In general, cholesterol treatment begins with lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise, and diet). If lifestyle changes alone do not lower cholesterol to a desirable level, cholesterol medication such as Lipitor may be necessary.
The main goal of high cholesterol medication is to lower LDL cholesterol levels enough to reduce your risk of 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 Lipitor can lower LDL cholesterol (along with lowering total cholesterol and increasing HDL), taking the medication can lower a person's risk for developing cholesterol-related health problems.
In previous research studies, people taking Lipitor 10 mg were able to, on average, decrease LDL cholesterol by 39 percent, total cholesterol by 29 percent, triglycerides by 19 percent, and raise HDL by 6 percent. With higher dosages of the medication, the effect was even greater.
Some general considerations for when and how to take Lipitor include the following:
- Lipitor comes in tablet form; you take it once a day. Take your dose with a glass of water, with or without food.
- Unlike many other cholesterol medications, it does not matter if you take your dose of Lipitor in the morning or at night; however, you should take it at the same time each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
- For the medication to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. Lipitor will not work if you stop taking it.