FAQ: Generic Lipitor
Lipitor Goes Generic: What It Means for You
Should I switch to another statin drug?
Maybe. Lipitor didn't get to be the best-selling prescription drug of all time without what Santa calls "brilliant marketing."
"Lipitor has been marketed so heavily, this may be a good time to ask your doctor about the best new evidence about statins," Santa says. "For example, if you are a woman at low risk of heart disease and only have a small elevation in LDL cholesterol, the evidence does not support lifetime treatment with statin drugs."
Cardiologist Robert Ostfeld, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, New York, agrees.
"Whether to continue to take statin drugs should be regularly assessed by one's doctor," Ostfeld tells WebMD. "Ideally one should get to one's cholesterol goal by healthy lifestyle. So it is possible for you to reduce your statin dose or even eliminate need for the drug by eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise."
On the other hand, your doctor might find you need to increase your statin dose or even switch to a more potent statin.
Should I be taking Lipitor or another statin?
Everybody should keep their cholesterol under control. Statin drugs such as Lipitor are powerful cholesterol-lowering medicines.
But for most people, statins are not the best way to lower cholesterol, cardiologist Ostfeld says.
"Far and away the most important thing is that you follow a healthy lifestyle," he says. "That includes a whole-foods, plant-based diet, and regular exercise."
Statin drugs are for people who, despite following a healthy lifestyle, still need help lowering their cholesterol.
They are also for people with symptoms of cholesterol blockage of the heart or arteries, who need immediate cholesterol lowering. These symptoms include:
- Chest pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Discomfort radiating down the arm or neck
A person with such symptoms should seek medical care.