5 Common Misconceptions About Atorvastatin
Atorvastatin misconceptions are common; these things range from drowsiness to liver damage. Knowing the facts before you start taking medication can give you peace of mind in your routine.
However, half of the people who begin the treatment of atorvastatin, discontinue it within the first six months. Of those individuals, majority restart that very same treatment later – only to continue needing the medication long-term.
Although it ranks on the top ten list of most commonly prescribed medications, its’ bad reputation may be on a top ten list itself. Unfortunately, reputations don’t always give the best (or truthful) representations.
Below we discuss common misconceptions about atorvastatin and even go over the brand name, Lipitor.
What is Atorvastatin
Healthcare providers often recommend the generic prescription, Atorvastatin to patients with high cholesterol levels. This medication is a type of statin drug, this class of drug’s design is to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
High cholesterol is plaque build-up in the bloodstream. This can be extremely dangerous if left without treatment. Doctors often suggest patients continue to take medication until further notice. Statin drugs are known to lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.
As with any drug, side effects and adverse reactions are possible; patients experiencing reactions should contact their doctor immediately.
The misconceptions surrounding Atorvastatin are equally as popular as the drug itself. So, let’s set the record straight and clear up some frequent rumors floating around – as so many consumers believe to be true.
1. Atorvastatin Causes Drowsiness, Headaches, and Rashes
This one is a half-truth, half-misconception. Of the more common misconceptions, Atorvastatin doesn’t cause drowsiness, dizziness or rashes on the body.
On the other hand, it’s true that headaches are a common side effect. Contact your doctor if any of these effects continue or get worse; as they’re not normal reactions.
Always seek medical advice from a healthcare professional about negative reactions to any medications you take. If you wish to report your adverse effects, call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
2. Cancer Risks are Higher When Taking Atorvastatin
When it comes to cancer risks, there’s nothing that proves the idea that atorvastatin (or any statin drug) raises your risk for cancer.
It’s quite the contrary. In some breast cancer patients, recurrence rates went down after the proper statins were given – following a diagnosis. Both long, and short-term statin therapy may be beneficial to patients.
Pancreatic cancer is certainly the deadliest of all cancers, even with recent advances in treatment options. Atorvastatin and similar drugs have shown to lower the risk factors and improve survival in some pancreatic cancer patients.
Researchers compare and evaluate the use of these drugs with lung cancer risks in COPD patients. The results show that statin drugs to have the highest potential for chemo-preventive.
A substantially lower risk for lung cancer was also found among the patients using atorvastatin. Meanwhile, a higher risk for those not taking the medication or other statins.
3. Atorvastatin Causes Liver Damage
The statement atorvastatin may damage the liver is a partial truth. Although, doctors have had some serious concerns in very few and rare situations (3% of cases, at most).
Statins can cause liver blood tests to rise, which is a cause for alarm. This is uncommon and usually occurs within the first 3 months of taking a high dose of the medication.
Common misconceptions are that people taking atorvastatin have a higher risk of liver injury. This information is incorrect.
The liver injury rate was the same in people taking and not taking the drug.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed its recommendation for liver function tests. Now, only patients with pre-existing liver conditions should get regular functional testing.
In the past, anyone receiving statin treatment would receive these function tests. Now we know this is unnecessary and liver damage is rarely a risk.
4. Depression Symptoms Increase on Atorvastatin
The association of a higher risk of depression or suicide isn’t found in Atorvastatin.
While untrue, some patients have mentioned their concerns about increasing suicidal thoughts and depression when taking atorvastatin.
Any person experiencing an increase in depression symptoms should seek medical attention. New medications, treatments, and dosage may seem like the culprit – but no evidence is found to support this theory.
5. Atorvastatin Increases the Likelihood of Arthritis and Joint Pain
Almost half (48%) of atorvastatin users report muscle aches after treatment. However, over the years, experts continue to research the topic.
More patients report they’re experiencing muscle weakness after taking the drug. Although, when it comes to joint pains and aches or arthritis, atorvastatin isn’t known to be the cause.
Even with research on the matter, 9 – 12% of statin users oddly report achy joints; and experts aren’t positive of the cause. So, your new medication is probably not the reason behind the pain in your joint.
Developing aches in the knees, hips, shoulders, or the smaller joints of the feet and hands should be brought to your doctors’ attention.
Medicare Coverage for Atorvastatin vs Lipitor
Part D of Medicare provides coverage for prescription drugs such as atorvastatin, and Lipitor. Both brands help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, but the cost may vary.
Lipitor, the brand name version, is generally more expensive for beneficiaries. Atorvastatin is generic; and likely a cheaper version of the drug.
Most Medicare Part D and other health insurance plans include atorvastatin on the plan’s formulary. If not, there may be other medications in the same class that may work just as well – at a lower cost.
Other ways to save on drug costs include up to 50% savings each month! It may be possible by getting a higher dosage of the same medication and splitting the pill in half.
For example, say you normally you take 20mg doses of medication. Although it may sound strange, the 40mg of that drug split in half is a 20mg dose.
When done with doctor and pharmacist approval, splitting pills can be economical. Before doing this, make sure your pharmacist agrees this is a safe choice.
Save in Costs for Atorvastatin
Drug manufacturer’s coupons are often found on their website. This may help consumers cut down on out-of-pocket expenses.
Other programs for assistance are also available to those with a low-income. Federal and state government programs, manufacture discounts, as well as non-profit and other organizations’ programs may help reduce the price of statin medications.
Eligibility for assistance often depends on the individual’s situation. Factors may include things like health insurance status, income, and others.
With Medicare Part D coverage, Atorvastatin mail order pharmacy delivery could be the most affordable option. Give us a call at the number above or fill out an online rate form to get coverage today!