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What is Atorvastatin?


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What is Atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin belongs to the group of prescription drugs “statins” used to lower cholesterol levels in your blood.


Atorvastatin is included in the class of drugs “statins” or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. It works by inhibiting the production of cholesterol by your body. There are two main types of cholesterol in your body.

  • Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or “bad cholesterol” promotes deposition of cholesterol in blood vessels. This deposition reduces blood flow and thus, oxygen supply to the heart, brain, and other body parts.

  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) or “good cholesterol”, on the other hand,

picks excess cholesterol from the blood and carries it to the liver, where it is metabolized and removed out of the body. HDL-C thus prevents the blockage of blood vessels with cholesterol. Atorvastatin decreases bad cholesterol in the blood, as well as increases the level of good cholesterol. It thus helps in preventing the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries and improves blood flow to the brain, heart and other body parts. So, Atorvastatin is mainly used along with a diet to treat high cholesterol levels. It may also be used to prevent the following conditions:

  • Heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Heart disorders in people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes

Directions for use

    • Take this medication orally once a day with or without food or as prescribed by your physician.

    • Take this tablet daily at the same time.

    • Follow all the instructions on the prescription label.

    • Do not stop taking this combination abruptly without consulting your doctor.

If You Miss the Dose

  • If you happen to miss a dose of Atorvastatin, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.

  • However, if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose.

  • Do not take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose.

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Atorvastatin frequently asked questions

What are the side-effects and risks of Carbamazepine?

Like all other medications, Carbamazepine may cause side effects. Although it is unlikely to happen in everyone, you must be aware of the possible side effects.

Very Common side effects:

  • Skin reactions which may be severe

  • Dizziness

  • Tiredness

  • A feeling of being sick

  • Feeling unsteady

  • Finding it difficult to control movements

  • Leucopenia (a reduced number of the cells which fight infection, making it easier to catch infections)

  • Changes in liver enzyme levels (usually without any symptoms)

Common side effects:

  • Dry mouth

  • Weight gain

  • Headache

  • Low blood sodium levels resulting in confusion

  • Double or blurred vision

  • Fluid retention and swelling

  • Changes in the blood including an increased tendency to bruise or bleed

Uncommon side effects:

  • Abnormal eye movements

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Abnormal involuntary movements including tremor or tics

Rare side effects:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Speech disorders

  • Low blood pressure

  • Changes of heartbeat

  • A disease of the lymph glands

  • Folic acid deficiency

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet

  • Muscle weakness

  • High blood pressure

  • Hallucinations

Very rare side effects:

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Taste disturbances

  • Changes to the composition of the blood including anemia

  • Glaucoma

  • Increased blood fat levels

  • Porphyria (severe abdominal pain, red urine, severe constipation or hallucinations)

  • Meningitis

  • Osteoporosis (a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile)

  • Swelling of the breasts and discharge of milk which may occur in both male and females

  • Osteomalacia (softening of the bones)

  • Abnormal thyroid function tests

  • Cataracts

  • Increased or decreased desire to pass urine or difficulty in passing urine

  • Hearing disorders

  • Blood spots in the urine

  • Heart and circulatory problems including deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Kidney failure

  • Sexual difficulties which may include reduced male fertility, loss of libido, or impotence

  • Lung or breathing problems

  • Muscle pain or spasm

  • Increased hair growth on the body and face

  • Severe skin reactions including Stevens-Johnson syndrome

  • Sore tongue

  • Increased hair growth on the body and face

  • Liver failure

  • Hair loss

  • Increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight

  • Acne

  • Excessive sweating

  • Alterations in skin pigmentation

An increased risk of bone disorders, osteopenia, and osteoporosis (thinning of the bone), and fractures has been observed in patients taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.

Who should not take Carbamazepine?

Inform your physician if you have the following conditions before starting Carbamazepine:

  • Heart block

  • Bone marrow complications resulting in decreased production of blood cells

  • Porphyria (Disorders resulting from a build-up of certain chemicals related to red blood cell proteins)

  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome

  • Mental illness

  • Liver problems

  • Kidney problems

  • Glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye)

Talk to your doctor before taking Carbamazepine if:

  • You are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.

  • You are allergic to Carbamazepine or any of its ingredients, or have any other allergies.

  • You are allergic to any other medication.

  • You are taking any other drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbal products, or nutritional supplements.

