What You Should Know
Atorvastatin is a patented drug, commonly sold under the trade name Lipitor, used for lowering blood cholesterol. Atorvastatin does this by inhibiting an enzyme in the hepatic tissue that produces a molecule used in the production of cholesterol. Atorvastatin lowers the levels of LDL’s (bad cholesterol) and raises the levels of HDL’s (good cholesterols). Some studies have also shown the drug to be effective at preventing heart attacks and angina. Atorvastatin has been patented since 1985 and now represents the largest selling drug in the world.
In most cases of high cholesterol levels, physicians will recommend changes in diet, exercise programs and weight reduction to lower levels before prescribing a drug like Lipitor. Specifically, patients are often put on a low-fat diet (especially a low-saturated fat diet). If the blood cholesterol level is extremely elevated, the patient will most likely be on a weight loss regimen at the same time as taking Atorvastatin.
Atorvastatin is an FDA-approved drug and therefore has undergone substantial clinical trials which support the drug’s effectiveness at lowering cholesterol levels. Atorvastatin does have some potential side effects including gas and bloating, diarrhea, headaches, and dizziness. For those patients who are also starting on a new weight loss regimen, these symptoms can also be caused by the new dietary guidelines. It may therefore be difficult to ascertain which regimen is causing the problem. Physicians will frequently stop one or the other to pinpoint the problem before making adjustments in either the drug dosage or the diet plan.
- Clinically proven to be effective at reducing blood cholesterol levels.
- Often prescribed in conjunction with better eating habits.
- Few serious potential side effects.
- Does not correct a weight problem on its own.
Atorvastatin is a common and effective treatment for high cholesterol levels that cannot be managed by diet alone. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke and not every patient can bring the levels down by diet and exercise alone. The side benefits of Atorvastatin are that the drug is frequently prescribed along with other healthier lifestyle changes, like reducing saturated fats in the diet, and exercising more frequently. All of these treatments together will most likely improve the overall health of the patient.