Atorvastatin (INN) ( /əˌtɔrvəˈstætən/), sold by Pfizer under the trade name Lipitor, is a member of the drug class known as statins, used for lowering blood cholesterol. It also stabilizes plaque and prevents strokes through anti-inflammatory and other mechanisms. 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 first synthesized in 1985 by Bruce Roth while working at Parke-Davis Warner-Lambert Company (now Pfizer). With 2008 sales of US$12.4 billion, Lipitor was the top-selling branded pharmaceutical in the world. U.S. patent protection was scheduled to expire in June 2011. However, Pfizer made an agreement with Ranbaxy Laboratories to delay the generic launch in the U.S. until November 30, 2011.
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