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Common Brand Names: Lipitor, Atorvaliq

Drug Information

Medically reviewed by Jessica Swirble, PharmD
Last updated on March 16, 2024

Drug Information | Side Effects | Use & Dosage | Request a Prescription

Quick facts
  • Brand Name: Lipitor, Atorvaliq
  • Generic Name: Atorvastatin
  • Uses: Lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events
  • Drug Class: Statin
  • Availability: Prescription only
  • Generic Status: Yes
  • Controlled Substance: No

What is atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is a statin medication used to treat high cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart-related complications such as heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease.

What conditions does atorvastatin treat?

Lowering cholesterol: Atorvastatin helps reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL). This helps lower the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

Prevention of heart problems: By lowering cholesterol levels, atorvastatin helps prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease.

How does atorvastatin work?

Atorvastatin belongs to a class of medications known as statins. These drugs work by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver that plays a key role in the production of cholesterol. By blocking this enzyme, atorvastatin reduces the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver and increases the liver's ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.

Cholesterol and fats can accumulate in the arteries and harden into plaque. Over time, plaque can increase blood pressure and raise the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. By lowering levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, atorvastatin helps prevent these potentially fatal cardiovascular problems.

Note that atorvastatin is prescribed in conjunction with lifestyle interventions such as a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

How do I take atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is typically taken orally, with or without food, as directed by your healthcare provider. The dosage and frequency of atorvastatin will depend on your cholesterol levels, medical history, and response to treatment. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions carefully.

How long until I feel better?

The effects of atorvastatin on cholesterol levels may be noticeable within a few weeks of starting treatment. However, it's important to continue taking atorvastatin as prescribed, even if you don't notice immediate changes. Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels is necessary to assess the effectiveness of the medication.

Are there other uses for atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin may also be prescribed off-label for conditions such as familial hypercholesterolemia (an inherited condition causing high cholesterol) and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in individuals with diabetes or other risk factors. Discuss alternate uses of atorvastatin with your healthcare provider.

Dosage forms of atorvastatin

Atorvastatin is available as an oral tablet or as a liquid suspension.

Atorvastatin oral tablets are available under the brand name, Lipitor, as well as in generic forms. Atorvastatin liquid suspension is available under the brand name Atorvaliq. There are no generic versions of Atorvaliq available.

Atorvastatin is available only via prescription. You must have a written prescription from a licensed healthcare provider to obtain this medication.