If you have high cholesterol or certain risk factors for heart disease or stroke, your doctor might suggest Lipitor (atorvastatin) as a treatment option for you.

Lipitor is a prescription medication that’s used along with diet and exercise to:

Lipitor belongs to a group of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (commonly called statins). They work by blocking a certain type of enzyme (protein) that produces cholesterol in your body.

This article describes the dosages of Lipitor, including its form, strengths, and how to take the drug. To learn more about Lipitor, see this in-depth article.

Note: This article covers Lipitor’s typical dosages, which are provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But when using Lipitor, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

In this section, we’ll discuss the recommended dosages of Lipitor. But be sure to take the exact dosage your doctor prescribes. They will determine the best dosage for you.

What form does Lipitor come in?

Lipitor comes as tablets that you take by mouth.

What strengths is Lipitor available in?

Lipitor is available in four strengths: 10 milligrams (mg), 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg.

What are the typical dosages of Lipitor?

Your doctor will typically follow dosage recommendations and guidelines for your condition based on studies of the drug. They’ll determine the right dosage for you and adjust your dosage over time if needed.

The starting dose and maximum dose of Lipitor you’re prescribed may depend on:

  • the condition being treated
  • the severity of the condition Lipitor is being used to treat
  • your age
  • any health risk factors you may have (such as kidney disease or liver disease)
  • other medications you may be taking

The typical dosage range of Lipitor is 10 mg to 80 mg taken once per day.

The normal starting dosage is 10 mg to 20 mg taken once per day. But if you have very high cholesterol, your doctor may have you start with a dosage of 40 mg taken once per day. Your doctor will check your cholesterol levels after a few weeks to see how well Lipitor is working for you. They may adjust your dosage at this time if needed.

What’s the dosage of Lipitor for children?

Lipitor is approved for use in children ages 10 to 17 years with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (a genetic condition that leads to high cholesterol). The recommended starting dosage of Lipitor in children is 10 mg taken once per day. The typical dosage range is 10 mg to 20 mg taken once per day.

Is Lipitor used long term?

Yes, Lipitor is typically used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Lipitor is safe and effective for you, it’s likely that you’ll use it long term.

Dosage adjustments

You may need dosage adjustments for Lipitor depending on certain factors. These may include:

  • the severity of your condition (your doctor may prescribe a higher starting dose if your cholesterol levels are very high)
  • if you’re taking other medications along with Lipitor
  • your age
  • if your cholesterol is lowered due to changes in your diet or lifestyle

Your doctor will check your cholesterol levels on a regular basis, and they’ll adjust your dose if needed. This may mean an increase or decrease in your Lipitor dose.

Lipitor is used along with diet and exercise to treat your condition. Your Lipitor dose may need to be lowered if your cholesterol and triglyceride levels improve.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about Lipitor.

What’s the dosage range for Lipitor? Could I be prescribed a dose of 5 mg?

The typical Lipitor dosage range is 10 milligrams (mg) to 80 mg taken once per day. Your dose may depend on the severity of your condition and any other medications you’re taking along with Lipitor.

There’s no 5-mg dose of Lipitor dosage available in the United States. But there is a 5-mg chewable tablet available in other countries, such as the United Kingdom.

Your doctor will determine the best dose to treat your condition, and you should take the exact dose they prescribe.

If you have questions about the Lipitor dose that’s right for you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is there a certain dosage of Lipitor used for older adults?

No, there’s no specific recommended dosage for older adults taking Lipitor. But according to studies, Lipitor may be more effective at lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in older adults compared with younger people taking the same dose.

It’s important to note, though, that older adults have higher risks of drug side effects due to age-related factors such as taking multiple medications and having other health problems.

Your doctor will determine the best Lipitor dose for you based on your overall health and the severity of the condition you’re taking Lipitor to treat.

Lipitor comes as a tablet that you’ll take by mouth once each day. You shouldn’t cut, chew, or crush the tablets. Doing so can affect how the drug works. If you have trouble swallowing your Lipitor tablets, ask your pharmacist for suggestions.

Your doctor will provide dosage instructions for how to take Lipitor. You can take your Lipitor dose at any time of day, but try to take it around the same time each day.

The dosage of Lipitor you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Lipitor to treat
  • your age
  • other conditions you may have (see “Dosage adjustments” under “What is Lipitor’s dosage?”)
  • any other medications you’re taking for your condition

If you forget to take your dose of Lipitor, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s been more than 12 hours since you were supposed to take your dose, just skip the missed dose. Then, take your next dose at its regular time.

You shouldn’t take two doses of Lipitor at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so can raise your risk of side effects from the drug.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Lipitor on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm, downloading a reminder app, or setting a timer on your phone. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Don’t use more Lipitor than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Lipitor

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Lipitor. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or you can use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

The sections above describe the typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Lipitor for you, they will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you shouldn’t change your dosage of Lipitor without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Lipitor exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Could my Lipitor dosage be reduced during my treatment for any reason?
  • Does my dosage of Lipitor need to change if I have diabetes?
  • Would I take a lower dosage of Lipitor if I’m taking other medications for heart disease?
  • Would my dosage of Lipitor be increased if the drug isn’t working for me?

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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.