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Atorvastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as ">statins." It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.

In addition to eating a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking. Consult your doctor for more details.

How to use atorvastatin

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking atorvastatin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of this medication in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

If you also take certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take atorvastatin at least 1 hour before or at least 4 hours after taking these medications. These products can react with atorvastatin, preventing its full absorption.

Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol or triglycerides do not feel sick.

It is very important to continue to follow your doctor's advice about diet and exercise. It may take up to 4 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A very small number of people taking atorvastatin may have mild memory problems or confusion. If these rare effects occur, talk to your doctor.

Rarely, statins may cause or worsen diabetes. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.

This drug may infrequently cause muscle problems (which can rarely lead to very serious conditions called rhabdomyolysis and autoimmune myopathy). Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms during treatment and if these symptoms persist after your doctor stops this drug: muscle pain/tenderness/>weakness (especially with fever or unusual tiredness), change in the amount of urine.

This medication may rarely cause liver problems. If you notice any of the following rare but serious side effects, tell your doctor immediately: yellowing eyes/>skin, dark urine, severe stomach/>abdominal pain, persistent nausea/>vomiting.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/>tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Before taking atorvastatin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease, alcohol use.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Limit alcoholic beverages. Daily use of alcohol may increase your risk for liver problems, especially when combined with atorvastatin. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially muscle problems.

This medication must not be used during pregnancy. Atorvastatin may harm an unborn baby. Therefore, it is important to prevent pregnancy while taking this medication. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) while taking this medication. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.

It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

See also How to Use section.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: gemfibrozil, telaprevir, tipranavir plus ritonavir.

Other medications can affect the removal of atorvastatin from your body, which may affect how atorvastatin works. Examples include colchicine, telithromycin, certain azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole), among others.

Do not take any red yeast rice products while you are taking atorvastatin because some red yeast rice products may also contain a statin called lovastatin. Taking atorvastatin and red yeast rice products together can increase your risk of serious muscle and liver problems.

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