Atorvastatin, marketed under the trade name Lipitor among others,is a member of the drug class known as statins, which are used primarily for lowering blood cholesterol and for prevention of events associated with cardiovascular disease. Like all statins, atorvastatin works by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme found in liver tissue that plays a key role in production of cholesterol in the body.
Atorvastatin was discovered by Bruce Roth and coworkers at Parke-Davis, since acquired by Warner-Lambert. Although atorvastatin was the fifth drug in the class of statins to be developed, clinical trials showed that atorvastatin caused a more dramatic reduction in LDL-C than the other statin drugs. From 1996 to 2012 under the trade name Lipitor, atorvastatin became the world’s best-selling drug of all time, with more than US$125 billion in sales over approximately 14.5 years.