Altocor

Generic Name: lovastatin (LOE va sta tin)
Brand Names: Altocor, Altoprev, Mevacor

What is Altocor?

Altocor is a cholesterol-lowering medication that blocks the production of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the body.

Altocor reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood. Lowering your cholesterol can help prevent heart disease and hardening of the arteries, conditions that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and vascular disease.

Altocor may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

In rare cases, Altocor can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. This condition can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor at once if you have unexplained muscle pain or tenderness, muscle weakness, fever or flu symptoms, and dark colored urine.

This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Do not take Altocor if you have liver disease, or if you are breast-feeding.

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Before taking Altocor, tell your doctor if you have diabetes, underactive thyroid, kidney disease, a muscle disorder, or a blood disorder:

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

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Altocor. Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels, and may also damage your liver while you are taking Altocor.

There are many other drugs that can interact with Altocor. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Altocor?

Do not use Altocor if you are allergic to lovastatin, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease.

Before taking Altocor, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • diabetes;

  • underactive thyroid;

  • kidney disease; or
  • a muscle disorder.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take Altocor.

FDA pregnancy category X. Altocor can cause birth defects. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. It is not known whether lovastatin passes into breast milk. Do not take Altocor without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Altocor is not for use in children younger than 10 years of age.

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

How should I take Altocor?

Take Altocor exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take Altocor with a full glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Altocor is usually taken at bedtime or with an evening meal. If you take Altocor several times daily, take it with meals. Follow your doctor's instructions.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

In rare cases, Altocor can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. This condition can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor at once if you have unexplained muscle pain or tenderness, muscle weakness, fever or flu symptoms, and dark colored urine.

Altocor 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 Altocor on a long-term basis for the treatment of high cholesterol.

Store Altocor at room temperature, protected from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

An overdose of Altocor is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.

What should I avoid?

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

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Altocor. Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels, and may also damage your liver while you are taking Altocor.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Altocor and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.

Altocor side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Altocor and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with fever or flu symptoms and dark colored urine.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild stomach pain, gas, bloating, stomach upset, heartburn;

  • nausea;

  • constipation; or

  • diarrhea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Altocor?

Many drugs can interact with Altocor. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • cholestyramine (Questran) or colestipol (Colestid);

  • danazol (Danocrine);

  • gemfibrozil (Lopid), clofibrate (Atromid-S), or fenofibrate (Tricor);

  • niacin (Nicolar, Nicobid, Slo-Niacin, others);

  • nefazodone (Serzone);

  • amiodarone (Cordarone), diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac), or verapamil (Verelan, Calan, Isoptin);

  • drugs that weaken your immune system such as cancer medicine or steroids, cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf), sirolimus (Rapamune), tacrolimus (Prograf), and others;

  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon), desipramine (Norpramin), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), nefazodone (Serzone), or paroxetine (Paxil);

  • erythromycin (E-Mycin, Ery-Tab, others), clarithromycin (Biaxin), or telithromycin (Ketek);

  • an antifungal medication such as itraconazole (Sporanox), fluconazole (Diflucan), or ketoconazole (Nizoral);

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin); or

  • HIV /AIDS medicine such as nelfinavir (Viracept) or ritonavir (Norvir).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with Altocor. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Altocor.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Altocor 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: 4/12/2009 4:36:49 PM.

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