Article at a Glance:

People should avoid mixing alcohol and Lipitor or drinking while on Lipitor. Some of the negative effects of this drug combination may include:

  • Liver damage
  • Decreased circulation of blood in the brain
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of alcohol addiction
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Health problems due to poor control of cholesterol levels

Alcohol and Lipitor

Several potentially adverse side effects may be experienced when someone combines alcohol and medications. One medication that is sometimes taken at the same time as alcohol and may cause negative side effects is Lipitor.

Lipitor, also called by its generic name atorvastatin, is a medication that decreases cholesterol levels and is taken to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in people with high cholesterol. As Lipitor is taken every day, typically for several years or decades, it can be easy for people to forget that this medication is in their system when they decide to drink alcohol. Unfortunately, drinking and using Lipitor can cause some dangerous side effects.

Side Effects of Mixing Lipitor and Alcohol

Lipitor and alcohol have similar negative side effects, and when someone mixes alcohol and Lipitor, these side effects are combined and worsened

When someone mixes Lipitor and alcohol, they may experience:

  • Severe liver damage
  • Decreased blood circulation in the brain
  • Increased risk of a stroke
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Increased health effects from high cholesterol
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Increased risk of alcohol addiction

Liver Damage

The top reason why mixing alcohol and Lipitor is unsafe is that this drug combination can cause severe liver damage. The liver is the organ that filters toxins from the blood, and without it, toxic wastes would build up in the blood, leading to a slow death. Long-term or heavy alcohol use damages this vital organ.

Lipitor alone can also affect the liver, creating an increased risk of liver damage. The risk of liver damage while on Lipitor is so significant that most doctors recommend periodic testing while someone is taking this medication to ensure that the liver is still functioning normally.

The combination of Lipitor and alcohol is even more dangerous to the liver than using one of these substances alone, and this combination may cause fatal liver damage that leads to a slow, lingering death. While some outlier studies say this combination may not be as harmful as initially predicted, the majority of health care professionals and many prestigious organizations, such as the National Institute of Health, agree that liver damage is likely when alcohol and Lipitor are mixed.

Decreased Blood Circulation in the Brain

Another dangerous side effect of taking Lipitor and alcohol at the same time is an increased risk of problems with blood circulation to the brain. Lipitor and alcohol both cause a decrease in the size of some brain arteries. When both substances act upon the brain at the same time, it may lead to a reduction in blood flow and an increased risk of stroke.

While not a side effect of mixing alcohol and Lipitor, there is another negative aspect to mixing these two substances. Lipitor is explicitly used to lower the levels of cholesterol and is typically used by people who have a higher risk of negative health events when Lipitor is not used.

Alcohol causes increased levels of cholesterol when it is used. Taking a medication that lowers cholesterol and at the same time drinking a substance that raises cholesterol levels is counterproductive and may lead to increased health dangers from higher cholesterol levels.

These side effects can increase the risk of injury, health problems or death. If you are on Lipitor and plan to drink alcohol, consult with your physician to discuss the particular risks and dangers of your unique situation. It is possible to repair your liver after long-term alcohol use and Lipitor use, but professional treatment may be necessary.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more

Simon, Harvey B. “On Call: Do Alcohol and Statins Mix?” Harvard Men’s Health Watch. March 2010. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Medscape. ”Atorvastatin (Rx).” June 2018. Accessed April 10, 2019.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol and Medicines.” 2014. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Simakova, Maria N. et al. “Statin Therapy Makes Things Worse for Alcohol Drinkers.” Atlas of Science. July 25, 2019. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.