  • You are lactose intolerant

Besides, certain medicines may interfere with its working and thus might not be safe to take them together. Some of them are:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as phenelzine, iproniazid, isocarboxazid, nialamide, and tranylcypromine. Even if you have finished taking anyone of the MAOIs mentioned above, you will need to wait for 2 weeks before you start taking your Carbamazepine tablets

    Hormone contraceptives (pills, patches, injections, or implants)

  • Supplement of vitamin B (nicotinamide)

  • St John’s Wort or Hypericum (Herbal medicine)

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

  • Fluoxetine

  • Fluvoxamine

  • Paroxetine

  • Trazodone

  • Corticosteroids such as prednisolone, dexamethasone

  • Tadalafil

  • Albendazole

  • Bupropion

  • Anticoagulants such as warfarin, acenocoumarol, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban, and edoxaban

  • Painkillers such as paracetamol, dextropropoxyphene, tramadol, methadone, or buprenorphine

  • Antibiotics such as isoniazid, rifampicin, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, and rifabutin

  • Ritonavir

  • Indinavir

  • Saquinavir

  • Mefloquine

  • Levothyroxine

  • Itraconazole

  • Ketoconazole

  • Fluconazole

  • Voriconazole

  • Anti-epileptics such as vigabatrin, clobazam, clonazepam, ethosuximide, lamotrigine, eslicarbazepine, oxcarbazepine, primidone, tiagabine, topiramate, valproic acid, zonisamide

  • Anti-hypertensive such as diltiazem, verapamil

  • Felodipine

  • Digoxin

  • Antihyperlipidemics such as simvastatin, atorvastatin, lovastatin, and cerivastatin

  • Ivabradine

  • Loratadine

  • Anti-cancer drugs such as temsirolimus, cyclophosphamide, and lapatinib

  • Paliperidone

  • Aripiprazole

  • Cimetidine

  • Omeprazole

  • Isotretinoin

  • Ciclosporin

  • Tacrolimus

  • Sirolimus

  • Anti-asthmatics such as theophylline or aminophylline

  • Danazol

  • Gestrinone

  • Metoclopramide

  • Aprepitant

  • Acetazolamide

This may not be a comprehensive list, and other drugs may interact with Carbamazepine. Please inform your doctor if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

When should you not take Carbamazepine?

You should not take Carbamazepine if:

  • It has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.

  • The packaging shows signs of tampering

Carbamazepine may cause drowsiness and/or dizziness, or you may also cause blurred vision or double vision. You may lack muscular coordination, especially during the initial treatment phase affecting the ability to carry out normal daily activities. You should not drive or operate machinery or perform jobs that need you to be alert until these effects wear off.

Ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages during your treatment with Carbamazepine as it can make the side effects of Carbamazepine worse.

Eating grapefruit, or drinking grapefruit juice, may increase your chance of experiencing side effects.

What Are the Side-effects and Risks of Atorvastatin?

Common: (Seen in 1 in 10 individuals)

  • Pain in the throat, inflammation of nasal passage, and nose bleed

  • High blood sugar levels

  • Headache

  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea

  • Back pain

  • Muscle and joint pain

Uncommon: (Seen in 1 in 100 individuals)

  • Loss of appetite

  • Low blood sugar levels

  • Weight gain

  • Insomnia

  • Altered sensation to pain or touch

  • Dizziness

  • Numbness and tingling of toes and fingers

  • Ringing of ears

  • Change in taste

  • Fatigue

  • Neck pain

  • Chest pain

Rare: (Seen in 1 in 1000 individuals)

  • Severe allergic reaction (swelling of tongue, breathlessness, and dizziness)

  • Skin rash with peeling and blister formation

  • Muscle tenderness, weakness, or pain

  • Muscle breakdown (Rhabdomyolysis)

  • Kidney problems (symptoms such as a change in the amount of urine)

  • Visual disturbances

Very Rare: (Seen in 1 in 10,000 individuals)

  • Unusual or unexpected bleeding

  • Liver disorder (yellowing of the skin, dark urine, abdominal pain, and nausea and vomiting)

  • Gynecomastia (breast enlargement in men)

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.

Who Should Not Take Atorvastatin?

You should not take Atorvastatin if you have the following conditions:

  • Liver diseases

  • Kidney disorders

  • Allergic to any of its ingredients

  • Severe lung disease

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Seizures

  • Low blood pressure

  • Muscle problems, especially in elderly

Of note, Atorvastatin should not be used if you consume a large amount of alcohol. Talk to your doctor before taking Atorvastatin if:

  • You are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.

  • You have any other allergies.

  • You are allergic to any other medication.

  • You are taking any other drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbal products or nutritional supplements.

Besides, certain medicines may interfere with the working of Atorvastatin and thus might not be safe to take them together. Some of them are:

  • Itraconazole

  • Ketoconazole

  • Cimetidine

  • Boceprevir

  • Colchicine

  • Clarithromycin

  • Digoxin

  • Efavirenz

  • Gemfibrozil

  • Fenofibrate

  • Niacin

  • Fosamprenavir

  • Nelfinavir

  • Tipranavir

  • Darunavir

  • Lopinavir

  • Ritonavir

  • Cyclosporine

  • Spironolactone

  • Rifampin

  • Telaprevir

This may not be a comprehensive list, and other drugs may interact with Atorvastatin. Please inform your doctor if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

When should you not take Atorvastatin?

You should not take Atorvastatin if:

  • It has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.

  • The packaging shows signs of tampering.

Taking excess alcohol increases the risk of side-effects. Thus consult your doctor if you plan to have alcohol. Besides, inform your treating doctor or dentist about Atorvastatin if you are planning for a surgery.

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