Atorvastatin: Interactions, Side Effects, Precautions, Overdose


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


9 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Atorvastatin Tablet is a drug belonging to the group of drugs called statins
  • Atorvastatin 10mg and 20mg tablets are mostly prescribed to children
  • Heartburn, joint pain, and diarrhea are common atorvastatin tablet side effects

Atorvastatin is a prescription drug that belongs to the group of drugs known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors or statins [1]. Doctors usually prescribe this medicine if you have high cholesterol. It works by reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. It is also given to prevent heart attacks and stroke. If you have a family history of heart disease, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or arthritis, you may have to consume this medicine [2].

This drug, which is used for improving different types of cholesterol, can also be a part of combination therapy. It means you may have to take it along with other medications. In India, around 25-30% of the urban population has high cholesterol [3]. So, atorvastatin proves to be useful as it prevents the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. However, there are some atorvastatin side effects that you should know. Read on to learn more! 

What is Atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin oral tablet is a prescription drug, and Lipitor is the brand name for this medication. There is also a generic version available. Generic medicines tend to be less expensive than the big brands. Certain medicines might not be available in all strengths or forms as brand-name medicines.

Additional Read: High Cholesterol Diseases

Atorvastatin Tablet Uses

Atorvastatin is used to lower cholesterol levels in people with several cholesterol issues. As a result, it lowers your chances of having a heart attack or a stroke. One can use it along with nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

Atorvastatin works to keep cholesterol from accumulating in your arteries. Clogged arteries can prevent blood from reaching your heart and brain.

Atorvastatin may get used in conjunction with other medications. It means you may need to use it in combination with other medicines. Bile acid resins and cholesterol-lowering medications may be among them.

How Atorvastatin Tablet Works

Atorvastatin belongs to the class of medications known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, also known as statins. A drug class is a group of medicines that function similarly. These medications are frequently used to treat comparable symptoms.

It works by decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, and increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol. Atorvastatin enhances your body's capacity to eliminate LDL cholesterol via the liver.

Atorvastatin Tablet Side Effects

It may cause a few common side effects. Here is a list of atorvastatin side effects: 

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough 
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Joint pain
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Constipation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Back and joint pain
  • Pain in arms and legs
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

In some cases, a person may experience some serious side effects that may require immediate medical care: 

  • Cough 
  • Tiredness 
  • Yellow skin 
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Allergic reaction
  • Dark color of urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Whites of eyes turning yellow
  • Skin rash, especially on palms and soles
  • Muscle aches and weakness 

Atorvastatin Interactions With Other Medications

Other medications, herbs, or vitamins you may be taking may interact with the atorvastatin oral tablet. When a chemical alters a drug's functions, this is referred to as an interaction. It can be dangerous or prevent the medicine from working properly.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should carefully manage all your prescriptions. Make sure your doctor knows any drugs, vitamins, or herbs you take. Consult your doctor or pharmacist to learn how this medication may interact with other you are taking.

The following are some medicines that can interact with atorvastatin.


When you combine atorvastatin with certain antibiotics, you increase your chance of muscular issues. These are some examples:

  • Clarithromycin
  • Erythromycin

Fungal medications

When you combine atorvastatin with medications to treat fungal infections, your body may accumulate atorvastatin. It increases your chances of muscle breakdown. If you must take these medications together, your doctor may reduce your atorvastatin dosage. Some examples are:

  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole

Cholesterol-lowering medications

Combining atorvastatin with other cholesterol-lowering medications increases the chance of muscular issues. Your doctor may advise you to modify the dosage of certain medicines or avoid using them together. Some examples are:

  • Niacin
  • Medications that contain fibrate
  • Gemfibrozil


The combination of rifampin and atorvastatin may reduce the amount of atorvastatin in your body. As a result, the atorvastatin may not work as well.

HIV medications

When you combine atorvastatin with some HIV medications, your body may accumulate atorvastatin. It can lead to muscle breakdown. If you must take these medications together, your doctor may reduce your atorvastatin dosage. Protease inhibitors, for example, are examples of these medications:

  • Ritonavir
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Darunavir
  • Lopinavir
  • Tipranavir
  • Saquinavir


Digoxin combined with atorvastatin can raise the digoxin level in your blood to harmful levels. Therefore, if you must take these medications together, your doctor will monitor these levels and, if necessary, change your prescription doses.

Oral contraception tablets

Taking atorvastatin with oral birth control tablets may raise your blood levels of oral contraceptive hormones.


Colchicine combined with atorvastatin increases the risk of muscle breakdown.


Combining cyclosporine and atorvastatin increases the chance of muscle breakdown. Therefore, this combination should be avoided, according to your doctor.

Several medications, vitamins, and supplements can interact with your atorvastatin intake and cause problems.  

