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Weight gain lipitor: Lipitor Side Effects and How to Manage Them

Lipitor Side Effects and How to Manage Them

Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat high cholesterol and reduce certain heart risks. Lipitor can cause side effects, also called adverse effects, that range from mild to serious. Examples include muscle pain and liver damage.

Lipitor is used along with diet and exercise to:

  • lower cholesterol levels in adults and some children
  • reduce other heart risks in adults with high cholesterol

The active ingredient in Lipitor is atorvastatin. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) The drug comes as a tablet that you swallow.

Keep reading to learn about the common, mild, and serious side effects that Lipitor can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Some people may experience mild to serious side effects during Lipitor treatment. Examples of Lipitor’s commonly reported side effects include:

  • infections, such as the common cold or urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • nausea
  • pain in your arms or legs
  • joint pain*
  • diarrhea*

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Lipitor include:

  • infections, such as the common cold or urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • pain in the legs or arms
  • nausea
  • mild muscle pain*
  • joint pain*
  • diarrhea*
  • mild allergic reaction*

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects are temporary. And some may be easily managed. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And, do not stop taking Lipitor unless your doctor recommends it.

Lipitor may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the drug’s prescribing information for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Lipitor, visit MedWatch.

Serious side effects that have been reported with Lipitor include:

  • serious muscle pain
  • rhabdomyolysis, a serious condition caused by the breakdown of muscle
  • immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy, a rare muscle condition
  • liver damage*
  • severe allergic reaction*†

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
† An allergic reaction is possible after using Lipitor. But it’s unclear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Lipitor, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Lipitor’s side effects.

Do Lipitor and atorvastatin (generic name for Lipitor) have similar side effects?

Yes. Lipitor and its generic version, atorvastatin, typically have the same side effects. Both drugs contain the same active ingredient, which is atorvastatin. An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.

But the inactive ingredients in Lipitor and atorvastatin may be different. So it’s possible to have different side effects due to the inactive ingredients in these drugs.

If you’re interested in switching between the brand-name and generic forms of Lipitor, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can discuss with you possible differences in the generic’s side effects compared with Lipitor’s.

Is there any difference between the side effects Lipitor may cause in females and males?

No, Lipitor should not cause different side effects in females and males.* In studies of Lipitor, there weren’t differences in side effects in men compared with side effects in women.

It’s important to note that doctors may not prescribe Lipitor during pregnancy or breastfeeding. This is because the drug may cause other side effects while pregnant and breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Warnings for Lipitor” section below.

* In this article, we use the terms “male,” “female,” “men,” and “women” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Does my risk of side effects depend on what dose of Lipitor I take (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg)?

It’s possible that the strength of Lipitor you take may change your risk of side effects. Lipitor is available in four strengths:

  • 10 milligrams (mg)
  • 20 mg
  • 40 mg
  • 80 mg

Taking a higher dose of Lipitor may increase the risk of side effects. So, if you’re taking a dose of 80 mg per day, your risk of side effects may be higher than that of someone taking a 10-mg dose.

If you’re having side effects from taking Lipitor, talk with your doctor. They can check whether your dose of Lipitor needs adjusting.

For more information about Lipitor’s dosages, see this article.

Are weight gain and hair loss side effects of Lipitor?

No, weight gain and hair loss are not side effects of Lipitor.

But there may be a link between taking statin medications such as Lipitor and an increase in appetite. An older study showed that people taking statins consumed more calories and fat than people not taking such drugs. So it is possible that this increase in appetite may lead to weight gain. But this was not reported in studies of the drug.

If you’re taking Lipitor to reduce your risk of heart problems due to type 2 diabetes, you may notice hair loss. This is because diabetes may increase the risk of hair loss in females and males.*

If you have weight gain or hair loss during your treatment with Lipitor, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to manage your weight gain or hair loss.

* In this article, we use the term “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Does Lipitor cause any eye-related side effects?

Although rare, it’s possible for Lipitor to cause blurry vision. This side effect was reported in studies of Lipitor.

In addition, eye-related side effects may be a symptom of another side effect that Lipitor causes. Lipitor can increase your risk of liver problems. One side effect of liver problems is yellowing of the eyes or skin.

If you have yellowing of the eyes or other eye-related changes while you’re taking Lipitor, contact your doctor. They can find out what may be causing your eye-related side effects and the best way to treat them.

Learn more about some of the side effects Lipitor may cause.

Muscle pain

You may develop muscle pain during treatment with Lipitor. Muscle pain was a common side effect reported in studies of the drug.

