Before taking atorvastatin, let your healthcare provider know if you have:
- Liver disease or liver failure
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
- Are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant (see Lipitor and Pregnancy)
- Are breastfeeding (see Lipitor and Breastfeeding)
- Will be undergoing a procedure or surgery
- Drink alcohol frequently.
Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you are already taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, antacids, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Atorvastatin for more information, including information on who should not take the drug.)
Atorvastatin is part of a class of drugs called statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). It works by blocking a particular enzyme -- HMG-CoA reductase -- that controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol. It also:
- Increases the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol")
- Increases HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol")
- Decreases triglycerides.