Lipitor is currently the most widely subscribed drug world-wide for reducing cholesterol. As such, if you have high blood pressure, or other heart problems, it is likely that your doctor may consider prescribing Lipitor to reduce your blood cholesterol.
Once my grandmother’s cholesterol reached unacceptable levels and face other heart related issues the doctor immediately put her on Lipitor. My grandmother has been generally pleased with Lipitor and its ability to lower cholesterol. There are, however, some things you should know about the drug if you are currently taking it or your doctor has prescribed Lipitor to lower your cholesterol.
Lipitor’s claims as a cholesterol reducing drug
Pfizer, the makers of Lipitor ( atorvastatin ), claim that the drug can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) by 39% to 60%, lower triglycerides, and raise good cholesterol (HDL) by 5% to 9%. Lipitor is most effective when used in conjunction with a heart healthy diet and exercise.
In addition to its use as a cholesterol reducing drug, Lipitor has become used to treat moderate to severe heart disease, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and diabetes in addition to high cholesterol. Lipitor is also often prescribed following a heart attack or the insertion of a stent in the heart or arteries.
How Lipitor (atorvastatin) works to reduce blood cholesterol
Lipitor, or atorvastatin, is a statin. It works as a cholesterol lowering drug by inhibiting the production of HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme which the body uses to produce cholesterol. When cholesterol production in the liver is reduced, the liver uses more cholesterol from the blood. This results in lower blood cholesterol levels.
Potential Serious Side Effects of Lipitor
Because Lipitor works in the liver, it can affect liver health and function. If you or someone you know is taking Lipitor, the doctor should conduct blood tests on a regular basis to ensure proper liver function.
Lipitor can also cause muscle damage and weakness. The most significant problem this may cause is damage to kidney function. If you notice brown urine, kidney pain, generalized back pain, or abdominal pain you should contact your doctor. The doctor can determine whether your symptoms are related to taking Lipitor.
Patient Reviews of Lipitor
According to iGuard.com, an online healthcare service that helps monitor the safety of prescription drugs, almost 70% of Lipitor users associated with iGuard.com are satisfied with Lipitor. Just over 70% feel good about the effectiveness of the cholesterol lowering medication.
My grandmother has been satisfied by her cholesterol having dropped almost 40%. As she is in her early 80’s, it is sometimes difficult to separate the side-effects of Lipitor from those of other medications or symptoms.
Initially, my grandmother experienced weakness and fatigue when taking Lipitor. She also had a touch of nausea that only lasted two to three days. Once her body had a chance to acclimate to the cholesterol reducing drug those symptoms faded.
The most troubling side-effect of Lipitor for my grandmother is muscle and joint aches, pain, and stiffness. I understand this is reported by about 10% of Lipitor patients. The problem, in my grandmother’s case, is that Lipitor exacerbated aches and pain associated with arthritis.
In the long run, however, the benefits of lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and slightly higher good cholesterol outweigh the additional aches and pains. The side-effects are treated along with the symptoms of arthritis.
There is currently some debate as to whether Lipitor contributes to the development of memory loss. Memory loss and confusion have been reported by some patients taking Lipitor. It is difficult, however, in the case of older patients like my grandmother to determine if Lipitor is the cause of confusion and memory loss, or if this is the symptom of another age related illness.
Other possible side effects of Lipitor
Muscle aches and pains is the most commonly reported side effect of taking Lipitor. This side effect can be minimized by implementing light exercise, like walking, into your lifestyle if it is feasible.
Other side effects reported in patient reviews of the medication include fatigue, increased chance of infection, confusion, constipation, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and gas. Most symptoms go away if the dose of Lipitor is reduced.
Do not make any changes in your medication without consulting your doctor. If you experience these or other side effects of atorvastatin (Lipitor) discuss them with your doctor.
In general, most patients on Lipitor, like my grandmother, find that the benefits of the cholesterol reducing drug outweigh the risks.
Benefits of Lipitor, Lipitor.com
Get Informed: Lipitor, iGuard.org
Grandmother; Personal Experience
How Lipitor Works to Reduce High Cholesterol, Lipitor.com
Lipitor Side Effects, Lipitor.com
Research on Lipitor, Lipitor.com