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How and when to take atorvastatin

Always take atorvastatin as instructed by your doctor and follow the instructions that come with your medicine.

Dosage and strength

Atorvastatin comes as:

  • 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 60mg and 80mg tablets
  • 10mg and 20mg chewable tablets

The usual dose for adults is between 10mg and 80mg a day.

Your dose depends on the reason why you're taking it, your cholesterol levels, and what other medicines you're taking.

Do not reduce your dose without talking to your doctor first.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you're unsure how much to take.

Dosage for children

The usual starting dose for children is 10mg, taken once a day. This dose may be increased to a maximum of 80mg.

Your child's doctor will work out the right dose for your child. The dose will depend on why they need atorvastatin, their age and any other medicines they are already taking.

How to take it

Take atorvastatin once a day. You can choose to take it at any time, as long as you stick to the same time every day. This prevents your blood levels from becoming too high or too low.

Sometimes doctors may recommend taking it in the evening. This is because your body makes most cholesterol at night. If you're not sure when to take your medicine, ask a pharmacist or your doctor for advice.

You can take atorvastatin with or without food, but taking it after food may help if it makes you feel sick.

Swallow atorvastatin tablets whole with a drink of water. If you've been given chewable tablets, you can chew them or swallow them whole with a drink of water.

How long to take it for

Depending on the reason why you're taking atorvastatin, you may have to take it for a long time, even for the rest of your life.

You may want to stop atorvastatin if you think you're having side effects. Talk to your doctor first to see if it really is a side effect of atorvastatin or an unrelated problem. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose or change your medicine.

You will not get any withdrawal symptoms. However, the benefits will only continue for as long as you take it. If you stop taking atorvastatin without starting a different treatment, your cholesterol level may rise again. This increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

If you want to stop taking your medicine, it's important to find another way to lower your cholesterol.

If you forget to take it

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and take the next one at the usual time.

If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

If you take too much

Taking more than your prescribed dose of atorvastatin is unlikely to harm you. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you're worried, or if you take more than 1 extra dose.

Page last reviewed: 7 March 2022
Next review due: 7 March 2025