Pravastatin

Pronunciation

Generic Name: pravastatin (PRAV a STAT in)
Brand Names: Pravachol

What is pravastatin?

Pravastatin (Pravachol) belongs to a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." It reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).

Pravastatin is used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat) in the blood.

Pravastatin is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart complications in people with diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors

Pravastatin is used in adults and children who are at least 8 years old.

Important information

You should not take pravastatin if you are allergic to it, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease.

Stop taking pravastatin and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Before taking pravastatin, tell your doctor if you have ever had liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder, or if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.

In rare cases, pravastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.

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Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Pravastatin will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.

There are many other drugs that can increase your risk of serious medical problems if you take them together with pravastatin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Pravastatin is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take pravastatin if you are allergic to it, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease.

To make sure you can safely take pravastatin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • history of liver disease;

  • history of kidney disease;

  • diabetes;

  • a thyroid disorder; or

  • if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.

In rare cases, pravastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use. Certain other drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems, and it is very important that your doctor knows if you are using any of them:

  • gemfibrozil (Lopid), fenofibric acid (Fibricor, Trilipix), or fenofibrate (Antara, Fenoglide, Lipofen, Lofibra, Tricor, Triglide);

  • medicines that contain niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others); or

  • drugs that weaken your immune system, such as steroids, cancer medicine, or medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection, such as cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take pravastatin if you are pregnant. Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking pravastatin.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Pravastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking this medicine.

How should I take pravastatin?

Take pravastatin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Pravastatin is usually taken once a day, with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

You may need to stop using pravastatin for a short time if you have:

  • uncontrolled seizures;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as high or low potassium levels in your blood);

  • severely low blood pressure;

  • a severe infection or illness; or

  • surgery or a medical emergency.

To be sure this medicine is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

Pravastatin is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

You may need to take pravastatin on a long-term basis for the treatment of high cholesterol.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid?

If you also take cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran) or colestipol (Colestid), avoid taking them within 1 hour after or 4 hours before you take pravastatin.

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Pravastatin will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with pravastatin. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Pravastatin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to pravastatin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking pravastatin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness;

  • confusion, memory problems;

  • fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine;

  • chest pain;

  • increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss);

  • swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all; or

  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious pravastatin side effects may include:

  • headache;

  • mild muscle pain;

  • diarrhea;

  • mild skin rash; or

  • dizziness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Pravastatin Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose of Pravastatin for Hyperlipidemia:

Initial dose: 40 mg once daily.
Maintenance dose: 40 to 80 mg once daily.

Usual Adult Dose of Pravastatin for Myocardial Infarction -- Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 40 mg once daily.
Maintenance dose: 40 to 80 mg once daily.

Usual Adult Dose for Revascularization Procedures -- Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 40 mg once daily.
Maintenance dose: 40 to 80 mg once daily.

Usual Adult Dose of Pravastatin for Ischemic Stroke -- Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 40 mg once daily.
Maintenance dose: 40 to 80 mg once daily.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia:

8 to 13 years: 20 mg orally once daily
14 to 18 years: 40 mg orally once daily

What other drugs will affect pravastatin?

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • cimetidine (Tagamet);

  • spironolactone (Aldactone, Aldactazide); or

  • any other "statin" medication such as atorvastatin (Lipitor, Caduet), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with pravastatin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about pravastatin.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this pravastatin only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 12.02. Revision Date: 2012-03-21, 9:32:12 AM.

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