Lipitor, known by the generic name atorvastatin, is generally used to lower cholesterol by decreasing the amount of lipids and fats in the blood stream. It has been known to lower cholesterol in some patients by up to 60%. Lipitor is usually prescribed when exercise and diet alone are not able to decrease cholesterol. It comes in a variety of dosages which are dependent upon many factors. Generally when deciding your Lipitor dosage, a doctor will look at your age, medical condition being treated, other medications you are on, and other medical conditions you may have. Dosage should never be increased or decreased unless recommended by a doctor as different atorvastatin doses have different effects on patients at different levels. Lipitor doses come in 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg.
Dosage for High Cholesterol
Most patients suffering from high cholesterol start at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg. Those whose cholesterol is especially high will most likely start at a dosage of 40 mg. It is very rare and only in extreme cases where a dose of 80 mg will be prescribed for high cholesterol. In some cases, children will be prescribed Lipitor for high cholesterol. It is recommended children ages 0-17 start at a dosage of 10 mg and never go past 20 mg.
After being prescribed a dose of Lipitor, the patient will be monitored by their doctor. If the dose prescribed is not effectively lowering cholesterol, the doctor will prescribe a higher dose or try a different medication. Lipitor dosages will be lowered if the patient experiences side effects because often these are due to a dose that is too high for the particular patient's body. It is important when prescribed a dose of Lipitor to continue eating low cholesterol foods and exercising regularly as atorvastatin and exercise are synergistic in decreasing cholesterol.
Dosage for Stroke Prevention
Lipitor is also sometimes prescribed for stroke prevention at high doses. Some recent studies have found that Lipitor is effective when given to those who are at a high risk for stroke or who have already experienced a stroke in their lifetime. The dosage for stroke prevention is generally 80 mg. Since the dose is so much higher than the dose used for treatment of high cholesterol, the likelihood of adverse side effects is increased. For this reason, those prescribed Lipitor for stroke prevention should be extra vigilant in monitoring their health and report to a doctor immediately if they are experiencing abnormal symptoms.
Whatever dosage of Lipitor is prescribed should only be taken once a day. It can be taken anytime during the day with or without a meal. Patients with sensitive stomachs may prefer to take it with a meal, however. If a dose is missed, it is not advisable to double the dose the next time it is taken; it can lead to an adverse reaction. Some doctors may advise to only take Lipitor every other day for milder cases of high cholesterol. Dosage levels and frequency should never be changed unless instructed to do so by a medical professional.