Lipitor is highly popular high cholesterol branded medicine developed and marketed by Pfizer pharmaceutical company within the UK. Belonging to statins category of pharmaceutical compounds, Lipitor works by directly interfering with the process of cholesterol production in the liver and as such, it has been design to be used in parallel to cholesterol-lowering diet and exercise. Similarly to many other high cholesterol treatments, this prescription medicine is initially issued in a low dose, most commonly 10mg per day. After a certain period of time has passed, the doctor will review responsiveness to the medicine, increasing the dose if necessary.
What’s on this page?
Do I have high cholesterol?
Unlike most other medical conditions affecting the cardiovascular system, high cholesterol will not produce any immediately noticeable symptoms. Despite this, when left untreated, this condition can lead to numerous serious and even potentially life-threatening complications such as heart attack or a stroke. While there is a general agreement that high cholesterol is at least partly hereditary condition and thus caused by genetic factors, most medical experts agree that hereditary elements of high cholesterol can be viewed more as predispositions for developing the condition and not as a certain sign that it will manifest.
In line with this hypothesis, scientists argue that lifestyle factors play a much more prominent role – in other words, people with genetic predisposition to high cholesterol will not be affected provided that they take certain precautions and make sure to lead healthy life while those without family history of high cholesterol can still develop the condition if they practice certain harmful lifestyle habits such as:
- Unhealthy diet, especially when rich in saturated fats
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Lack of physical activity and exercise
In certain cases, high cholesterol can be brought on by an underlying medical condition such as diabetes. With this in mind, the only reliable way to find out if you might have high cholesterol is to visit a doctor and get tested.
What is cholesterol?
For everybody concerned, or over-concerned, with health and healthy lifestyle practices, cholesterol has become almost a buzzword, directly linked to problems, obesity and cardiovascular issues. However, what will come as a surprise to many is that cholesterol in itself isn’t harmful at all – on the contrary, this compound is actually essential nutrient for the cells and its presence is absolutely a must for formation of healthy cell structure and maintenance of structural integrity of human cells.
While cholesterol can be found in many different types of food, the body mostly relies on cholesterol produced in the liver. There, the lipids get chemically bonded to protein molecules, forming so-called lipoproteins which then travel around the body through the bloodstream in that form before being absorbed by the cells that require them for their functioning.
How does cholesterol causes health problems?
However, if there is an excess of lipoproteins in the system, the fats will be absorbed at a significantly lower rate as compared to their production rate. As a result, they will begin accumulating in the blood vessels, narrowing them and causing obstruction of blood flow and numerous circulation problems.
With blood vessels narrowed, the heart will have to work with more strength as to pump the blood efficiently throughout the body which puts additional stress on the cardiovascular system, eventually leading to problems and complications mentioned above.
Lipitor in high cholesterol treatment
Lipitor is a medicine highly adept at lowering high cholesterol and bringing its level back to normal. The success of this medicine is all thanks to atorvastatin, its active ingredient which works by inhibiting the activity of a specialised liver enzyme tasked with the production of cholesterol. By limiting natural cholesterol output, Lipitor can very efficiently facilitate the return of cholesterol levels to normal, thus also reducing the risk of associated illnesses and complications.1 This mechanism of action places Lipitor next to other medicines belonging to the statins category including Crestor, Fluvastatin, Zocor or Lescol
Lipitor 10mg standard and chewable tablets
The most commonly prescribed initial dose is 10mg. Prior to issuing the medicine, the doctor will ask the patient to start adhering to a carefully planned cholesterol-lowering diet and introduce some light exercise into the daily routine. This lowest dose is available in two forms – a standard tablet and a chewable tablet.
Lipitor 20mg standard and chewable tablets
If the 10mg dose isn’t producing the desired results after four weeks of treatment, the doctor might choose to increase it to 20mg instead. Lipitor 20mg is also available both as a standard tablet and chewable tablet.
The 40mg dose of Lipitor can be obtained only in the standard form and is a next step from 20mg provided that treatment didn’t have any effect on the condition.
As the highest available dose, Lipitor 80mg is available only as a regular tablet and is issued in rare and usually more severe cases where lower doses failed to produce the desired results.
How is Lipitor used?
At this point, we will provide you with some of the most general guidelines regarding Lipitor treatment. However, you should keep in mind that these points aren’t intended to be used as a guide, but just as an illustration that can help you get a clearer picture of what should you expect when using Lipitor. For a more comprehensive guide, please refer to the official patient information leaflet that is issued within every pack of the medicine. And of course, your prescriber will provide you with detailed directions that should be of primary significance.
- Prescriber’s instructions should be followed exactly
- Usual starting dose will be 10mg once a day
- Throughout the treatment, your cholesterol levels will need to be checked
- In case there are no improvements, the dose might be adjusted
- Never exceed the maximum daily dose of 80mg
- Take the tablets whole with water (unless you are using chewable version)
- Never exceed the prescribed amount
- If you miss a dose, do not try to compensate – instead, just continue with the treatment as usual
Are there any Lipitor side effects?
Naturally, not everybody using Lipitor will experience side effects, but it is still important to get familiar with them prior to commencing treatment so you can easily differentiate between those potential problems that might require immediate medical attention and those which are unpleasant, but otherwise harmless.
You should immediately contact your doctor or emergency service if you notice any symptoms indicative of an allergic reaction, any severe skin problems (peeling, blistering or blotches), prolonged muscle weakness or liver problems.
Other documented side effects can be described as follows:
|Frequency of occurrence||Side effects|
|Common (1 in 10 users)||Nasal inflammation, sore throat, nosebleeds, rise in sugar levels, headache, constipation, indigestion, muscular and back pain, abnormal liver function tests|
|Uncommon (1 in 100 users)||Loss of appetite, weight fluctuations, insomnia, decrease in blood sugar levels, altered sensation in extremities, altered sense of taste, memory loss, sight and hearing problems, pancreatitis|
|Rare (1 in 1000 users)||Bleeding or bruising without apparent reason, cholestasis|
|Very rare (1 in 10.000 users)||Allergic reaction to the medicine or gynecomastia|
Please note that this is not a complete list of side effects, but just a brief overview. For a more comprehensive account, please refer to the official patient information leaflet.2