Lipitor or Simvastatin: Comparing Cost and Effectiveness

Dear Ask The Doctor:  I switched from lipitor to simvastatin because my insurance wouldnt not pay for it anymore. What do you think of this drug? Does it have the same side effects as lipitor? I would like to stay on lipitor but their is no generic. The cost of lipitor is extremely high and I just cant afford it. Thank you

Dear Patient:  Lipitor, known as atorvastatin, is from a family of drugs known as the statins. Simvastatin also belongs to this family. Studies suggest that atorvastatin is slightly superior in action, without increasing the side-effect profile. However no difference in cardiovascular outcomes has been proven, when the two drugs were compared. Both of these drugs have a similar mode of action, and therefore potentially similar side-effects. If you cannot afford Lipitor, Simvastatin is an affordable suitable alternative as a cholesterol-lowering agent.

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