What is ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM?
(ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM) 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 should I use ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM?
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 as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. The tablet form may be taken with or without food. The suspension form should be taken on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. 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). If you are using the suspension form of this medication, shake the bottle well before each dose. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask 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. Keep 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.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM?
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. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. 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.
What may interact with ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM?
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: daptomycin, gemfibrozil. Other medications can affect the removal of atorvastatin from your body, which may affect how atorvastatin works. Examples include glecaprevir plus pibrentasvir, telithromycin, ritonavir, 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.
What if I miss a dose of ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is more than 12 hours after the time you usually take the dose. In that case, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
What side effects may I notice from receiving ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM?
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor 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 rarely 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 last after your doctor stops this drug: muscle pain/tenderness/weakness (especially with fever or unusual tiredness), signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). This medication may rarely cause liver problems. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver problems, including: nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, stomach/abdominal pain. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away 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 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Where should I keep ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM?
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Store the suspension form in the original container. Discard the suspension form 60 days after opening the bottle, even if there is medication left. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.