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Why have I been prescribed LIPITOR?

Your doctor has prescribed you LIPITOR to help lower the level of cholesterol or other fats in your blood (such as triglycerides) and to prevent heart (cardiovascular) diseases such as heart attacks. High levels of cholesterol and other fats in the bloodstream can cause heart disease by clogging the blood vessels that feed blood and oxygen to the heart. For complete information, please refer to your LIPITOR consumer information leaflet (found inside your LIPITOR box).

LIPITOR is just part of the treatment your doctor will plan with you to help keep you healthy. Depending on your health and lifestyle, your doctor may recommend:

  • A change in diet to control weight and reduce cholesterol, reduce intake of saturated fats and increase fiber
  • Exercise that is right for you
  • Quitting smoking or avoiding smoky places
  • Giving up alcohol or drinking less

Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

What is LIPITOR?

LIPITOR belongs to a class of medicines known as "statins," more specifically called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. HMG-CoA reductase is an enzyme involved in regulating cholesterol levels in your body. Statins are used along with changes to exercise and diet to help control the amount of cholesterol your body produces.

LIPITOR can help your body:

  • Decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglyceride levels and other lipids/fats in your blood.
  • Increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Decrease the Total Cholesterol HDL-Cholesterol Ratio (TC:HDL-C Ratio). This ratio represents the balance between bad and good cholesterol.

LIPITOR also reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people with multiple risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. When used by people who have suffered a heart attack in the past, LIPITOR reduces the risk of having another heart attack.

LIPITOR is only available by prescription after seeing a doctor.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a complex, fatty substance (a "lipid") that your body uses to produce many hormones and parts of your cells. Most of the cholesterol in your body is made by your liver.

In order to be used properly by your body, cholesterol particles need to move through the bloodstream. To do this, they attach themselves to lipid-carrying proteins ("lipoproteins").

Two types of lipoproteins are important: low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) and high-density lipoproteins (HDLs). Cholesterol carried by LDLs ("LDL-cholesterol") is called "bad" cholesterol, while cholesterol carried by HDLs ("HDL-cholesterol") is called "good" cholesterol.

What is high cholesterol?

If your doctor tells you that you have high LDL-cholesterol, what he or she is really saying is that you have more cholesterol in your blood than your body needs. The higher your LDL-cholesterol level, the greater your risk of developing heart disease.

What could happen if I didn’t keep my high cholesterol under control?

High levels of cholesterol in the blood are one of the factors that increase your risk of cardiovascular disease (heart or blood vessel disease). This means that high cholesterol increases your chance of having a heart attack.

How does LIPITOR reduce the risk of these conditions?

LIPITOR is designed to reduce your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglyceride levels and other lipids/fats in your blood, and decrease the Total Cholesterol HDL-Cholesterol Ratio (TC:HDL-C Ratio) — the ratio that represents the balance between bad and good cholesterol.

Your doctor has determined that using LIPITOR may be an effective way for you to achieve your target cholesterol levels and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks.

Learn More: Taking this medication >

When and how should I take LIPITOR?

Take LIPITOR as a single dose. It doesn't matter if LIPITOR is taken with or without food, but it should not be taken with grapefruit juice. Your doctor will usually tell you to take it in the evenings.

How much LIPITOR should I take and how often?

We often cannot see or feel the problems that high cholesterol causes until a lot of time has passed. That is why it is important to take these pills just as prescribed.

In adults, the recommended starting dose of LIPITOR is either 10 mg or 20 mg once a day, depending on your required LDL-C reduction. People who need a large reduction in LDL-C (more than 45%) may be started at 40 mg once a day. The dosage range of LIPITOR is 10 mg to 80 mg once daily. The maximum dose is 80 mg/day.

If you have already had a heart attack, the recommended dose of LIPITOR is 10 mg to 80 mg once a day.

Do not change your LIPITOR dose unless directed by a doctor.

What if I accidentally take too much LIPITOR?

If you take too much LIPITOR, even if there are no symptoms, contact a healthcare professional, a hospital emergency department or a regional poison control centre immediately.

What if I forget to take a dose of LIPITOR?

If you miss taking a pill, take it as soon as possible. But if it is almost time for your next daily dose, skip the missed dose and just take the next dose. Don't take a double dose.

What else do I need to know about taking LIPITOR?

If you get sick, have an operation, or need medical treatment, tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are taking LIPITOR.

If you have to take any other medicine – either prescription or non-prescription – while taking LIPITOR, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first.

If you have to see a different doctor for any reason, be sure to inform him/her that you are taking LIPITOR.

LIPITOR was prescribed for you only. Don't give these pills to anyone else.

How should I store LIPITOR?

Like all medicines, LIPITOR should always be kept out of the reach of children.

Keep LIPITOR at room temperature (15-30°C) and away from warm and damp places, such as the bathroom or the kitchen.

Learn More: Safety information >

Is it okay to take other medicines while I am taking LIPITOR?

