Answers to Your Questions About Atorvastatin

Atorvastatin is the generic name for the prescription drug Lipitor. Your health care provider may prescribe this medication if you have high cholesterol. It typically comes in a 40 mg tablet taken once a day.

What Does Atorvastatin Do?

High levels of blood cholesterol increase the risk for stroke and heart attack. Atorvastatin helps prevent these incidents if you have high cholesterol. It belongs to a category of drugs known as statins, which block enzymes the body uses to make cholesterol. Less of this enzyme means lower cholesterol production, in turn lowering the likelihood of dangerous blood clots that can cause cardiac emergencies.

What Are the Side Effects of Atorvastatin?

Some people who take this medication may experience sleep disturbances, stomach issues or joint or muscle pain. Talk to your doctor right away if you have severe muscle pain, which can indicate that you need a lower dose of the drug.

Does Medicare Cover Atorvastatin?

Your plan typically covers atorvastatin if you have Medicare Part D or Advantage. The formulary for your plan lists the covered drugs and details the cost-sharing for these medications. Atorvastatin is not an expensive drug and the copay on this prescription is typically very small.

Why Is Atorvastatin Taken at Night?

Your health care provider may tell you to take this medication before you go to bed. The enzyme that creates cholesterol tends to be more active at night than during the daytime, so medications to treat high cholesterol work better at this time. 

What Should You Avoid Taking With Atorvastatin?

You should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit while taking this statin. Doing so can increase the amount of the drug in your bloodstream, leading to health concerns.

Prescriptions that may negatively react with atorvastatin include ritonavir, telithromycin, cyclosporin, gemfibrozil and daptomycin. Follow your doctor's directions carefully if you also take other drugs to control your cholesterol. You should also tell your doctor about all other prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and supplements that you take.

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