Lipitor was first synthesized by Bruce Roth in 1985. It gained the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration in 1996, and since then it has sales in excess of 125 billion US Dollars, making it the best selling drug in medical history. The drug is a cholesterol management medication, first marketed as a calcium salt. Patients can now make use of generic Lipitor.
The medication is one of the statin groups of drugs. Statins all stop the liver from making cholesterol. Atorvastatin blocks the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase which produces cholesterol. These chemicals diminish total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol, the major cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). The drug also heightens levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which in turn decreases blood concentrations of triglycerides, high levels of which can trigger CAD.
Pfizer’s brand name of Lipitor for its atorvastatin calcium tablets expired on November 30th 2011. Generic brands now available include names such as Mactor, Lipvas, Stator, Totalip, Torvast, Atoris, Atorlip, Torvacard, and Tulip. They are all oral drugs used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
Atorvastatin is generally well tolerated, but there are possible side effects. Minor complications which can occur include fatigue, jaundice, constipation, hazy vision, sinusitis, heartburn, flatulence, diarrhoea, urinary tract infection, high fever, headache, loss of appetite and allergic rashes. Amnesia, dizziness and confusion have also been reported from users.
High cholesterol can cause arteriosclerosis, a condition which can provoke heart attacks, strokes and vascular disease. It lowers the risk of strokes and myocardial infarction in individuals with type 2 diabetes, hypertension and kidney problems. Medical studies show that atorvastatin in combination with good diet and exercise can decrease cholesterol levels by as much as sixty percent.
More serious potential side effects of the drug are muscle or liver harm. Statins can cause inflammation of muscles, leading to serious muscle cell degeneration known as rhabdomyolysis. This causes muscle protein (myoglobin) to be released into the bloodstream, bringing the risk of renal failure and even death. Inexplicable muscle pain, tenderness or weakness can be early warning signs of rhabdomyolysis. Before beginning a course of treatment, liver tests are recommended, and should be maintained as required thereafter.
Atorvastatin is used to treat dyslipidemia. It also stabilizes plaque. Doctors recommend the use of generic Lipitor in conjunction with bile acid resins, exercise, and a low fat, low cholesterol diet. The drug should not be taken during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding as babies need cholesterol for proper development.
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Author: Rand MorryThis author has published 1 articles so far.