This side effect can be mild or severe. In some cases, muscle pain can also be a sign of a more serious side effect. Examples include rhabdomyolysis, a condition caused by the breakdown of muscle, and immune-mediating necrotizing myopathy, a rare muscle condition.

What might help

If you have muscle pain while taking Lipitor, talk with your doctor. They can determine what may be causing it.

If your muscle pain is mild, your doctor may recommend decreasing your Lipitor dose to see if the side effect lessens.

If you have severe muscle pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible. This may be a sign of a more serious condition. Your doctor might recommend that you stop taking Lipitor right away. And they’ll likely check you for rhabdomyolysis or immune-mediating necrotizing myopathy.

Liver damage

It’s possible to develop liver damage from taking statin medications such as Lipitor. Although liver damage was not a common side effect, it may still occur during Lipitor treatment.

Lipitor may cause increases in liver enzymes, which may indicate liver damage. Symptoms of liver damage include:

  • yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • belly pain
  • nausea or vomiting
What might help

If you have any symptoms of liver damage during your treatment with Lipitor, tell your doctor right away. They can order blood tests to see how well your liver is working.

Your doctor will also check your liver function by ordering blood tests before you start taking Lipitor and throughout treatment.

If you develop increased liver enzymes or liver damage during treatment with Lipitor, your doctor may recommend decreasing your dose of Lipitor. Or they may pause your treatment until your liver enzyme levels increase to the point that it’s safe to resume treatment.

In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend that you take a different medication instead of Lipitor to treat your condition.

Joint pain

Lipitor can cause joint pain. This was one of the more common side effects reported in studies of Lipitor.

What might help

If you experience joint pain during your treatment with Lipitor, tell your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease this side effect. For example, they may suggest taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen).


It’s possible that you may have diarrhea during Lipitor treatment. Diarrhea was a common side effect reported in studies of the drug.

Symptoms of diarrhea include:

  • belly pain or cramping
  • bloating
  • watery stools
  • having frequent bowel movements
What might help

If you have diarrhea while taking Lipitor, tell your doctor. They can determine whether Lipitor is causing your diarrhea and the best ways to treat it.

If you have diarrhea, it is important to stay hydrated. Your doctor or pharmacist may also be able to recommend other ways to treat your diarrhea. For example, they may recommend taking an over-the-counter medication such as Imodium (loperamide).

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Lipitor can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Symptoms can be mild to serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage your symptoms. Examples include:

  • an antihistamine you take by mouth, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a mild allergic reaction to Lipitor, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Lipitor, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Lipitor treatment, consider taking notes on any side effects you’re having. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon you had the side effect after starting that dose
  • what your symptoms were
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help them learn more about how Lipitor affects you. They can then use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Lipitor may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. These are known as drug-condition interactions. Other factors may also affect whether Lipitor is a good treatment option for you.

Talk with your doctor about your health history before starting Lipitor. The list below includes factors to consider.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Lipitor or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Lipitor. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.

Diabetes. It’s possible that Lipitor may worsen diabetes. If you have diabetes, tell your doctor before starting treatment with Lipitor. Your doctor can determine if it’s safe for you to take the drug. Or they may recommend a different treatment option for you.

Thyroid problems. People with certain thyroid problems may have an increased risk of side effects, such as muscle pain, from taking Lipitor. Before you start taking Lipitor, tell your doctor about any thyroid problems that you have. Your doctor can help treat your thyroid condition before Lipitor treatment.

Kidney problems. Lipitor can cause muscle problems, which in rare cases may lead to kidney problems. If you already have kidney problems, taking this medication may worsen your condition. Your doctor can determine if it’s safe for you to take Lipitor with your kidney condition.

Stroke or mini-stroke in the last 6 months. Taking Lipitor after having a stroke or mini-stroke in the last 6 months may increase your risk of having another stroke. If you’ve had a recent stroke or mini-stroke, tell your doctor before starting treatment with Lipitor.

Liver problems. People with liver problems should not use Lipitor due to the risk of harm. Lipitor may cause liver problems to occur. If you already have a liver problem, taking this drug may worsen your condition. Due to this risk, your doctor will likely recommend a different treatment option for you.

Alcohol and Lipitor

There aren’t any known interactions between Lipitor and alcohol. But alcohol and Lipitor can both cause liver damage. So drinking alcohol while taking Lipitor may further increase the risk of liver problems.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much alcohol, if any, may be safe to drink during Lipitor treatment.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Lipitor

Lipitor may not be safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Currently, there is not enough information to determine if Lipitor affects a developing fetus, but it is possible. So, your doctor may not prescribe the drug during pregnancy.

