December 4, 2023

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Lipitor.

Does Lipitor cause weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, memory loss, ED, tiredness, or headaches?

No, none of these were reported as side effects in studies of Lipitor.

Keep in mind that Lipitor is prescribed along with a balanced diet. Some people may experience weight loss while taking Lipitor if they make certain changes to their diet.

Other statins used to treat high cholesterol may cause diabetes or memory problems. These side effects weren’t reported in studies of Lipitor. But high blood sugar levels have been reported as a side effect of Lipitor since the drug became available on the market. (Diabetes is a disease that causes high blood sugar.)

Because Lipitor treats high cholesterol, it may actually help reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED). See this article to learn more about the link between ED and high cholesterol.

Certain side effects of Lipitor, such as infection or liver problems, may cause tiredness. But tiredness isn’t a direct side effect of the drug.

Headache isn’t a side effect of Lipitor, but it could be a symptom of other conditions, such as high blood pressure.

If you have concerns about experiencing any of these side effects during your Lipitor treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Lipitor a blood thinner or a beta-blocker? And does it lower blood pressure?

No, Lipitor is not a blood thinner or a beta-blocker. Lipitor belongs to a group of medications known as statins. Statins help lower cholesterol levels in your body.

Beta-blockers help manage high blood pressure, and blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Some people taking Lipitor may also need to take beta-blockers or blood thinners, depending on their other health conditions.

If you take other medications and are interested in taking Lipitor, talk with your doctor to make sure the drugs are safe to take together.

Is Lipitor considered a safe medication? Why might some people think it’s bad for you?

Yes, Lipitor is considered a safe drug for most people. It’s been used to treat certain conditions for more than 20 years and has been studied in adults and children.

Lipitor may cause certain side effects, which could make some people think taking the drug is too risky. But the most common side effects reported in studies were mild. Examples of these side effects include diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, and upper respiratory infection.

Some serious side effects may occur with Lipitor, but they’re not common. For example, in rare cases, Lipitor may cause severe muscle pain. (To learn more about possible side effects, see “What are Lipitor’s side effects?” above.)

If you have questions about whether Lipitor is safe for you to take, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Will Lipitor cause different side effects in men vs. women?

In studies, no differences in side effects were reported among males* and females* taking Lipitor.

But certain side effects of Lipitor are specific to females who can become pregnant. These are related to taking Lipitor during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. To learn more, see “Pregnancy and breastfeeding” under the “What should be considered before taking Lipitor?” section below.

* In this article, we use the terms “males” and “females” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

How does Lipitor work? What’s its half-life, and how long does it stay in your system?

Lipitor belongs to a group of medications called statins. These drugs reduce the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in your body. LDL cholesterol is also known as “bad” cholesterol, and too much of it in your body can lead to serious health problems.

Statins reduce LDL cholesterol by suppressing a certain enzyme in the liver that’s responsible for LDL production. This helps prevent heart problems, such as coronary heart disease, chest pain, stroke, and heart attack.

Lipitor stays in your system for about 3 days. This is based on Lipitor’s half-life, which is around 14 hours. The half-life of a drug is the average amount of time that it takes for the body to eliminate half of the initial dose from the system. It takes about five half-lives for a drug to leave your body completely.

What should I know about Lipitor’s alternative drug Livalo?

Lipitor and Livalo are both statins, which help lower cholesterol levels in your body.

Lipitor contains the active ingredient atorvastatin, while Livalo contains pitavastatin. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) To learn more about Livalo, check out this article. You can ask your doctor if one of these drugs may be right for you.

Will I have side effects after stopping Lipitor?

Ending your Lipitor treatment should not cause any side effects. But if you stop taking Lipitor and do not replace it with a different treatment, your cholesterol may increase again. This could lead to serious heart problems.

If you’d like to stop taking Lipitor, talk with your doctor. They can determine if you should stop taking Lipitor and if you need to start taking a new drug in its place. You should not stop taking Lipitor unless your doctor recommends it.


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