safety medical

Lipitor (Atorvastatin) Side Effects

Lipitor is a prescription medication prescribed primarily to those with high blood pressure. It lowers blood pressure by reducing the amount of lipids and triglycerides in the blood stream. Atorvastatin and other statins are one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the USA with over 20 million being prescribed these kinds of drugs. Though the drug has been approved by the FDA and deemed safe for consumption and distribution there are several side effects that have been reported by users.

Lipitor Memory Loss

One of the most controversial side effects reported to be attached to the use of Lipitor and other statins is memory loss. At this point there has not been any official conclusions from any studies between the link of atorvastatin and memory loss. However, due to anecdotal reports and general concern in the medical community the FDA chose to add warnings of possible memory loss on the labels of Lipitor and other drugs which belong to the family of drugs known as statins. Pfizer the maker of Lipitor, has issued statements saying that their has been no direct correlation between atorvastatin and memory loss.

Those who say Lipitor does not cause memory loss argue that high cholesterol is known to cause memory loss and dementia and Lipitor lowers cholesterol. However, when looking closer it may be that lowering cholesterol too much can cause memory loss. Twenty-five percent of the bodies cholesterol is found in the brain and is essential for proper brain function. So if this cholesterol is eliminated along with bad cholesterol it could cause memory loss. Unfortunately there can only be speculation at this point as to Lipitor's effects on memory as no conclusive reports have been published.

Lipitor and Muscle Pain

Muscle pain is a common side effect of atorvastatin. Around six percent of those in controlled studies report having some sort of muscle ache or soreness. This is not generally a serious problem or something to be worried about but in rare cases Lipitor has been known to cause myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. These are both serious medical conditions and are often accompanied by severe muscle pain and flu like symptoms. If untreated rhabdomyolysis can lead to kidney failure and in some cases death. Myopathy is also a serious medical condition that leads to weakening and degeneration of muscle tissue. Fortunately less than 1% of those taking atorvastatin experience this Lipitor side effect.

Lipitor and Weight Gain

Weight gain is a very rare side effect of Lipitor and is uncommon. Because Lipitor is usually prescribed along with a recommended exercise and healthy eating habits most users should see a slight reduction in weight though this is not a direct attribute of the drug. Less than 2% experience weight gain while on atorvastatin. Those that do are recommended to eat a very low cholesterol diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats while limiting their alcohol intake. Those that experience weight gain should also talk to their health care provider as the side effect may be a result of dosage.

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