It’s also unknown if Lipitor passes into breast milk or affects a child who is breastfed. Due to the possible risks, your doctor may advise you to avoid breastfeeding while taking Lipitor.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, tell your doctor before starting Lipitor treatment. They can help you understand the risks of taking Lipitor during these times. They may also recommend a different treatment option for you.

You may have side effects during your treatment with Lipitor. In most cases, its side effects are mild. But it’s possible to develop serious side effects from this medication.

Before you start treatment with Lipitor, talk with your doctor about side effects that could occur. Here are some questions to help get you started:

  • Can Lipitor cause long-term side effects?
  • Do I have an increased risk of Lipitor’s side effects due to my other medical conditions?
  • How do the side effects of Lipitor compare with those of other drugs used to treat my condition?
  • What should I do if I become pregnant during treatment with Lipitor?

To learn more about Lipitor, see these articles:

  • All About Lipitor
  • Dosage for Lipitor: What You Need to Know
  • Lipitor Interactions: Alcohol, Medications, and Others
  • Lipitor vs. Crestor: What You Should Know

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Statins and Weight Gain | Cardiology | JAMA Internal Medicine

Statins and Weight Gain | Cardiology | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

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Editor’s Note

July 2014

Rita F.  Redberg, MD, MSc

JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(7):1046. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1994

There remains much controversy over the risks and benefits of statins for primary prevention. Besides the risks of muscle aches, diabetes, and cognitive dysfunction, I have observed over the years that for many patients, statins provide a false reassurance, as people seem to believe that statins can compensate for poor dietary choices and a sedentary life. In an elegantly performed analysis of NHANES data from 1999 to 2010, Sugiyama and colleagues1 have documented exactly such behavior. They found that compared with statin nonusers, statin users significantly increased their fat intake and calorie consumption, along with their BMI, in the last decade. This article raises concerns of a potential moral hazard of statin use, in addition to the already known adverse effects. Focusing on cholesterol levels can be distracting from the more beneficial focus on healthy lifestyle to reduce heart disease risk.



 T, Tsugawa
 Y, Tseng
 C-H, Kobayashi
 Y, Shapiro
 MF.  Different time trends of caloric and fat intake between statin users and nonusers among US adults: gluttony in the time of statins? [published online April 24, 2014].  JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1927.Google Scholar

Lipitor, 80 mg tablets, 30 pcs,


Atorvastatin, excipients.

Pharmacological action


Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics


The drug belongs to the group statins . It acts selectively and competitively with respect to the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase , converting coenzyme A into mevalonic acid , which belongs to the precursor of sterols, including cholesterol. In the liver cholesterol and TG are incorporated into VLDL, after which they enter the bloodstream and are transported to peripheral tissues. In the future, VLDL is transformed into LDL.

Lipitor significantly reduces the content of cholesterol and lipoproteins in the blood of patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia , not amenable to treatment with lipid-lowering drugs. The drug does not have a carcinogenic and mutagenic effect.


Lipitor is rapidly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, Cmax in the blood is reached after 2 hours. Relative bioavailability – 95%. Metabolized in the liver with the participation of CYP3A4 to pharmacologically active ortho / para-hydroxylated metabolites. Eliminated with bile.

Indications for use

  • Primary hypercholesterolemia various types, mixed hyperlipidemia ;
  • As a dietary supplement for homo/heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia ;
  • In diseases of the cardiovascular system, accompanied by dyslipidemia ;
  • To prevent myocardial infarction and reduce the risk of death.


High sensitivity to Lipitor, liver disease with severe dysfunction, pregnancy, lactation. Take with caution in patients with electrolyte imbalance, arterial hypotension , with acute infections, alcoholism, convulsive syndrome, surgical interventions.

Side effects

Nausea, dry mouth, abdominal pain, vomiting, emotional lability, insomnia, asthenia , dizziness, headache, drowsiness, malaise, peripheral neuropathy ataxia , paresthesia , hyperesthesia , hyperkinesis , depression, loss of consciousness, disturbance of accommodation, glaucoma, conjunctival dryness, tinnitus, loss of taste, postural hypotension, arrhythmia, increased blood pressure, vasodilatation , phlebitis , palpitations, migraine, anemia , thrombocytopenia , rhinitis, bronchitis, pancreatitis, anorexia , flatulence , leg muscle cramps, myalgia , bursitis, myositis, muscular hypertension, arthralgia , joint contractures, peripheral edema, impotence, vaginal bleeding, decreased libido , nephritis , epididymitis, increased sweating, eczema, alopecia, seborrhea, photosensitivity , hyperglycemia , albuminuria, weight gain.