As with most medicines, interaction with other drugs is possible. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including prescription, non-prescription and natural health products. In particular, these drugs may interact with LIPITOR:

  • corticosteroids (cortisone-like medicines)
  • cyclosporine (e.g. SANDIMMUNE®, NEORAL®)
  • gemfibrozil (e.g. LOPID®)
  • fenofibrate (e.g. LIPIDIL EZ®, LIPIDIL SUPRA®) or bezafibrate (e.g. BEZALIP®)
  • lipid-modifying doses of niacin (nicotinic acid)
  • erythromycin, clarithromycin or azole antifungal agents (ketoconazole or itraconazole)
  • letervomir (e.g. PREVYMIS®)
  • nefazodone
  • indinavir sulfate, nelfinavir mesylate (e.g. VIRACEPT®), ritonavir (e.g. NORVIR®), saquinavir mesylate (e.g. INVIRASE™), lopinavir/ritonavir (e.g. KALETRA®), telaprevir (e.g. INCIVEK™), tipranavir (e.g. APTIVUS®), darunavir (e.g. PREZISTA®), fosamprenavir (e.g. TELZIR®), boceprevir (e.g. VICTRELIS®), elbasvir/grazoprevir (e.g. ZEPATIER®), simeprevir (e.g. GALEXOS®, ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (e.g. HARVONI®), veltapasvir/sofosbuvir (EPCLUSA®)
  • fusidic acid (e.g. FUCIDIN®)
  • digoxin
  • diltiazem
  • efavirenz, rifampin
  • antacids (frequent use) and LIPITOR should be taken 2 hours apart
  • colchicine
  • grapefruit juice - especially if ingesting upwards of 1.2 litres of grapefruit juice at once

Do not take LIPITOR if:

  • You are taking glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (MAVIRETTM)
  • You are taking cyclosporine (e.g., SANDIMMUNE®, NEORAL®)

Does LIPITOR cause any side effects?

Most people do not have any problems with side effects when taking LIPITOR. However, all medicines can cause unwanted side effects. If you notice anything unusual or any unexpected effects while taking LIPITOR, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

What are the most common side effects of LIPITOR?

Check with your doctor or pharmacist promptly if any of the following persist or become troublesome:

  • Constipation/diarrhea/gas
  • Depression (in children)
  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • Stomach pain or upset
  • Vomiting or throwing up

Very rarely, a few people may suffer from jaundice (which may be manifested by yellowing of the skin and eyes) from a liver condition called hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).

Possible side effects reported with some statins:

  • Breathing problems including persistent cough and/or shortness of breath or fever
  • Erectile dysfunction (difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection)
  • Sleep disturbances (difficulty sleeping or staying asleep), including insomnia and nightmares
  • Mood-related disorders including depression
  • Poor memory, confusion and memory loss

LIPITOR can cause abnormal blood test results. Your doctor will decide when to perform blood tests and will interpret the results.

This is not a complete list of side effects. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about any unexpected effects while taking LIPITOR.

How will I know if I am having an allergic reaction to LIPITOR?

Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Tingling sensations
  • Itching, hives or flushed skin
  • Swelling of tissues under the skin
  • Coughing, sneezing and a runny nose
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps or diarrhea

What else should I tell my doctor before taking LIPITOR?

Serious Warnings and Precautions

Tell your doctor if you have any muscle pain, tenderness, soreness or weakness during treatment with LIPITOR.

Before taking LIPITOR, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • Are pregnant or intend to become pregnant
  • Are breast-feeding or intend to breast-feed
  • Have thyroid problems
  • Have had a stroke or a mini-stroke (TIA)
  • Regularly drink three or more alcoholic drinks daily
  • Are taking any other cholesterol-lowering medication such as fibrates (gemfibrozil, fenofibrate), niacin or ezetimibe
  • Have a family history of muscular disorders
  • Had any past muscle problems (pain, tenderness), after using an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor ("statin") such as atorvastatin (LIPITOR), fluvastatin (LESCOL®), lovastatin (MEVACOR®), pravastatin (PRAVACHOL®), rosuvastatin (CRESTOR®) or simvastatin (ZOCOR®) or have developed an allergy or intolerance to them
  • Have kidney or liver problems
  • Have diabetes (as the dosage of LIPITOR may need to be adjusted)
  • Have undergone surgery or other tissue injury
  • Do excessive physical exercise
  • Are taking fusidic acid
  • Are taking hepatitis C virus inhibitors to treat active liver diseases such as telaprevir (e.g. INCIVEK), boceprevir (e.g. VICTRELIS®), elbasvir/grazoprevir (e.g. ZEPATIER®) simeprevir (e.g. GALEXOS®), ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (e.g. HARVONI®). veltapasvir/sofosbuvir (e.g. EPCLUSA®).

Slightly increased blood sugar can occur when you take LIPITOR. Discuss with your doctor your risk of developing diabetes.

LIPITOR may cause muscle pain, aching or weakness that does not go away even after stopping the drug.

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