Lipitor's Dosage: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Damilola Omopariola, PharmD, BCACP

Lipitor: Introduction

Lipitor is a brand-name prescription medication that contains the active drug atorvastatin. It belongs to a class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. This medication is often referred to as a statin drug. Lipitor is available in a generic form.

This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to:

  • manage high cholesterol in adults
  • manage high cholesterol in children ages 10 to 17 years in certain situations
  • decrease risk of cardiovascular issues, including heart attack, stroke, and the need for heart surgery, in certain adults

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Lipitor’s dosage and details on how to take the drug. For a comprehensive overview of Lipitor, view this article.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking Lipitor, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Lipitor. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Always follow the dosage of Lipitor that your doctor prescribes.

Lipitor: Dosage

Commonly recommended dosages for Lipitor are shown below.

You should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your condition.

Lipitor’s form and strengths

Lipitor is available as an oral tablet. It comes in the following strengths:

  • 10 milligrams (mg)
  • 20 mg
  • 40 mg
  • 80 mg

Typical recommended dosage

Usually, doctors will prescribe a low dosage of Lipitor at the start of treatment. Then, they may adjust the dosage over time, if needed. Ultimately, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dosage of Lipitor that gives the desired effect.

The usual recommended starting dosage of Lipitor is 10 mg to 20 mg per day. Your doctor will monitor your cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk factors throughout your treatment. In some cases, they may recommend a dosage increase. The maximum dosage recommended for Lipitor is 80 mg once per day.

Typical maintenance dosages are described in the table below.

Purpose Dose Frequency
manage high cholesterol 10 mg to 80 mg once per day
reduce risk of cardiovascular issues 10 mg to 80 mg once per day

Children’s dosage

Lipitor is approved to manage high cholesterol in children ages 10 to 17 years in certain situations. Specifically, it is used to manage a type of inherited high cholesterol called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.

The recommended starting dosage for this condition is 10 mg per day. Then, your child’s doctor may increase the dosage if needed. The usual recommended maintenance dosage of Lipitor for this condition is 10 mg to 20 mg once per day.

Length of treatment

Doctors typically prescribe Lipitor as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Lipitor: Common questions about dosage

Below are some common questions related to Lipitor’s dosage.

What are the highest dosage and lowest dosage of Lipitor? Does Lipitor have a recommended dosage range?

Your recommended dosage of Lipitor will vary based on many factors, including your age and others related to your condition.

The lowest prescribed dosage of Lipitor is 10 milligrams (mg) once per day. The highest dosage of the drug is 80 mg once per day. The recommended dosage ranges from 10 mg to 80 mg once per day.

Your doctor will monitor your cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk factors throughout treatment to determine the best Lipitor dosage for you.

Do doctors prescribe a Lipitor dosage of 5 mg daily or 80 mg daily?

Usually, doctors won’t prescribe a dosage of 5 mg of Lipitor per day. This is because the lowest recommended dose is 10 mg for the conditions that Lipitor treats.

Lipitor tablets are available in an 80-mg strength. So, it’s possible that a doctor may prescribe a dosage of 80 mg per day. Usually, your doctor will recommend that you start with a dosage of 10 mg to 20 mg once per day. After monitoring your cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk factors during Lipitor treatment, they may increase your dosage. In some cases, they may recommend increasing it to 40 mg or 80 mg once per day. 

Your doctor will determine the dosage that’s right for you.

Is there a normal dosage of Lipitor?

The normal or average dosage of Lipitor can range from 10 mg to 80 mg once per day. Your usual dose may depend on other factors. These can include your age as well as your condition and its severity.

So, your doctor will likely recommend starting at a common dosage of 10 mg to 20 mg per day. However, they may increase it over time to a dosage that’s best for you and your condition.

Does Lipitor have a certain dosage for the elderly?

No, Lipitor doesn’t have a specific dosage for older adults. This usually refers to adults ages 65 years and older.

In clinical studies, no differences in Lipitor’s safety or effectiveness were found between older and younger adults taking the drug. However, it’s possible that older adults taking the drug may be at an increased risk of side effects.

If you’re an older adult taking Lipitor, talk with your doctor about the best dosage for you.

Lipitor: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider several factors when prescribing the dosage for Lipitor. These factors include:

  • your age
  • the condition you’re taking Lipitor to treat
  • the severity of your condition

Your prescribed dosage may also vary based on other medical conditions you have.

Recommended adjustments in dosage

During your treatment with Lipitor, it’s possible that your doctor may adjust your dosage. This may depend on the factors listed just above and how Lipitor is working for you.

Lipitor: How to take 

Lipitor comes as a tablet. You’ll take it once per day by swallowing it. You can take your dose with or without food.

Your doctor may recommend that you take Lipitor around the same time each day. Doing so will help maintain a consistent amount of the drug in your body. This also can help Lipitor work effectively.

Lipitor’s manufacturer has not stated whether the tablets can be chewed, split, or crushed. If you have difficulty swallowing tablets, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to take this form of medication. Also, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about taking your medication.


If you find it challenging to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They may also offer labels containing a scannable code that your smartphone can convert from text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If it’s difficult for you to open medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can dispense Lipitor in an easy-open container. They also may recommend ways to help make it easier to open the bottles.

Lipitor: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Lipitor, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s been more than 12 hours since you missed your dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the usual time. Never take two doses of Lipitor at a time to make up for a missed dose.

View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

Lipitor: Overdose

For some drugs, taking more than the recommended dosage may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose. Do not take more Lipitor than your doctor prescribes.

What to do if you take too much Lipitor

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or a local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Lipitor: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for additional information about Lipitor’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosages presented in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Lipitor that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any medications you’re taking, do not change your Lipitor dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Lipitor with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Lipitor. For comprehensive details on Lipitor, see this article.
  • Drug comparison. To learn how Lipitor compares with Crestor, read this article.
  • Information on side effects. If you’d like to know about possible side effects of Lipitor, view this article.
  • Details about high cholesterol. To learn more about high cholesterol, which Lipitor is used to treat, see this article.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades 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.

Medical Reviewer: Damilola Omopariola, PharmD, BCACP
Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 24
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