  • This medicine along with antibiotics can increase the risk of muscle problems 
  • Consuming it along with certain drugs to treat fungal infections may lead to a buildup of atorvastatin in your body 
  • Other medications used for lowering cholesterol can interact and cause muscle problems 
  • Intake of this drug along with HIV medicines may cause an atorvastatin buildup in your body 
  • Taking birth control pills along with this medicine may raise oral contraceptive hormones in the blood
  • Other drugs such as heart medicines, drugs to treat hepatitis C, and medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection can also interfere and cause health problems 

Atorvastatin Tablet Precautions

  • Let your doctor or healthcare provider know about your allergies or if you have allergies from the atorvastatin. If it is your first time taking the medication then consult your doctor. Atorvastatin contains inactive ingredients which can induce allergies
  • Informing your doctor or pharmacist of your medical history, particularly of - liver disease, kidney illness, and alcohol use, before using this drug is always advised
  • Inform your doctor about atorvastatin about its use before undergoing any surgery
  • You should not consume alcohol if you are on atorvastatin medication, it can further your liver damage
  • For elderly people it can cause muscle problems
  • It can be harmful to mother and unborn child, therefore, doctors discretion is necessary. Also, breastfeeding mother should avoid this at all costs

Atorvastatin Tablet Infographic

Atorvastatin Warnings

This medication comes with several warnings.

Allergy alert

Atorvastatin has the potential to trigger a critical allergic reaction. Among the symptoms are:

  • Puffiness of your lips, throat, and face
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Difficulty swallowing

If you experience these symptoms, go to the nearest emergency centre. 

Food interaction alert

When using atorvastatin, avoid consuming significant amounts of grapefruit juice. It can cause an increase in atorvastatin levels in the blood, increasing your risk of muscle breakdown. 

Warning about alcohol interactions

The consumption of alcoholic beverages increases your risk of developing liver damage from atorvastatin. If you consume more than two alcoholic beverages daily, consult your doctor.

Other groups should get warned

Expecting Mothers:

Atorvastatin should never be used by pregnant women. This drug's safety in pregnant women is uncertain, and there is no evident benefit during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding Women:

Atorvastatin is not advisable for women who are breastfeeding. If you nurse your kid, consult your doctor about which medications may be appropriate.


People over 65 years are more likely to experience muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) while taking atorvastatin.


As of now, there has yet to be any research on the effectiveness of atorvastatin in children under ten. This medication has been proven safe and effective in children aged 10 to 17.

How To Take Atorvastatin Tablet?

It is the dose for atorvastatin oral pills. Not all dosages and drug formulations may get represented here. Your frequency of administration, medicine form, and dosage will be determined by:

  • Your age
  • The illness under-treatment
  • The severity of your ailment
  • Any other medical conditions 

Strengths and forms

Generic name: Atorvastatin

Form: Oral tabletStrengths: 80 mg, 40 mg, 20 mg, and 10 mgBrand: Lipitor

Atorvastatin Tablet Dosage

Dosage for adults (ages 18–64 years)

  • As a starting dose, 10 - 20 mg should be administered once per day
  • As a maintenance dose of 10-80 mg can be administered once per day

Dosage for children (ages 0–17 years)

Atorvastatin has not been approved in children under 18 to prevent heart disease.

Dosage for adults (above the age of 64 years)

It should be administered as per the doctor's advice. Kidney problems are common among seniors of this age group. This can result in medication staying in the body for a longer period of time, causing unnecessary problems.

What Should Be Done In Case Of An Overdose?

If you have taken too many atorvastatin oral tablets, contact your doctor. If you experience severe symptoms, call your local emergency number or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. You can call 102 for an emergency ambulance. 

Atorvastatin Tablet Warnings

This medicine is prescribed to adults and children above the age of 10 years. However, individuals with following conditions should avoid it. 

  • Allergic reactions 
  • Kidney problems 
  • Lung disease 
  • Underactive thyroid 
  • Muscular disorders  

It is usually taken once a day at a certain time. Your doctor will advise you about the dosage and the specific time to consume atorvastatin. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice. This drug can be taken with or without food as it does not upset your stomach. You can swallow the tablet with a glass of water or chew it if you are taking chewable tablets. 

The medicine is available as atorvastatin 10mg, atorvastatin 20mg, atorvastatin 40mg, and atorvastatin 80mg. For adults, the usual dose is between 10mg and 80mg per day. For children, it varies between 10mg to 20mg a day. Your doctor may consider certain factors before prescribing the right dosage:  

Atorvastatin Tablet Precautions Tips

Consider the following before taking this medicine: 

  • Take the tablet directly without cutting or crushing it
  • Place atorvastatin at a room temperature
  • Take the medicine along when you travel
  • Get your cholesterol levels and liver function monitored during the course of treatment with this drug
  • Eat a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet when you are undergoing this treatment 

Do not consume atorvastatin tablets under these conditions: 

  • If you are allergic 
  • If you are pregnant 
  • If you have liver disease.  
  • If you have thyroid disorders
  • If you are diabetic
  • If you drink excess alcohol
  • If you have kidney disease 
Additional Read: What is Good Cholesterol

If you are worried about how to lower cholesterol, take atorvastatin with your doctor's advice. For the correct diagnosis of illnesses and to avail the right treatment, book an online doctor consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health. Here, you can consult the best doctors near you and also book a lab test of your choice. Start prioritizing your health without delay!

Published on 17 Mar 2022Last updated on 24 Feb 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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