Also Known As: Lipitor, Atorvastatin
Atorvastatin (INN), marketed by Pfizer as a calcium salt under the trade name Lipitor, is a member of the drug class known as statins, used for lowering blood cholesterol. It also stabilizes plaque and prevents strokes through anti-inflammatory and other mechanisms. Like all statins, atorvastatin works by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme found in liver tissue that plays a key role in production of cholesterol in the body.
Atorvastatin was first synthesized in 1985, by Bruce Roth while working at Parke-Davis Warner-Lambert Company (now Pfizer). With 2008 sales of US$12.4 billion, Lipitor was the top-selling branded pharmaceutical in the world. U.S. patent protection was scheduled to expire in June 2011. However, Pfizer made an agreement with Ranbaxy Laboratories that delayed the generic launch in the U.S. until November 30, 2011.
The primary uses of atorvastatin is for the treatment of dyslipidemia and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. It is recommended to be used only after other measures such as diet, exercise, and weight reduction have not improved cholesterol levels.
- Hypercholesterolemia (heterozygous familial and nonfamilial) and mixed dyslipidemia (Fredrickson types IIa and IIb) to reduce total cholesterol, LDL-C, apo-B, triglycerides levels, and CRP as well as increase HDL levels.
- Hypertriglyceridemia (Fredrickson Type IV)
- Primary dysbetalipoproteinemia (Fredrickson Type III)
- Secondary prevention in people with coronary heart disease and multiple risk factors for myocardial infarction, stroke, unstable angina, and revascularization
- Myocardial infarction and stroke prophylaxis in patients with type II diabetes
Concomitant therapy considerations: may be used in combination with bile acid resins. It is not recommended to combine statin treatment with fibrates because of the increased risk of myopathy related adverse reactions. Drug dose must be adjusted according to age of patient, and must be lowered in hepatic insufficiency.