In general, cholesterol treatment begins with lifestyle changes (such as weight loss, exercise, and diet). If lifestyle changes alone do not lower cholesterol to a desirable level, cholesterol medication such as atorvastatin may be necessary.
The main goal of high cholesterol medication is to lower LDL cholesterol levels enough to reduce your risk for developing problems related to high cholesterol, such as heart disease or a heart attack (see Effects of High Cholesterol). The higher your risk, the lower your LDL goal will be.
(Click High Cholesterol Risk to see what your risk is and what level your LDL cholesterol level should be under.)
Because atorvastatin can lower LDL cholesterol (along with lowering total cholesterol and increasing HDL), a person can lower his or her risk for developing problems related to heart disease by taking it.
In previous research studies, people taking atorvastatin 10 mg were able to, on average:
- Decrease LDL cholesterol by 39 percent
- Reduce total cholesterol by 29 percent
- Decrease triglycerides by 19 percent
- Raise HDL by 6 percent.
With higher dosages of atorvastatin, the effect was even greater.
Some general considerations for those taking atorvastatin include the following:
- Atorvastatin comes in tablet form. You take it once a day. Take your dose with a glass of water, with or without food.
- You can take this medication in the morning or at night. However, you should take it at the same time each day. This will help to maintain an even level in your blood.
- For the medication to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. Atorvastatin will not work if you stop taking it.