Ask the doctor: Should I switch to generic Lipitor?
Q. After a heart attack six years ago, I went on Lipitor (atorvastatin) because my doctor said it was proven to reduce the risk of a second heart attack in high-risk people like me. Three years ago, I switched to a generic (simvastatin) to save money. Now that Lipitor is going generic, should I switch back? And can I be assured that the generic version will be as effective as brand-name Lipitor at preventing a second heart attack?
A. The statins are a great class of drugs, and I don't think there is any reason to switch from one statin to another as long as you are reaching your LDL cholesterol goal and are not having side effects.
I have switched many of my own patients from Lipitor to a generic statin to help them save money, making sure that their LDL was controlled on their new medication. Despite Lipitor going generic, I won't be switching them back if they are "at goal." But if their LDL is still elevated on an older generic statin, I'll try generic Lipitor.