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The text below is about the active substance atorvastatin.

what is atorvastatin?

  • Atorvastatin lowers cholesterol and other fats in your blood. It also ensures less blockage of your veins.
  • With too high cholesterol and with cardiovascular diseases .
  • Take atorvastatin every day. Then you have less chance of a heart attack ( myocardial infarction ) or stroke . Take atorvastatin at a set time so you don’t forget it.
  • In the beginning you can suffer from complaints in the stomach or intestines. You may also get a headache, feel dizzy, become tired or have trouble falling asleep. These complaints disappear after a few days.
  • You can also get muscle pain. This is usually not serious. Do you get severe muscle pain? Then see your doctor.
  • Grapefruit (juice) increases the risk of side effects. Read in the brochure how much grapefruit (juice) you can safely use.
  • This drug has many interactions with other agents. Therefore, have your pharmacist check that it is safe for you to take atorvastatin with your other medications. Also medicines you bought without a prescription.
  • Do not use if you are pregnant.

what does atorvastatin do and what is atorvastatin used for ?

Atorvastatin belongs to the cholesterol synthesis inhibitors. They are also called statins . They inhibit the production of cholesterol in the liver and lower cholesterol and fat levels in the blood.

Doctors prescribe atorvastatin for high cholesterol or a combination of too much cholesterol and too much fat in the blood. Doctors also prescribe it for people who have an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, such as angina pectoris or diabetes mellitus.

Cholesterol and / or fat levels too high


  • Cholesterol is a fatty substance that the body uses to make cells, hormones and bile. Cholesterol is needed to process fat and transport it through our body. Fats (triglycerides) are important for the energy supply and the construction of cells.
  • The liver makes cholesterol, but it is also absorbed through food. Too much cholesterol, along with the fats, can start to deposit on the lining of the blood vessels. This is especially the case with a certain type of cholesterol, namely LDL cholesterol. This can constrict or block the vessels.
  • This is called arteriosclerosis (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack or a stroke (cerebral infarction or cerebral haemorrhage).


  • Too high a cholesterol or fat level in our blood can arise if our body produces too much or because we eat too fat, or both. There is also a hereditary form of high cholesterol, which mainly occurs in certain families.


  • If your cholesterol or blood fats are elevated, your doctor will estimate your risk of cardiovascular disease. Smoking, age, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes (diabetes) are other factors that are included in this risk assessment.
  • If the risk is high, your doctor will prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medicine such as simvastatin or pravastatin. If these drugs are not working enough or if your cholesterol is very high, your doctor may prescribe atorvastatin. In addition, your doctor will advise you on a healthy diet, smoking cessation and getting plenty of exercise.


  • Atorvastatin lowers cholesterol and therefore also the fat content in the blood. People who have lowered their high cholesterol levels with this drug have been found to develop fewer cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks or strokes.


  • After two to four weeks, the full effect of this medicine is achieved. You will not notice much of the effect of this medicine yourself. You will not know if it works until a blood test. Nevertheless, it is important to take atorvastatin every day. Only then can atorvastatin lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

what are the most common side effects of atorvastatin?

In addition to the desired effect, this drug can cause side effects.

The main side effects are the following.

Rare (affects 1 to 10 in 100 people)

  • Muscle pain , joint pain , muscle weakness, muscle cramps and muscle tearing . Usually this is harmless , but very rarely can indicate a serious side effect on the muscles. The signs of this serious side effect are muscle pain, muscle weakness, feeling generally ill, fever, nausea and vomiting. The muscle pain is usually in the calves or lower back, but can also hurt the whole body. If you have unexplained muscle pain, talk to your doctor. If this muscle pain is due to the drug, the doctor may possibly adjust the dosagelower or prescribe a different medication. If you experience severe symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Gastrointestinal complaints , such as stomach pain, constipation , flatulence, nausea, heartburn or diarrhea. These side effects occur mainly at the beginning of the treatment. It usually helps if you take the medicine with some food. Does it continue to bother you after a few days? Then contact your doctor.
  • Headache. This side effect usually passes once your body gets used to the drug. Does it continue to bother you after a few days? Then contact your doctor.
  • Ear and eusklachten, such as sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, nose and nasal dryness.
  • Blood glucose level too high . The signs of high blood sugar are frequent urination, heavy drinking, thirst, dry tongue, tiredness and sleepiness.

Very rare (affects less than 1 in 100 people)

  • Ringing in the ears and deafness . Contact your doctor in case of ringing in the ears or impaired hearing.
  • Blurred or double vision. If you notice these side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Numbness or tingling in the limbs. If you notice these side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Taste changes. Contact your doctor at the first symptoms.
  • Sexual disturbances , such as less sex drive and difficult erection. These side effects pass when you stop taking the drug. Contact your doctor if you are affected.
  • Psychological complaints, such as anxiety, nightmares or depression . If you notice these side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. These side effects usually disappear when you stop taking atorvastatin.
  • Breast formation (in men). This will disappear when you stop using it.
  • Inflammation of the liver or pancreas . You may notice this by sudden severe pain in the upper abdomen, tender, swollen abdomen, dark urine or yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes. If you notice these side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Blood disorders . Tell your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms: unexplained bruising, spot bleeding in the skin, or nosebleeds.
  • Rash , itching and hair loss . These side effects will disappear when you stop taking this medicine. If this is a problem for you, talk to your doctor.
  • Low level of blood glucose . The characteristics of low blood glucose are: hunger, paleness, shaking and sweating, mood swings, fatigue, dizziness and headache.
  • Weight gain.
  • Chest pain or back pain . Consult your doctor if this is a problem for you.
  • Dizziness, tiredness, insomnia, or a feeling of weakness. These side effects occur mainly at the beginning of the treatment. Does it continue to bother you after a few days? Then contact your doctor.
  • Hypersensitivity to this drug. You may notice this as a rash, hives, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat or tightness . You may also have a serious skin reaction with blisters or peeling skin. With all these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor or go to the emergency room. You should not use this medicine in the future. Therefore, inform the pharmacy team that you are hypersensitive to atorvastatin. They can then make sure that you do not receive this medicine and similar medicines again.