Lipitor instructions for use (Method and dosage)

Lipitor tablets are taken orally, regardless of the meal time, at any time of the day. The initial dosage is 10 mg 1 time per day. The maximum daily dose is 80 mg. Treatment should be carried out against the background of compliance with the hypocholesterolemic diet .


When taking the drug in high doses, liver dysfunction and development of rhabdomyolysis .


The use of cytochrome CYP3A4 inhibitors leads to an increase in the concentration of the active substance in the blood. The risk of myopathy increases when administered with cyclosporine, erythromycin, fibrates , clarithromycin, antifungal azoles, nicotinamide. For example, the appointment of itraconazole entails an increase in the concentration of atorvastatin by 3 times, with erythromycin – by 40%.

With the simultaneous administration of digoxin, its concentration increases by 20%. The concentration of oral contraceptives also increases.

Antacids containing magnesium and aluminum reduce concentration, but this does not affect the reduction of cholesterol levels .

Conditions of sale


Storage conditions

Temperature up to 25°C.

Shelf life

2 years.





Active ingredient ENG:


Barcode: 9000 5


Video playback:

Medicines that can make you gain weight

Taking medicines that your doctor prescribes for you for one reason or another can be accompanied by side effects that are not always desirable. Unfortunately, doctors do not always warn about what medications can lead to, and many would like to know what to expect from a course of medications.


The fight against excess weight




Getty Images

One of the most common drug side effects is weight gain. Let’s make a reservation right away – this does not happen for everyone and not always, but you can be one of those “lucky ones” who really put on weight.

We talk about drugs that can cause weight gain. We are sure that it is better to know and take some steps in advance so as not to gain weight than to accidentally discover an extra 3-5, or even 10 kg, gained over several weeks of taking the drug.

In general, it would be absolutely useful to discuss with the doctor all the possible “side effects” that the prescribed medicine can cause in order to take timely action. This, however, applies to any side effects, and not just those associated with weight. In some cases, undesirable effects are inevitable, but there are situations when their occurrence can be completely avoided or at least made less pronounced.


Steroid preparations can be prescribed for various diseases. They make it quite easy to achieve an improvement in the condition, but the treatment is often accompanied by an undesirable effect, including insomnia, increased appetite and swelling. All this is the perfect combo for those extra pounds to literally stick in strategic places. It is important that steroids are available in different forms – these can be ointments and creams, sprays, as well as tablets. The latter just cause weight gain the most. You can reduce your chances of gaining weight by choosing the lowest possible dose for you, as well as adjusting your diet and choosing the ideal sleep pattern for you.



Many people say that you can gain weight on antidepressants. Fortunately, not everyone is gaining it, although this, of course, is quite real. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors pose the greatest danger in this regard, so if you are taking drugs whose active ingredient belongs to this class of substances, be careful.

The fact is that such drugs not only improve your mood and help you feel less depressed, but also increase your appetite. And here the connection is quite obvious: you want to eat more – you eat more – your weight increases.

If you are prone to weight gain, then discuss with your doctor in advance that you are worried about the fact that he will become more – it is likely that he will be able to choose another suitable drug for you.

Birth control pills

Oral contraceptives have many side effects, some of which are quite pleasant and desirable. But, let’s not hide, weight gain is not included in this list for everyone.

It works like this: progesterone, which is part of birth control pills, increases appetite, which causes women to eat more and gain weight. Another possible mechanism is that while taking contraceptives, the body begins to more actively retain water, and the weight also goes up because of this.


Popular antihistamine-based allergy medications are most often not available by prescription. They can be prescribed by a doctor, but many people buy these drugs on their own initiative and choose the dosage on their own.

In addition to the fact that the selection of medicines still has to be handled by a specialist, there is another danger. All the same kilograms that you can gain. Taking allergy medications frequently can lead to weight gain. This happens more often in women than in men. If you notice that you are really gaining weight on the background of a course of antihistamines, but at least try to change the dosage form: the spray in this case will be much less dangerous than tablets.

Blood pressure medications

Medicines prescribed for hypertension, such as beta-blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers, also affect weight. Unfortunately, in the case of such drugs, the choice is not too rich. There is nothing to replace them and cancel, most likely, the doctor will not allow. And this means that in order to prevent gaining extra pounds, you will have to carefully monitor your lifestyle, adjust your diet and try to introduce at least a minimum of physical activity into your daily routine.