Atorvastatin calcium may cause myopathy (muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with creatine kinase (CK) above ten times the upper limit of normal) and rhabdomyolysis (with or without acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria). Rare fatalities have occurred as a result of rhabdomyolysis with statin use, including atorvastatin calcium.
Risk Factors for Myopathy
Risk factors for myopathy include age 65 years or greater, uncontrolled hypothyroidism, renal impairment, concomitant use with certain other drugs, and higher atorvastatin calcium dosage [ see Drug Interactions ( 7.1)].
Steps to Prevent or Reduce the Risk of Myopathy and Rhabdomyolysis
Atorvastatin calcium exposure may be increased by drug interactions due to inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzyme 3A4 (CYP3A4) and/or transporters (e.g., breast cancer resistant protein [BCRP], organic anion-transporting polypeptide [OATP1B1/OATP1B3] and P-glycoprotein [P-gp]), resulting in an increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. Concomitant use of cyclosporine, gemfibrozil, tipranavir plus ritonavir, or glecaprevir plus pibrentasvir with atorvastatin calcium is not recommended. Atorvastatin calcium dosage modifications are recommended for patients taking certain anti-viral, azole antifungals, or macrolide antibiotic medications [ see Dosage and Administration ( 2.6)]. Cases of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis have been reported with atorvastatin coadministered with lipid modifying doses (>1 gram/day) of niacin, fibrates, colchicine, and ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir. Consider if the benefit of use of these products outweighs the increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis [ see Drug Interaction s ( 7.1)].
Concomitant intake of large quantities, more than 1.2 liters daily, of grapefruit juice is not recommended in patients taking atorvastatin calcium [ see Drug Interactions ( 7.1)].
Discontinue atorvastatin calcium tablets if markedly elevated CK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed or suspected. Muscle symptoms and CK increases may resolve if atorvastatin calcium tablets are discontinued. Temporarily discontinue atorvastatin calcium tablets in patients experiencing an acute or serious condition at high risk of developing renal failure secondary to rhabdomyolysis (e.g., sepsis; shock; severe hypovolemia; major surgery; trauma; severe metabolic, endocrine, or electrolyte disorders; or uncontrolled epilepsy). Inform patients of the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis when starting or increasing the atorvastatin calcium dosage.
Instruct patients to promptly report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever.
There have been rare reports of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM), an autoimmune myopathy, associated with statin use. IMNM is characterized by: proximal muscle weakness and elevated serum creatine kinase, which persist despite discontinuation of statin treatment; positive anti-HMG CoA reductase antibody; muscle biopsy showing necrotizing myopathy; and improvement with immunosuppressive agents. Additional neuromuscular and serologic testing may be necessary. Treatment with immunosuppressive agents may be required. Consider risk of IMNM carefully prior to initiation of a different statin. If therapy is initiated with a different statin, monitor for signs and symptoms of IMNM
Statins, like some other lipid-lowering therapies, have been associated with biochemical abnormalities of liver function. Persistent elevations (>3 times the upper limit of normal [ULN] occurring on 2 or more occasions) in serum transaminases occurred in 0.7% of patients who received atorvastatin calcium in clinical trials. The incidence of these abnormalities was 0.2%, 0.2%, 0.6%, and 2.3% for 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg, respectively.
One patient in clinical trials developed jaundice. Increases in liver function tests (LFT) in other patients were not associated with jaundice or other clinical signs or symptoms. Upon dose reduction, drug interruption, or discontinuation, transaminase levels returned to or near pretreatment levels without sequelae. Eighteen of 30 patients with persistent LFT elevations continued treatment with a reduced dose of atorvastatin calcium.
It is recommended that liver enzyme tests be obtained prior to initiating therapy with atorvastatin calcium and repeated as clinically indicated. There have been rare postmarketing reports of fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure in patients taking statins, including atorvastatin. If serious liver injury with clinical symptoms and/or hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice occurs during treatment with atorvastatin calcium, promptly interrupt therapy. If an alternate etiology is not found, do not restart atorvastatin calcium.
Atorvastatin calcium should be used with caution in patients who consume substantial quantities of alcohol and/or have a history of liver disease. Active liver disease or unexplained persistent transaminase elevations are contraindications to the use of atorvastatin calcium [see Contraindications (4)].
Increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels have been reported with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, including atorvastatin calcium.
Statins interfere with cholesterol synthesis and theoretically might blunt adrenal and/or gonadal steroid production. Clinical studies have shown that atorvastatin calcium does not reduce basal plasma cortisol concentration or impair adrenal reserve. The effects of statins on male fertility have not been studied in adequate numbers of patients. The effects, if any, on the pituitary-gonadal axis in premenopausal women are unknown. Caution should be exercised if a statin is administered concomitantly with drugs that may decrease the levels or activity of endogenous steroid hormones, such as ketoconazole, spironolactone, and cimetidine.
Brain hemorrhage was seen in a female dog treated for 3 months at 120 mg/kg/day. Brain hemorrhage and optic nerve vacuolation were seen in another female dog that was sacrificed in moribund condition after 11 weeks of escalating doses up to 280 mg/kg/day. The 120 mg/kg dose resulted in a systemic exposure approximately 16 times the human plasma area-under-the-curve (AUC, 0-24 hours) based on the maximum human dose of 80 mg/day. A single tonic convulsion was seen in each of 2 male dogs (one treated at 10 mg/kg/day and one at 120 mg/kg/day) in a 2-year study. No CNS lesions have been observed in mice after chronic treatment for up to 2 years at doses up to 400 mg/kg/day or in rats at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day. These doses were 6 to 11 times (mouse) and 8 to 16 times (rat) the human AUC (0-24) based on the maximum recommended human dose of 80 mg/day.
CNS vascular lesions, characterized by perivascular hemorrhages, edema, and mononuclear cell infiltration of perivascular spaces, have been observed in dogs treated with other members of this class. A chemically similar drug in this class produced optic nerve degeneration (Wallerian degeneration of retinogeniculate fibers) in clinically normal dogs in a dose-dependent fashion at a dose that produced plasma drug levels about 30 times higher than the mean drug level in humans taking the highest recommended dose.
In a post-hoc analysis of the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) study where atorvastatin calcium 80 mg vs. placebo was administered in 4,731 subjects without CHD who had a stroke or TIA within the preceding 6 months, a higher incidence of hemorrhagic stroke was seen in the atorvastatin calcium 80 mg group compared to placebo (55, 2.3% atorvastatin vs. 33, 1.4% placebo; HR: 1.68, 95% CI: 1.09, 2.59; p=0.0168). The incidence of fatal hemorrhagic stroke was similar across treatment groups (17 vs. 18 for the atorvastatin and placebo groups, respectively). The incidence of nonfatal hemorrhagic stroke was significantly higher in the atorvastatin group (38, 1.6%) as compared to the placebo group (16, 0.7%). Some baseline characteristics, including hemorrhagic and lacunar stroke on study entry, were associated with a higher incidence of hemorrhagic stroke in the atorvastatin group [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].
The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:
Myopathy and Rhabdomyolysis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]
Liver enzyme abnormalities [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]
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