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Atorvastatin (By mouth)

Treats high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Reduces the risk of angina, stroke, heart attack, or certain heart and blood vessel problems. This medicine is a statin.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Atorvastatin is used together with a proper diet to lower cholesterol and triglyceride (fats) levels in the blood. This medicine may help prevent medical problems (e.g., chest pain, heart attack, or stroke) that are caused by fats clogging the blood vessels. It may also be used to prevent certain types of heart and blood vessel problems in patients with risk factors for heart problems. … Read more
Brand names include
Lipitor
Drug classes About this
Antihyperlipidemic
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Effect of atorvastatin on cholesterol

This represents the first update of this review, which was published in 2012 (Adams 2012). Atorvastatin is one of the most widely prescribed drugs and the most widely prescribed statin in the world. It is an HMG‐CoA reductase inhibitor that is prescribed to prevent adverse cardiovascular events and to lower blood total cholesterol and LDL‐cholesterol. It is therefore important to know the magnitude of the effect that atorvastatin has on cholesterol. We searched for all evidence obtained from three‐ to 12‐week trials reporting the effect of atorvastatin on blood cholesterol. This update found 42 additional trials and reports on 296 trials in 38,817 participants. Atorvastatin showed a consistent effect in lowering blood cholesterol over the dose range of 2.5 to 80 mg daily. The effect was greater with higher doses than with lower doses. Atorvastatin works similarly to rosuvastatin in lowering cholesterol but is about three‐fold less potent. Risk of bias for all assessed trials was high. Review authors were unable to assess harms of atorvastatin because the included trials were too short, and because only 34 included trials assessed harms.

Treatment with atorvastatin for unstable angina: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Liang L, Qiqn JL, Xue HY, Lin P, Yang L.  Treatment with atorvastatin for unstable angina: a systematic review. Chinese Pharmacological Bulletin 2012; 28(11): 1500-1507 Available from: http://www.zgylxtb.cn/oa/DArticle.aspx?type=view&id=201211006

[Meta-analysis on influence of different doses of atorvastatin on carotid atherosclerosis in Chinese]

Bibliographic details: Liu SY, Zhang XJ, Cai H, Yang LY, Ding XN, Chang Y.  [Meta-analysis on influence of different doses of atorvastatin on carotid atherosclerosis in Chinese]. Journal of Jilin University (Medicine Edition) 2013; 39(2): 313-317 Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.7694/jldxyxb20130227

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Summaries for consumers

Effect of atorvastatin on cholesterol

This represents the first update of this review, which was published in 2012 (Adams 2012). Atorvastatin is one of the most widely prescribed drugs and the most widely prescribed statin in the world. It is an HMG‐CoA reductase inhibitor that is prescribed to prevent adverse cardiovascular events and to lower blood total cholesterol and LDL‐cholesterol. It is therefore important to know the magnitude of the effect that atorvastatin has on cholesterol. We searched for all evidence obtained from three‐ to 12‐week trials reporting the effect of atorvastatin on blood cholesterol. This update found 42 additional trials and reports on 296 trials in 38,817 participants. Atorvastatin showed a consistent effect in lowering blood cholesterol over the dose range of 2.5 to 80 mg daily. The effect was greater with higher doses than with lower doses. Atorvastatin works similarly to rosuvastatin in lowering cholesterol but is about three‐fold less potent. Risk of bias for all assessed trials was high. Review authors were unable to assess harms of atorvastatin because the included trials were too short, and because only 34 included trials assessed harms.

Fibrates for patients without established cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death, illness, disability, and reduced quality of life in industrialised countries. One of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease is elevated low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL‐C, 'bad' cholesterol). In addition, persons with elevated serum triglycerides and low levels of high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL‐C, 'good' cholesterol) are also at increased risk for cardiovascular disease events such as heart attacks or strokes. Fibrates lower serum triglycerides, modestly raise HDL‐C, and modestly lower LDL‐C. Therefore, long‐term therapy with fibrates may help prevent cardiovascular disease events, in particular in combination with statins, for which it has been shown that they substantially lower LDL‐C and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and overall mortality.

Comparing Statins and Combination Drugs

How do statins and combination drugs compare in lowering "bad" cholesterol (LDL-c)?

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