Lipitor, also know as atorvastatin is a high blood pressure medication. It belongs to a family of drugs known as statins which work by inhibiting certain liver enzymes which have been found to contribute to high blood cholesterol. Lipitor also has been found to reduce plaque to normal levels in arteries. It has also been proven to have anti-inflammatory actions useful for treating stroke.
Atorvastatin was discovered in 1985 by Bruce Roth. It was approved for pharmaceutical use in 1996 and branded by the drug company Pfizer as Lipitor. It has since become one of the best selling drugs in history generating more than $125 billion in sales. In 2012 all pharmaceutical manufacturing companies were able to begin producing generic versions of Lipitor resulting in a drop of price for Lipitor generic name medications.
What is Lipitor used for?
Lipitor is generally prescribed to patients with high blood pressure due to Dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia is the medical condition resulting from excessively high amounts of cholesterol and fat in the blood stream. This condition is very unhealthy putting extra strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. Furthermore those with severe cases of Dyslipidemia are at a high risk for heart attack and stroke. Lipitor medication is able to reduce the fat and cholesterol in the blood stream most effectively when coupled with a healthy diet and moderate exercise. It is usually not prescribed unless diet and exercise alone are unable to lower cholesterol to a healthy level.
Lipitor is also used to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease. It has been found in studies to treat coronary heart disease and prevent heart attacks in those who are prone to or have already experienced a heart attack. It has also been used by many doctors as a way to prevent stroke by lowering blood pressure through its anti-inflammatory action. It is also used preventively in patients who have a family history of heart disease or heart attack or for patients who are smokers. When used in this manner it has been found to successfully reduce the risk of heart attack. It is also prescribed to many type II diabetics for similar preventive measures as when prescribed for heart disease.
Is Lipitor Safe?
The most severe side effect associated with atorvastatin is myopathy, a muscular disease resulting in weakness and cramping. This side effect however is only observed in less than 1% of patients prescribed Lipitor. Another uncommon side effect of Lipitor recently observed in several studies is an increase in risk for type II diabetes. The most commonly reported side effect of Lipitor medication is a mild headache. This is reported by over 10% of those who use Lipitor. There are several ongoing studies as well looking at the link between Lipitor and other statins and memory loss. So far there have been no confirmed findings. There are however many anecdotal reports of memory loss from the use of Lipitor. Pfizer has recently issued a statement claiming that clinical trials have not established a connection between Lipitor and memory loss.