitor
While consulting your physician, share your medication regime with him. This lets him know about the medications that you are taking and thereby decide if Lipitor would be a safe option to prescribe along with your existing medication regime or if any alterations may be required in it.
Following are the list of medications with which Lipitor might not be a safe option to consume by the human body:-
- Abiraterone Acetate
- Antibiotics, especially the macrolides class like erythromycin, azithromycin, clarithromycin etc.
- Birth control pills
- Antifungal Medications belonging to azole class like ketoconazole, itraconazole etc.
- Calcium Channel blockers like verapamil, diltiazem, nifedipine, amlopidine etc.
- Cancer Medications like methotrexate, vincristine, vinblastine, doxorubicin, daunorubcin, etoposide, mitotane, paclitaxel etc.
- Niacin amide
- Nicotinic Acid
- Proton Pump Inhibitors like omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole etc.
- St. John’s Wort
- Grapefruit Juice
- Hydrocodone and Hydrocortisone
If you are consuming any of these medications, do let your physician or pharmacist know about it so that the effectiveness of Lipitor in treating your condition of high levels of cholesterol doesn’t get hampered.