Dec 082011

It’s finally here. The past week saw the introduction of a generic for one of the most popular — and expensive — medications that senior citizens take.  That medication is Lipitor (Atorvastatin), which is a potent cholesterol lowering agent.   The reason that Lipitor has been such a popular medication is that it has been one of the strongest medications to lower LDL, often called by patients as the “bad” cholesterol.  Up until recently, the only medications that seemed to have similar cholesterol lowering ability were Zocor and Crestor. Zocor’s generic Simvastatin has been a medication that has been around for a while, and even it’s generic versus the generic Lipitor will still be much cheaper for the next few years (at minimum).

While many patients can get their LDL numbers down with Simvastatin, many health care professionals feel that Simvastatin doesn’t have quite the effectiveness that Lipitor or Crestor do.  For that reason, Lipitor in particular has been very popular and widely used. If you or someone you know has been on Lipitor, they could save quite a bit of money in the coming months.  Generic Lipitor will often have a lower copay through insurance companies immediately.  Some insurance companies have cut deals with Pfizer, the maker of brand Lipitor, which will result in a lower copay for the brand, so even if your insurance doesn’t cover the generic, some savings should be seen.

Patients that have been taking Crestor may want to talk to their prescriber, and see if either generic Lipitor or generic Zocor is feasible. Those medications will now be much cheaper than Crestor for patients.

We have another piece of advice. Be very wary of searching for cheap generic Lipitor online. Some internet pharmacies may not be reputable. We recommend steering clear of pharmacy sites that patient’s are not familiar with. This would go along with all branded prescription medications like Viagra, Crestor, Nexium or others. Stick with a local pharmacy or your pharmacy insurance’s mail order and ALWAYS use only what your doctor has prescribed. There exist many fraudulent pharmacy suppliers that have been found to have counterfeit medications. Stick with your local pharmacist, and ask for their opinion on how to save money!

We will discuss other strategies for lowering cholesterol in people with high LDL in coming posts.