Statins such as atorvastatin are used for minimising risks of heart attacks and other cardiac ailments such as heart arrests, myocardial infarction, etc. Atorvastatin is often prescribed along with a comprehensive treatment plan; this plan includes losing excessive body weight, intake of fat-free foods and pursuing a regular workout plan. Adhering to your dosage plan in tandem with the aforesaid treatment can decrease the odds of cardiac diseases as well as strokes. However, you are advised to know more about the side effects of atorvastatin prior to starting your medication plan.

Key purpose of taking atorvastatin is to reduce the extent of low density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood. The type of lipid is also termed as bad cholesterol. Apart from decreasing LDL levels, this med is also likely to bring down the level of fats called as triglycerides. Among children who are living with high level of cholesterol, this statin can be administered – especially, to children aged between 11 to 16 years of age. However, it is a safe practice to check with your child’s doctor (pediatrician) prior to administering atorvastatin onto children.

You need to know atorvastatin belongs to a genre of meds known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibiting meds. The key ingredients dissuade your body from making excessive lipids. An excessive build-up may soon lead to an accumulation of such fats on the inner walls of your blood vessels. If left unattended, your arteries may soon get clogged – this condition may choke regular flow of blood, and may result in serious / near-fatal cardiac problems. Atorvastatin ensures the lining of your blood vessels do not get clogged. This action helps decrease the chances of pain in the chest region (angina), incidence of strokes, etc.

Likely side effects of atorvastatin

Like most meds, atorvastatin may also trigger a few side effects. The most common among its side effects are acid reflux / heartburns, other gastric problems like formation of gas, flatulence, bloating and pain in joints. In some people, atorvastatin has also caused memory lapses or can make you remain in a confused state of mind. The good news is – many of these side effects may soon disappear on their own – i.e., once your system gets used to this drug (and to its key chemicals). If one or more of these problems continue / persist for more than 4 days, you are advised to consult with your treating doctor as quickly as possible.

This drug is unlikely to cause acute discomforts or severe side effects. But, in some stray cases, a few severe discomforts have been reported. Such discomforts include muscular weakness, decrease in appetite levels (leading to anorexia), symptoms of a likely liver damage / injury, abdominal conditions such as vomiting, nausea, etc. Of the above – a likely liver dysfunction can be detected through its characteristic signs such as discoloration of eyes, yellowing of skin, discharge of yellowish urine, itchiness, etc. Upon sensing one or more of these symptoms, it is a safe practice to rush to a healthcare setting on an emergency basis.

It becomes equally important to tell your treating physician about any prior allergies or hypersensitivities. In some cases, not-so-active chemicals used in atorvastatin may trigger allergies in some users. If you notice problems such as swelling of lips, hoarseness of voice / soreness of throat, inflammation of oral parts such as tongue or gums – you need to take needful medical care on an urgent mode. Those living in the US may call 911 without much delay. Residents of US may also call the helpdesk of the food and drug administration (FDA); this federal agency runs its own helpdesk to record adverse events associated with the meds it has cleared. Severe spells of allergies such as respiratory problems (showing up in the form of wheezing, shortness of breath or gasping) and / or passing out may need quicker attention. You may need to seek clinical care under the supervision of a qualified medical professional. Canadian residents may report such events to Health Canada and seek faster help. As an alternative – you may also reach out to a poison control center operating closer to your home.

In some cases, a small percentage of users have taken larger doses (more than what were prescribed) in order to bring about a quicker cure. This is not a safe practice. Such larger doses may only aggravate your medical condition. The typical side effects associated with an overdose of atorvastatin include inability to inhale and exhale, loss of coordination, impairment of motor function, epileptic seizures, convulsions or fits. Upon witnessing any of these acute side effects, you need to take urgent medical help. Time is an essential thing in such instances. Hence, needful medical support – in a proper medical care setting like a hospital or a clinic – needs to be accorded in a timely manner. Delays in offering medical treatment are likely to lead to near-fatal or fatal outcomes.

You are also advised to stay watchful of blood glucose levels. A long term intake of atorvastatin is known to increase blood glucose level and may run the risks of triggering type 2 form of diabetes. In general, risks of side effects of atorvastatin are pronounced when you are also taking other meds or herbal products to decrease cholesterol, or if you are having more than 2 glasses of alcoholic beverages on a daily basis and if you have prior medical problems like hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, etc.

Atorvastatin may also cause some damage to your hepatic wellbeing; however, the damages are reversible and are likely to stop once you discontinue the intake of statin. In a small percentage of users, swelling of liver has been observed at very early stages – i.e., soon after starting to take this statin. In such cases, your caregiving team may administer a safer alternative.

In sum, common side effects atorvastatin may trigger gastric problems such as gas, bloating and nausea; in some, memory lapses or being in a confused state are observed. Most of these discomforts will soon go off on its own once your body gets used to the doses. But, if such side effects persist for long (say, for 3 to 4 days), it is highly recommended to talk to your treating doctor immediately.

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