Man with Chest PainsLipitor is the brand name of a drug known as atorvastatin, which is often used to lower cholesterol levels and reduce other factors for heart disease. Lipitor belongs to a family of drugs known as statins, according to the Mayo Clinic, which include a number of other name-brand and generic medications.

Although Lipitor may be helpful for lowering cholesterol, changes in your habits and lifestyle still remain the overall most effective way to ensure a healthy cholesterol level for the long term. Lipitor can be safe for adults as well as children over the age of 10, according to Drugs.com, provided you are not allergic to atorvastatin and are aware of the potential risks and side effects.

What would make me a good candidate for Lipitor?

Having high cholesterol is one factor that could make you a possible candidate for Lipitor, but there are also a number of others. Doctors often look at the overall picture, assessing how many risk factors you have for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack.

These risk factors include being in poor overall health, engaging in a largely sedentary lifestyle, and having a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol levels. Additional factors are high blood pressure, being obese or overweight, and suffering from peripheral artery disease, which is a narrowing of the arteries in your legs, arms, or neck. Having diabetes and smoking are other factors that may make you a prime candidate for the drug.

What factors would make me a bad candidate for Lipitor?

Just as certain factors would make you a good candidate for the drug, others would rule you out. You should definitely steer clear of Lipitor if you have liver disease, are breastfeeding, or are pregnant.

Other conditions that don’t mesh well with Lipitor include muscle weakness and pain, a background that includes kidney or liver disease, or having a thyroid disorder. Your doctor may also advise against Lipitor if you imbibe in more than two alcoholic drinks per day.

You should also alert your physician to other medications you may be taking, as Lipitor can react dangerously or detrimentally with a host of other drugs. These include certain over-the-counter and prescription drugs as well as some vitamins and herbs.

What types of doses are available?

Lipitor comes in a variety of dosage levels, ranging from 5 to 80 milligrams. Your doctor will decide on the dose that can suit you best, based on your existing cholesterol levels. If you have a significantly high level of cholesterol and need to lower it by more than half, your doctor may prescribe a fairly high dose of Lipitor.

If you happen to miss a dose of Lipitor, your next action depends on how soon your next dose is supposed to be. If your next dose is more than 12 hours away, it’s generally okay to take the missed dose as soon as you remember you missed it.

If your next dose is fewer than 12 hours in the future, waiting until your next dose is typically recommended since it is possible to overdose on the drug. If you fear you may have overdosed, contacting the Poison Help line or seeking medical treatment is the safest route to take.

What are Lipitor’s possible side effects?

Lipitor may produce a range of side effects, some of which may subside as your body becomes accustomed to the medication. Others may persist, in which case you’d want to talk to your doctor about continuing Lipitor’s use.

Some of the more common side effects include aching joints and muscles, diarrhea, constipation, or nausea. More serious side effects can include liver damage and muscle soreness, tenderness, and other issues. The drug may also increase your blood sugar levels, putting you at risk for diabetes.

Several neurological side effects may be linked to Lipitor, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and memory loss. Consulting with your doctor before you stop Lipitor is a wise decision, as is seeking his or her immediate help if other side effects occur.

What lifestyle changes can help my cholesterol level?

Even if you’re taking Lipitor, you may want to incorporate a number of lifestyle changes that can work with the drug to reduce your cholesterol levels and overall risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your cholesterol, as can quitting smoking. Sticking with a healthy eating plan can also help your heart health, with a focus on foods that are naturally low in cholesterol, salt, and fat.

Regular exercise plays a major role not only in lowering cholesterol, but improving your overall health. The recommended exercise dose is at least 30 minutes of moderate activity per day.

Another key to overall good health is learning how to most effectively manage stress. In addition to regular exercise, getting adequate sleep and engaging in relaxing rituals, such as regular meditation or breathing exercises, can also go a long way to keeping excessive stress at bay.