Consult your doctor if you experience too much of any of the above side effects or if you experience any other side effects that worry you.

How do I take this medicine?

Look for the correct dosage on the label of the pharmacy.


  • Regular tablets : take whole with half a glass of water.
  • Chewable : chew or really take a glass of water.

You may the drug take up at any time of the day. It is best to choose a fixed time , so that you will forget a dose less quickly .

How long?
If this drug lowers your cholesterol levels enough, you will likely need to take this drug for a lifetime. Only if you use this drug every day will it lower your risk of cardiovascular disease .

What if I miss a dose?

It is important to take this medicine consistently. If you do miss a dose :

You are taking atorvastatin once a day : does it take more than 8 hours before you normally take the next tablet? Then take the forgotten tablet. Does it take less than 8 hours? Skip the forgotten tablet then.

Can I drive a car, drink alcohol, and eat or drink anything with this medicine?

driving a car?
There are no restrictions for this with this medication.

drinking alcohol?
Too much alcohol is not good for the liver. Atorvastatin can rarely cause liver abnormalities. Do not drink alcohol or at most 1 glass a day and do not drink at least 2 days a week.

eat everything?

You should not eat too much grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice with this medication. Then the chance of side effects is greater.

Advice: no more than 2 days a week of grapefruit (juice) with at least 3 days in between.

  • Would you like to drink grapefruit juice? Don’t drink a glass of grapefruit juice more than 2 days a week. And every time you drink grapefruit juice, wait at least 3 days to drink grapefruit juice again.
  • Do you want to eat grapefruit? Don’t eat 1 or 2 grapefruits more than 2 days a week. And after each time you eat grapefruit, wait at least 3 days until you eat grapefruit again.
    So, if you eat grapefruit on Monday, wait until Thursday to eat grapefruit again.

Can I use atorvastatin with other medicines?

This drug interacts with other drugs. The text below only lists the active ingredients of these drugs, not the brand names. You can check whether your medicine contains one of these active ingredients in your package leaflet under the heading ‘composition’.

The drugs with which the main interactions occur are the following.

  • Some medicines against HIV and hepatitis C . Ask your pharmacist which medicines this concerns.
    Some cancer drugs . Ask your pharmacist which medicines this concerns. The effects or side effects of these drugs may change. Discuss this with your doctor.

The following medicines can decrease the effect of atorvastatin :

  • The anti- seizure drugs carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin and primidone.
  • Rifabutin and rifampicin , medicines used for tuberculosis, among others.
  • St. John’s wort (hypericum), a herbal remedy for depressive symptoms. Consult with your doctor.

The following medications may side effects of atorvastatin strengthen . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have unexplained severe muscle pain, muscle weakness, decreased urination and dark, brown urine . If you are prescribed any of these medications, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different cholesterol reducer or lower the dose of atorvastatin.

  • Erythromycin, clarithromycin and fusidic acid, antibiotics .
  • Some cardiovascular drugs , namely amiodarone, diltiazem and verapamil.
  • Gemfibrozil , another cholesterol and fat-lowering drug. Sometimes this combination is deliberately prescribed. Your doctor will then check your blood beforehand.
  • Fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole and voriconazole, antischimmelmedicijnen .
  • Ciclosporin , an immunosuppressant drug.
  • Colchicine , a gout medicine .

Not sure if any of the above interactions are of interest to you? Please contact your pharmacist or doctor.

Can I use this medicine if I am pregnant, planning to become or breastfeeding?


  • Consult your doctor. You should NOT use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon. Not many pregnant women have used this drug. Therefore, it is not certain whether this drug is safe for the development of the child.
  • Are you already taking this drug and are you pregnant or planning to become pregnant? Then talk to your doctor. You may be able to stop taking this drug temporarily. In most cases, stopping temporarily does not have major consequences for your health.


  • You should NOT use this medicine if you are breast-feeding. It is not known if it passes into breast milk or if it harms the baby. You may be able to stop taking this drug temporarily. In most cases, stopping temporarily does not have major consequences for your health. Discuss this with your doctor.

Can I use this medicine if my kidney or liver function is less?


  • Are your kidneys working less well or are you on dialysis? You may use this medication as prescribed by your doctor.


  • Do you have cirrhosis of the liver? Consult with your doctor. You should NOT use this medication. Cirrhosis of the liver increases the amount of this drug in your blood. This allows this drug to cause more side effects. You may be able to switch to a different medication.

Can I just stop taking this medicine?

You can stop taking this drug at any time at once. Your cholesterol will then rise again and your risk of cardiovascular disease will also increase again. Therefore, only stop in consultation with your doctor.

Under what names is atorvastatin available?

The active substance atorvastatin is in the following products:
  • Lipitor.
  •  Atorvastatine .
  • AtoZ

Do I need a prescription?

  • Atorvastatin has been marketed internationally since 1997. It is available by prescription under the brand name Lipitor and as the unbranded Atorvastatin in tablets and chewable tablets.
  • Atorvastatin is also used in tablets in combination with ezetimib under the brand name Atozet.

What drugs have atorvastatin in them?