Generic name: Atorvastatin.

Lipitor is an antihyperlipidemic or lipid-lowering medication. It works by inhibiting the natural production of the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme, which manufactures cholesterol in the body. 

Quick Facts About Lipitor


Used to lower cholesterol levels in people with high blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL; “bad” cholesterol) while raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL; “good” cholesterol). Also used to slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), reduce fatal risks in people with heart disease, and treat blood lipid or lipid problems that accompany diabetes and kidney disease. Prescribed when diet alone does not sufficiently lower cholesterol levels.

Lipitor Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed, at bedtime. To get full benefit of Lipitor, adhere to diet and exercise program.

  • Usual adult dose: 10 to 40 milligrams once per day, taken at bedtime. Seniors — 10 to 20 milligrams once per day, at bedtime.
  • Usual child dose: not prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses. Do not increase dose or stop treatment without consulting your doctor.

Lipitor Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

no reported cases with accompanying side effects; however, if you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: headache, muscle ache. Lipitor side effects are usually mild and last for a short period of time, if they appear.

Less common Lipitor side effects: allergy, gas, infection, itching, rash, upset stomach.


Inform your doctor before combining Lipitor with:

beta-blockers such as propranolol (Inderal); blood thinners such as Coumadin; cyclosporine (Sandimmune) and other immunosuppressive medications; digitalis glycosides such as digoxin (Lanoxin); erythromycin (E.E.S. or PCE); gemfibrozil (Lopid); itraconazole (Sporanox); nicotine acid or niacin (Nicobid); oral contraceptives. Take Lipitor either 1 hour before or 4 hours after other antihyperlipidemics such as cholestyramine (Prevalite and Questran).

Take Lipitor 1 hour apart from antacids. 

Special Cautions

Do not take if pregnant or planning to become pregnant; may cause damage to fetus or nursing infant. If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, temporarily stop Lipitor therapy and inform your doctor immediately. May appear in breast milk; could affect a nursing infant.

Seniors are prescribed doses in the lower ranges.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • Do not take if being treated for acute muscle disease or liver disease, or if you are at risk for developing kidney failure. Use with caution if you have past history of liver disease or consume large amounts of alcohol.
  • If sensitive to or allergic to this or other antihyper-lipidemic medications, should not take.
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of blurred vision, muscle aches or pain, tenderness, or weakness with fever or general bodily discomfort, especially during the starting months of therapy and whenever dose is increased.
  • To get full benefit of Lipitor, must adhere to doctor’s low-fat diet and exercise program.
  • May cause unusual sensitivity to sun. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing (e.g., a hat) while exposed to sun.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Lipitor side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.