If you are experiencing side effects with Lipitor, alternatives to the cholesterol medication are available. Alternatives include other statins, such as Crestor, Zocor, and Lescol. Other possible options include other types of cholesterol medications, such as nicotinic acid, bile acid sequestrants, and fibrates.
Lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for lowering cholesterol. However, for some people, diet, weight control, and exercise are not enough to sufficiently lower cholesterol. If lifestyle changes alone are not enough, your doctor can prescribe cholesterol medications. One such medicine is Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium).
For most people, Lipitor is quite effective in lowering cholesterol. It is also generally well tolerated. However, some people do experience bothersome side effects. People experiencing such side effects may wish to consider one of many Lipitor alternatives.
Lipitor is part of a class of drugs called statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). Statins work 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. Lipitor also:
- Increases the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol")
- Increases HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol")
- Decreases triglycerides.
Several types of statins are available that could be considered alternatives to Lipitor. These include:
- Fluvastatin (Lescol®, Lescol® XL)
- Lovastatin (Altoprev®, Mevacor®) or combination medications that contain lovastatin (Advicor®)
- Pitavastatin (Livalo®)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol®)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor®)
- Simvastatin (Zocor®)
There are also several generic versions of these prescription statins. To see if a generic statin would make sense in your situation, talk to your healthcare provider.