Atorvastatin is an important medication that is prescribed to protect you against some serious health risks. Staying on top of your treatment is important to get the most health benefits possible.
If you've started atorvastatin treatment, you've been using your treatment for 3 months, and you're happy with it, you can reorder with Zava. Fill in a short online assessment and your Zava Doctor will check if your treatment is still right for you. If it is, you can have your treatment shipped to you, or you can pick up from a local post office if that's easier.
3 x 28 tablet(s) / 10 mg - £19.99
3 x 28 tablet(s) / 20 mg - £19.99
3 x 28 tablet(s) / 40 mg - £19.99
3 x 28 tablet(s) / 80 mg - £19.99
6 x 28 tablet(s) / 20 mg - £24.99
6 x 28 tablet(s) / 10 mg - £24.99
6 x 28 tablet(s) / 80 mg - £24.99
6 x 28 tablet(s) / 40 mg - £24.99
Side effects of atorvastatin
Common side effects include:
- feeling sick (nausea)
- back pain
- joint pain or swelling
- nose bleeds
- sore throat
- cold-like symptoms, such as a runny or blocked nose and sneezing
- constipation, wind, or diarrhoea
- high blood sugar
How to manage some atorvastatin side effects
- Avoiding side effects – taking atorvastatin the same time of day will help keep constant levels of it in your body and can reduce the risk of common side effects
- Dealing with nausea or indigestion – It may help to have simple meals which are not spicy or rich. It may help to take atorvastatin after a meal or a light snack
- Handling headaches – It may help to take a simple painkiller recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. Also, keep yourself well rehydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and don’t drink too much alcohol
- Managing diarrhoea or constipation – It can help to drink plenty of water or fluids and to increase fibre rich foods in your diet for treating constipation. It may also help to take oral rehydration sachets available from your local pharmacy to help with diarrhoea
Treatment alternatives to atorvastatin
- Simvastatin (Zocor®)
- Pravastatin (Lipostat®)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor®)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol®)
Atorvastatin is a drug which belongs to the class called statins – a group of medicines prescribed to lower the cholesterol level in your blood. It’s used when lifestyle changes such as introducing a healthy diet, exercising regularly and weight loss do not result in a sufficient reduction of your cholesterol level.
How does atorvastatin work? – it’s a drug that inhibits a particular enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol in your liver. Atorvastatin also increases the number of LDL-receptors, which process excess cholesterol.
What is atorvastatin used to treat? – it’s prescribed to lower cholesterol. Atorvastatin is also used to prevent heart disease, heart attacks and stroke which can all be related to high cholesterol. It can be given as a stand alone treatment or in combination with other medicines to prevent and treat heart disease. It’s also prescribed for people who have hereditary high cholesterol, which is an inherited disorder caused by a genetic fault.
Where did atorvastatin come from? – atorvastatin was first made in the mid 1980’s in America and since then has become largely popular around the world. Statins are one of the largest selling class of medicines currently taken by patients throughout the world. Atorvastatin is also known by the brand name, Lipitor®.
Yes you can reorder atorvastatin through our online service at Zava – our certified online doctors provide fast and convenient repeat prescriptions. Our service is for patients who have been taking atorvastatin for at least three months.
How to order – to order your tablets, you need to fill in a brief medical questionnaire. Once your order has been approved by one of our doctors, we will dispense and post your medication. Delivery is free.
Why order online? – our service offers the advantages of being quick and easy to use. It can also work out cheaper and we have different delivery options to suit you. Our service also includes a healthcare professional regulating the supply of your medicine to make sure it’s safe for you.
How do I start treatment? – Make an appointment with your GP first so they can assess and prescribe treatment if they think it’s right for you. They will also discuss the risks and benefits of treatment, which are specific to you.
What dosage will I need? – The dosage you are required to take depends on your condition, medical history and other medicines you are taking. Your GP will assess what is best for you. The usual starting dosages are either 10 mg or 20 mg daily. If you’re taking atorvastatin after having a heart attack or stroke, you may be started on a high dose of 80mg.
