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What are the Side Effects of Lipitor&Reg;?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Side effects of Lipitor® fall into three groups. The first is a safe set of side effects that pose no risk, such as upset stomach and joint pain. The second set of side effects are more serious and may cause long-term health problems such as liver damage. Finally, the last set of side effects includes the harm that Lipitor® can cause to an unborn or nursing child. An individual considering taking Lipitor® should consider discussing the risks with his or her primary care physician.

Lipitor®, also known as atorvastatin, is a drug developed by Pfizer that lowers blood cholesterol. The drug works by inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver. The majority of patients who take Lipitor® experience the intended effect, more so if they combine their medication with healthier eating habits and exercise. Yet all medications, Lipitor® included, carry certain risks. The side effects of Lipitor® may make a patient so unhealthy that taking the medication becomes counterproductive.

Out of all the side effects of Lipitor®, the most common is headaches. More than 10% of patients report headaches during the first week of treatment. Affecting slightly less than 10% of patients are abdominal pains and diarrhea. Other common side effects include temporary weakness and dizziness. These symptoms should not concern patients unless they linger for more than a week.

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If symptoms persist or worsen, a patient may be at risk for one of the more serious side effects of Lipitor®. As Lipitor® works by inhibiting certain liver functions, liver damage is a possible through rare long-term side effect. If a patient reports the prolonged side effects described above, a physician will run blood tests to determine liver health. Blood test results along with the physical symptoms of jaundice or medication-induced hepatitis are clear indications that Lipitor® is doing more harm than good. Patients who experience liver damage may require further medical treatments.

The last group of side effects of Lipitor® include those that affect the unborn and nursing children of women taking the medication. Lipitor® may completely inhibit an unborn child's ability to produce cholesterol. This side effect is fatal to the child. Lipitor® can also cause similar harm to nursing infants as the drug is secreted into mother's milk. For these reasons, physicians do not prescribe Lipitor® to pregnant or nursing women.

Though the risk of serious side effects from taking Lipitor® is small, individuals considering using the drug to lower cholesterol should discuss the risks with a physician. Medical history and lifestyle both influence the likelihood of certain side effects. To reduce the risk as much as possible, a physician can prescribe lifestyle changes before a patient begins Lipitor®.

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