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(NOTE: PharmPsych.com is featuring the first 10 of 200 of the most common prescription medicine brands reflected in Google’s app for Rx drug flash cards. The flash cards and the app were developed as visual aids to instruct medical students on modern drugs. In a series of summaries, we recap the purpose and nature of each drug, its side effects and advice on usage. The series will feature Lipitor, Singulair, Lexapro, Nexium, Synthroid, Plavix, Toprol XL, Prevacid, Vytorin and Advair Diskus.)

Lipitor Targets Bad Cholesterol, Fats;
Causes Muscle, Liver Problems

Lipitor, whose generic name is Atorvastatin Calcium, is meant to be accompanied with a proper diet and exercise to lower bad cholesterol and fats and raise “good” cholesterol in the blood, which reduces the risk of heart disease and helps a potential sufferer avoid strokes and heart attacks.

It is a member of a class of drugs known as “statins”. The drug operates by decreasing the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the liver.

The majority of patients do not experience severe side effects. A few suffer mild memory problems or confusion. Lipitor may also cause muscle problems, which may lead to such illnesses as rhabdomyolysis and autoimmune myopathy, muscle pain/tenderness/weakness, especially in seniors, change in the amount of urine and liver problems. If these effects set in, sufferers are advised to consult their physicians.

Researchers recommend that patients notify their doctors or pharmacists if they are allergic to Lipitor or if they have other allergies. The drug may contain inactive ingredients leading to allergic reactions. They are also asked to inform their doctors about their medical history, especially with respect to liver disease, kidney disease and alcohol use, and the current prescriptions they have.

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Last updated September 2014