The short answer:
You can crush atorvastatin and add it to foods or dissolve it in water if you have difficulties swallowing solid atorvastatin tablets. Also, even if atorvastatin isn’t scored, you can cut it in half without affecting its activity. Find more in this article.
- Atorvastatin tablets aren’t scored and can’t be easily cut in half.
- Your doctor may recommend cutting atorvastatin into halves, you can use pill splitters to cut it easily.
- Capsules and sustained-release or extended-release tablets can’t be cut in halves. These type of dosage forms may lose their effectiveness if they are cut or divided into halves.
- Atorvastatin can be crushed and dissolved in water to prepare suspension for those who have difficulties swallowing the oral solid dosage form.
- Chewable Lipitor (atorvastatin) is available in certain countries such as the United Kingdom in different strengths such as 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg.
Can I cut atorvastatin in half?
Cutting pills can help you lower the cost by dividing the pill into two halves to be taken in two different doses. However, not all pills can be cut, scored pills can be divided easily.
Not all cholesterol-lowering agents are scored, only gemfibrozil (Lopid) tablets are scored. however, your doctor can recommend you cut pills into halves.
Atorvastatin tablets are not scored and cannot be easily divided or cut into halves.
Can atorvastatin be broken in half?
The answer is yes, you may be allowed to cut atorvastatin into halves.
Even atorvastatin (Lipitor) has no groove to help you cut it into halves, however, atorvastatin isn’t a coated tablet that doesn’t have a special coat or cover that prevents its breakdown. Therefore, cutting atorvastatin tables is not expected to alter its activity. Thus, atorvastatin is among the statins which can be cut in half.
How to cut atorvastatin tablets?
You can cut tablets easily if there is a groove in the tablets. This groove helps you to cut the pills into two equal halves which is important to uniform your daily dose.
In case there is no groove in the pills, such as in the case of atorvastatin, it is not easy to cut the tablet into equal halves easily with your hand especially if you have poor vision or arthritis which are commonly reported in the elderly.
A tablet splitter is an inexpensive tool that can help you to divide tablets easily. You can get it from the pharmacy or online.
It is not recommended to use a knife or scissors to cut your pills, they aren’t safe and of course, can cut the pills into unequal parts. Therefore, without a pill-splitter, you can ask your pharmacist to cut your pills by himself.
Which statins cannot be cut in half?
Certain pills are designed to be taken entirely and aren’t allowed to be cut into halves even with pill splitters. In these cases, cutting the pills can affect their activity.
The following pills cannot be cut in halves and should be taken entirely.
Sustained-release or extended-release pills
These formulations are designed to be taken entirely and can’t be divided into halves. They are designed to release their active ingredients slowly through extended time.
You can find symbols like SR (Sustained Release), ER (Extended Release), DR (Delayed Release), and CR (Controlled Release) after the name of the drug such as Niaspan extended-release niacin (Niaspan).
The cholesterol members that are formulated as extended-release or sustained-release pills that can’t be cut into halves include the following:
- Extended-release fluvastatin (Lescol XL)
- Extended-release lovastatin (Altoprev)
The capsule is another dosage form that can’t be cut in half. Capsules are made of soft or hard gelatin in which the drug is filled.
If you try to cut capsules into halves, of course, you will lose most of the drug material inside.
Statins that are formulated as capsules that you cannot cut in halves include the following
- Gemfibrozil (capsule)
- Rosuvastatin capsules
Which statins can be cut in half?
The following statins can be cut in half without losing their effectiveness.
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
- Lovastatin (Mevacor)
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
- Ezetimibe (Zetia)
Can I crush atorvastatin?
There is no restriction that prevents atorvastatin from being crushed.
It is not a coated tablet and you can crush it and add it to soft food. It doesn’t show a bitter or unpleasant taste when crushed.
A study published in 2017 examined atorvastatin suspension which was prepared by crushing atorvastatin sodium solid tablets.
Results showed that:
- Atorvastatin sodium solid tablets can be crushed to prepare a suspension with good organoleptic properties.
- The crushed tablets showed complete dissolution within 30 min.
- Atorvastatin suspension prepared from the crushed atorvastatin tablets showed a better dissolution profile than that prepared from pure atorvastatin powder.
- The prepared suspension was stable with unchanged PH.
- The authors recommend that community pharmacists can prepare the atorvastatin suspension using atorvastatin sodium solid tablets for patients with swallowing difficulties or feeding tubes who are unable to take medicines in solid oral dosage forms.
Can I dissolve atorvastatin in water?
There is no problem to crush atorvastatin and add it to water. Atorvastatin sodium solid tablets can be crushed and easily dissolved in water to be taken in liquid dosage form.
This can help elderly patients who have difficulty swallowing intact tablets.
Is there chewable atorvastatin?
Atorvastatin is commonly available as tablets to be swollen intact or cut in half if it is needed. However, chewable tablets of atorvastatin are available in some countries.
You can find chewable Lipitor (atorvastatin) 5 mg chewable tablets in the United Kingdom. Also, Lipitor 10, 20, and 40 mg is available as chewable tablets (Ref).
Lipitor chewable tablets can be chewed or swallowed intact with water with or without food.