If your doctor has prescribed it for you then it should be the best option for you. During treatment, you will need to attend regular check-ups to make sure atorvastatin is working effectively for you. Your blood levels of cholesterol will also be measured, to ensure that they are kept within a safe level.
How do other statins compare? – atorvastatin is usually the first statin of choice. All statins work in the same way and are usually equally effective. There may be slight differences in the side effects and cost. How well you tolerate a statin also depends on your medical history, other medicines you may be taking and other risk factors.
How do I switch medicines? – discuss this with your doctor who will decide which medicine is best for you to switch over to if required. You usually don’t need to consider switching unless you cannot take atorvastatin anymore because of side effects or there is a change in your medical condition. You can switch to another statin with an equivalent dosage if your doctor considers it necessary.
Non-statin treatments – your doctor can consider using different medicines to treat high cholesterol if you are unable to take statins for medical reasons. These include:
- Ezetimibe – it’s generally less effective than statins in reducing cholesterol and may cause less side effects. It’s also available as a combined tablet with Simvastatin.
- Bile acid sequestrants (resins) such as cholestyramine or colestipol – these can be considered if Ezetimibe also doesn’t work for you
- Fibrates, like fenofibrate
If none of these work for you, then your doctor may consider the newer injectable medicines called Alirocumab or Evolocumab.
How to take atorvastatin – it comes as a tablet which you swallow with water. Atorvastatin is also available as a chewable tablet, for people who have difficulty swallowing. This can either be chewed or swallowed with water.
How to get the most out of atorvastatin – atorvastatin is taken once a day and can be taken at any time of the day. You should aim to take it at the same time each day. It can be taken with or without food. It’s important to take atorvastatin regularly as prescribed by your doctor. Most people do not have any symptoms of high cholesterol so you should take it even if you feel well, as you will still be getting the benefits. Please do not exceed the dosage recommended by your doctor.
What if I forget to take a dose? – if you forget to take a dose, just take your next dose as usual the following day. Don’t take an extra dose to make up for the missed one.
How long do I need to take atorvastatin for? – once you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you are likely to require lifelong treatment to keep your condition under control and prevent complications. Cholesterol levels can rise again once treatment is stopped. Your risk of heart problems also increases with age.
The risk of side effects – as with any medicine atorvastatin can cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them. The side effects you’re most likely to experience are listed to the right under the ‘side effects of atorvastatin section.
Uncommon side effects include:
- weight gain or loss
- ringing in the ears
- difficulty sleeping
Atorvastatin increases the risk of muscle breakdown – it’s important to report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness to a doctor straight away. You should also inform your doctor if you have a family history of a hereditary muscle disorder or if you have had muscle problems in the past.
Becoming intolerant – a few people may develop an intolerance to statins over time but this is rare. People who are intolerant to three different statins are usually referred to a specialist doctor for further treatment. Speak to your doctor for further advice if you are concerned.
When to see a doctor – most side effects will settle after the first few days or weeks of starting a new treatment. Any side effects which persist should be discussed with your doctor. If you experience troublesome side effects or still have high cholesterol levels after using atorvastatin after a period of time, your doctor may advise a change of medication or increase your dosage.
Serious side effects – these are rare but you need to tell your doctor immediately if the experience any of the following,
- Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps – these can be signs of muscle breakdown and kidney damage
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites in your eyes (jaundice)
- Skin rash with pink-red blotches, especially on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet
- Cough, shortness of breath, excessive tiredness or weight loss – these can be signs of lung disease
- Severe stomach pain
Very rarely, a severe allergic reaction to atorvastatin can occur. If you experience any signs such as a severe rash, difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue, eyelids or face, seek immediate medical attention from your nearest A&E department.
Drinking grapefruit juice can increase your risk of side effects with atorvastatin. This is only a risk if you drink more than 1.2L of grapefruit juice a day. It’s safe to have an occasional glass of grapefruit juice.