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Last Updated on February 8, 2024

Atorvastatin is a medication that can effectively lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Until recently, it was only available through a prescription from a doctor. However, in 2019, atorvastatin became available over the counter in the UK. This allows individuals to purchase atorvastatin without a prescription, making it more convenient for those who have difficulty accessing medical care.

To buy atorvastatin over the counter in the UK, individuals can visit their local pharmacy or drugstore. Atorvastatin is available under various brand names, including Lipitor, Torvast, and Atorvastatin. It is important to note that while atorvastatin is now available over the counter, it is still recommended that individuals consult with a healthcare professional before taking the medication to ensure its safety and efficacy for their individual needs.

Most online pharmacies provide Atorvastatin 10, 20, 40 mg. First read tips about buying drugs online should you intend to buy Lipitor online.

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What is atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is a statin, a group of drugs used to lower high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in the blood promotes hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. Read about the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin, its side effects, and how to use it.

How does atorvastatin work?

Cholesterol is a vital substance that the body needs to build cell membranes, hormones, and bile acids (for fat digestion), among other things. About two-thirds of the body’s cholesterol is produced in the liver. One third comes from food. In order to reduce elevated cholesterol levels, it is therefore possible to reduce the body’s own production of cholesterol and to change unfavorable eating habits.

Atorvastatin reduces cholesterol production in the liver. This is a complex process involving many steps. An important and rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis depends on a specific enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. It is this step that statins such as atorvastatin inhibit – reducing the body’s own production and lowering blood cholesterol levels, particularly of the “bad” LDL cholesterol that can lead to hardening of the arteries. On the other hand, the blood levels of “good” (vascular protective) HDL cholesterol sometimes even increase.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of atorvastatin

Atorvastatin is rapidly absorbed into the body after being taken by mouth (oral intake). It is not like other statins first converted in the liver to the active form, but can be the same to exert its effect. The maximum effect of atorvastatin is achieved one to two hours after ingestion. Because the body produces cholesterol most intensively during the night, Atorvastatin is usually taken in the evening.

Atorvastatin is mainly metabolized in the feces.

When used Atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is primarily used to treat high blood cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia). In general: A cholesterol-lowering drug such as atorvastatin therapy should be initiated only after non-pharmacological measures to lower cholesterol (healthy diet, exercise, and weight loss) have failed. Atorvastatin is also approved for the prevention of cardiovascular complications in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) or at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (such as diabetes patients). Regardless of the amount of cholesterol

In both cases, they are used, usually long-term, to keep cholesterol levels permanently at normal levels.

How is Atorvastatin used?

The intake of Atorvastatin is carried out as a tablet usually once a day in the evening. The dosage is determined by the doctor, but is usually between ten to eighty milligrams.

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The regular intake of cholesterol-lowering drugs is important for the success of treatment, since changes in cholesterol levels in the blood usually take place over a period of several weeks. Patients “remember” the effect of cholesterol-lowering directly, although it can be measured in the blood. Unauthorized withdrawal of the cholesterol-lowering drug because no “effect” is noted, is not recommended.

If necessary, atorvastatin is combined with other drugs, for example, with the anion exchanger cholestyramine, another cholesterol-lowering drug. Cholestyramine prevents bile acids, which are produced in the intestines to aid digestion, from being reabsorbed into the blood. As a result, the liver is forced to make new bile acids from cholesterol, further lowering cholesterol.

What are the side effects of Atorvastatin?

Common side effects with Atorvastatin therapy (with one to ten of a hundred patients) include:

  • nausea, bloating
  • changed liver enzyme levels
  • muscle weakness, pain, cramps (especially in high doses)

Complaints under atorvastatin therapy are serious side effects and should be discussed immediately with the treating physician.

What should I watch for while taking Atorvastatin?

The treatment of children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age) is only in special cases and with certain limitations to be discussed with the doctor. Use in children under ten years of age has not been studied.

Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should not take atorvastatin. If an application in lactation is absolutely necessary should be discontinued prior to initiation of atorvastatin therapy.

Since atorvastatin is broken down, inter alia, by the enzyme cytochrome 3A4, inhibitors of this enzyme lead to increased levels and thus increased atorvastatin side effects. The following drugs should not be combined with atorvastatin:

Other drugs that should not be combined with the cholesterol-lowering drug because of a possible increase in Atorvastatin side effects are:

  • Cyclosporine (in autoimmune diseases and organ transplant)
  • Gemfibrozil and other fibrates (lipid-lowering drugs – reduce blood levels of cholesterol and other blood lipids)
  • Heart drugs and calcium channel blockers (Amiodarone, Verapamil, Diltiazem, Amlodipine)

During atorvastatin therapy, grapefruit (juice, fruit) should also be avoided. Just one glass of grapefruit juice in the morning can cause atorvastatin levels to be twice as high as usual the following night. The possible consequences are unexpected side effects

How to get atorvastatin?

Atorvastatin is only available in pharmacies after a prescription, so it is only available on prescription.

How long has atorvastatin been on the market?

After the biosynthesis of cholesterol was elucidated in the early 1950s, it quickly became clear that effective drugs against elevated cholesterol levels could be produced by inhibiting key enzymes. The first inhibitor of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, called mevastatin, was isolated from a fungus in Japan in 1976. It was never brought to market.

In 1979, scientists at Merck & Co. (now MSD Sharp & Dohme) isolated lovastatin from a fungus. In the course of this research, synthetically modified variants of lovastatin were also developed, with the compound MK-733 (later simvastatin) proving to be therapeutically effective. This so-called type 1 statin later gave rise to the newer type 2 statins such as atorvastatin (1985), which is two to three times more potent. It was approved in the United States in 1996 and in Germany in 1997. Since the patent expired in 2011, numerous imitation preparations (generics such as Atorvastatin ratiopharm, Atorvastatin CT) have been developed, causing the price of Atorvastatin to fall sharply.