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Lipitor vs Zocor - Doctor Opinions

Updated on May 30, 2010

If you've been taking Lipitor, you've probably thought about switching over to Zocor, the generic version of the same drug. But you might be hesitant because you've heard the rumors that Zocor just isn't up to par in comparison with Lipitor. How do you know whether it's worth the financial savings to take the chance to try out Zocor instead of Lipitor? The truth is that you probably can't know for sure because doctors are still divided in their opinions about the use of Zocor instead of Lipitor.

Here are some of the things that experts are saying about Lipitor vs. Zocor:

  • According to a Washington Post article comparing the two drugs, Dr. John Tsai said that Lipitor is better than Zocor at reducing nonfata heart attacks, angiograms and bypass surgery and that it is better at lowering cholesterol as well. However, it should be noted that Tsai works for Pfizer which is the company that sells Lipitor. In that same article, a chief pharmacy officer at Wellpoint Inc. named Robert Seidman says that although some people will continue to use Lipitor, many will switch to Zocor since the results may be the same.
  • In another article, this one from The New York Times Business section, a different Lipitor doctor, Dr. Berelowitz says that Zocor and other generic brands of Lipitor aren't as potent as the brand name drug. However, this article points out that the truth of this is irrelevant since most people who use the drug don't require the strongest dose anyway.
  • A second New York Times article confirms this. It quotes a Dr. JoAnne Foody who said that although she would likely continue to prescribe Lipitor to the few patients who needed the maximum dosage, she would switch other patients to Zocor since it has the same results at the lower levels.
  • Lipitor advertises doctor opinions on its website. They have Dr. Andrey Manoy listed on the site as saying that Lipitor is safe and effective. However, he obviously wasn't asked about Zocor. The Zocor site doesn't offer any such testimonials either way.
  • Of course, there are some doctors who say that neither Lipitor or Zocor should be used. For example, in an interview with Medication Sense, Dr. Duane Graveline discussed the fact that he took Lipitor and it had grave effects on his memory. This is a side-effect which is frequently cited by people who are seeking alternatives to taking either Lipitor or Zocor.

It is difficult to pinpoint most doctors on the issue of Lipitor vs. Zocor because of the obvious medical and insurance issues that come up around this controversial topic. In general, doctors with moderate opinions tend to say that Zocor is a low-cost alternative that makes sense for those people who are on low levels of the drug. However, they suggest that Lipitor is the best drug for those people who require the highest dosages. There are doctors on either side of the issue, of course, including those doctors and naturopaths who recommend finding an alternative that isn't either of these drugs. Ultimately, it is probably time - and not the opinions of doctors - that will tell whether Lipitor, Zocor or some other alternative is the way to go.


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  • profile image

    retirednow 6 years ago

    I was on LIPITOR for about 5 years without any problems. Then my pharmacy switched me to a generic (don't know what it was but in Ontario they can do this) . Sometime in the next few months when I had my annual check-up I had problems with liver functions that showed up on the blood tests. So the doctor took me off Lipitor and my liver is now back to normal, but my cholesterol is rising again. I just heard a program on CBC radio where the guest was talking about problems with some generics (in his case it was a drug for epilepsy) and after research he has concluded that for many drugs the generic is fine, but not for all - and that the problem is not with the active ingredient in the medication, but with the fillers. Anyway, that got me thinking that perhaps my liver problem was reyated to having switched to a generic and not to taking a statin in general. Does anubody else have a similar story?

  • profile image

    Frank 7 years ago

    Do you have terrible Kidney stones that last forever?

    Then stop taking Lipitor!!!

  • profile image

    gio 8 years ago

    i'm not planning to switch to zocor. i'm contented with lipitor. i buy it online in

  • profile image

    James Graham 8 years ago

    I am man 69 years of age I had TRIPLE-BYEPASS SURGERY in 2003 and have been taking ZETIA and 20 MGS LIPITOR but LIPITOR is very expensive so my doctor advised me that 40 MGS of ZOCOR is the SAME IS this true, and if so in your opinion would it be smart for me to change right now my LDL is 65---HDL 60 --TRIGLERIDES 85...I do walk 5-6 miles everyday and am careful with my diet ???

    thank you for any help you maybe able to give me

    Jim Graham

  • hilltrekker profile image

    hilltrekker 8 years ago

    It is a useful article indeed.

    Pierced by ego of a doctor

  • G-Ma Johnson profile image

    Merle Ann Johnson 10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

    I have tried both those pills and my experience has been not good. it made my muscles is a sad thing. they are a statin drug . I have tried zeta which works with the intestines not the liver and for me worked wonderfully. although i don't take any of them now cause i don't really believe high cholesterol has anything to do with heart attacks. I am not a doctor..just been through a lot and take all kinds of organic natural stuff.. Eating right, exercising and believing is my way now. I mean i am 68 and have no big problems. Great article and good advise...G-Ma :o) hugs