Lipitor Side Effects
Headaches, muscle pain, and joint pain are common side effects that have been reported with Lipitor. Side effects that are less common include lack of appetite, back pain, and constipation. Although most people have no problems when taking the drug, serious side effects of Lipitor, such as unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, should be reported to your healthcare provider right away.
As with any medicine, side effects can occur with Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium). However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it well. If people do develop Lipitor side effects, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. In previous research studies, fewer than 2 percent of people stopped taking the drug because of side effects.
If you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness (especially if accompanied by a fever or feeling of illness), it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Lipitor. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Lipitor side effects with you.)
Common Side Effects of Lipitor
Lipitor has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, with thousands of people worldwide having been evaluated. In these studies, side effects occurring in a group of people taking the drug are always documented and compared to the side effects that occur in a similar group of people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group taking the placebo.
In these studies, the most common Lipitor side effects included:
- Headache -- in up to 16.7 percent of people
- Infections -- up to 10.3 percent
- Muscle pain -- up to 5.6 percent (see Lipitor and Muscle Pain)
- Diarrhea -- up to 5.3 percent (see Lipitor and Diarrhea)
- Joint pain -- up to 5.1 percent (see Lipitor and Joint Pain)
- Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis) -- up to 6.4 percent
- Accidental injury -- up to 4.2 percent.
Other common side effects that were observed in more than 2 to 4 percent of people included:
- Unexplained rash
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- General feeling of weakness (asthenia)
- The flu
- Back pain
- Allergic reaction
- Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis)
- Sore throat (pharyngitis).
There are a number of side effects with Lipitor that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider. These include, but are not limited to:
- Signs of liver damage, such as yellow eyes or skin, upper right abdominal pain, dark urine, and elevated liver enzymes (see Lipitor Liver Side Effects)
- Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you also have a fever or feel ill, since these may be signs of serious breakdown of muscle, known as rhabdomyolysis (see Lipitor and Muscle Pain)
- Significant, unexplained changes in the amount of urine you produce (which may be a sign of kidney problems)
- Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
- A rash
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat.
During clinical studies, there were a number of other side effects that occurred in less than 2 percent of people while they were taking Lipitor. Because these side effects are so uncommon, it is difficult to tell whether they were caused by the medication or another factor.
Some of these rare side effects of Lipitor include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of appetite
- Intestinal ulcer
- Bloody nose
- Memory loss (amnesia)
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction or ED)
- Increased liver enzymes (see Lipitor Liver Side Effects)
- Ringing of the ears (tinnitus)
- Fainting (syncope)
- Hearing loss
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Weight gain (see Lipitor and Weight Gain)