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Atorvastatin To Improve Cholesterol Levels

Hypertension 1

Atorvastatin is a prescription statin. It is used to improve cholesterol levels in people with different types of cholesterol problems. It reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death especially if you have high blood pressure, and diabetes. Atorvastatin is one of the potent cholesterol-lowering statin medications available in the market. It’s a common first-choice medication for those with diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart diseases.

It’s used together with diet, exercise and weight loss to reduce the risk of stroke, and heart attack. It also decreases the chances of having a heart surgery among those who have heart disease and who are at risk of developing heart diseases. It’s available as a generic drug and can be used in combination with other cholesterol-lowering drugs.

What condition does Atorvastatin treat?

Atorvastatin is used for:

  • Lowering the levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein or LDL, triglycerides, and apolipoprotein B in the blood.
  • Increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol in the blood.
  • Decreasing the amount of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood of children 10 to 17 years of age with familial hypercholesterolemia, mixed hyperlipidemia, or primary hypercholesterolemia.
  • Prevention of cardiovascular events like heart attack, angina pectoris, stroke, or needing heart bypass in people who are at risk of heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

How does Atorvastatin work?

  • Atorvastatin is a type of statin medications. Statins are drugs that lower the cholesterol level in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol in the liver.
  • Cholesterol is divided into two types, the “bad cholesterol” or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and a “good cholesterol” called high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is deposited in the arteries which increases the risk of heart diseases by narrowing and clogging the arteries. On the other hand, the HDL prevents the arteries from narrowing and clogging.
  • This drug prevents the production of bad cholesterol in the liver by blocking the enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. This enzyme is responsible for the production of cholesterol that causes buildup on the walls of the arteries and blocks the flow of blood to the brain, heart, and other parts of the body.
  • Accumulation of fats and cholesterol in the walls of the arteries known as atherosclerosis decreases the oxygen supply to the brain, heart, and other parts of the body causing stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
  • It also causes a small decrease in the production of triglycerides and a small increase in HDL cholesterol.
  • As a statin, this drug also has an important role in the prevention of stroke and coronary heart diseases because it prevents excess cholesterol from being deposited in the major blood vessels of the brain and heart. It slows down the hardening of the arteries regardless of the initial cholesterol levels.

What is the dosage of Atorvastatin?

  • Prevention of cardiovascular diseases: Take 10mg to 20mg as a starting dose. Take 10mg to 80mg for a maintenance dose.
  • Cholesterol problems: The typical starting dose for an adult is 10 to 20mg a day while the maintenance dose is 10 to 80 mg a day. Adults who need
    more than a 45% reduction in LDL cholesterol should take 40 mg daily.

The initial dose for children is 10mg a day while the maximum dose is 20mg a day.

How to take Atorvastatin?

Your dose and the duration of treatment depend on your cholesterol level, your other medications, and the strength of the medicine.  It is important that you follow the instructions given by your doctor.

Take Atorvastatin once a day with or without food. You can take it at any time of the day. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. You may need to take this medicine every day on a long-term basis. If you stop taking your medication, your body will start to make cholesterol again and your cholesterol level may start to rise.

What are the precautions in taking Atorvastatin?

  • Use atorvastatin only when lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and low-fat diet have not reduced cholesterol levels.
  • Statins like this drug can cause:
    • Digestive problems
    • Muscle aches and stiffness
    • Muscle injury
    • Kidney and liver damage
    • Blood sugar problems
  • Atorvastatin is highly effective in lowering cholesterol yet it’s not well-tolerated compared with other statins due to its adverse reaction such as muscle pain or damage.
  • Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication because grapefruit juice can affect the metabolism of this drug and could increase the amount of medicine in your blood.
  • Avoid drinking excessive alcoholic beverages as this can increase the risk of liver problems or side effects on the muscle.
  • Do not tale Atorvastatin if you have an active kidney or liver disease, pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Lower dose and extra monitoring are needed if you have:
    • A history of liver problems
    • Kidney problems
    • A family history of hereditary muscle disorders
    • Had a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain
    • At risk of developing diabetes due to obesity
    • A large amount of alcohol in the body
    • Underactive thyroid gland
    • Children under 10 years of age
  • Pregnant women must not use this medicine as it can harm the developing baby. If you think you could get pregnant while under medication, use an effective method of contraception to prevent pregnancy. Do not breastfeed while you are taking this medication.
  • Atorvastatin may interact with other medications. To prevent this from happening, inform your doctor if you are taking any other medication including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products.

Costs of Generic Atorvastatin vs. Lipitor

Atorvastatin is an inexpensive drug used to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.  Atorvastatin is cheaper than the brand name Lipitor. Atorvastatin 10mg cost $0.33 per unit price or $30 for 90 tabs. While the brand name Lipitor costs $345.90 for 90 tabs or $3.84 per unit price.

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