Generic Name: lovastatin (LOE va sta tin)
Brand Name: Altoprev, Mevacor, Altocor
What is lovastatin?
Lovastatin is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." Lovastatin 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).
Lovastatin is used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart complications in people with diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors
Lovastatin is used in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.
Lovastatin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about lovastatin?
You should not take lovastatin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have active liver disease.
Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with lovastatin. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use certain antibiotics or antifungal medicines, hepatitis C medication, heart medication, or medicines to treat HIV/AIDS.
Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking lovastatin?
You should not take lovastatin if you are allergic to it, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have active liver disease.
The following drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems if you take them together with lovastatin. These drugs should not be used while you are taking lovastatin:
an antibiotic--clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin;
antifungal medication--itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;
hepatitis C medications--boceprevir, telaprevir; or
HIV/AIDS medication--atazanavir, cobicistat (Stribild, Tybost), darunavir, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, tipranavir.
Before you start taking lovastatin, tell your doctor if you are already using any of these other medicines:
heart medication--amiodarone, diltiazem, dronedarone, ranolazine, verapamil.
To make sure lovastatin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
history of liver or kidney disease;
a thyroid disorder; or
if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
Lovastatin 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).
FDA pregnancy category X. This medicine can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take lovastatin 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 lovastatin.
Lovastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking lovastatin.
How should I take lovastatin?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Lovastatin is usually taken at bedtime or with an evening meal. If you take lovastatin several times daily, take it with meals. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
You may need to take lovastatin on a long-term basis for the treatment of high cholesterol. You may need to stop using lovastatin for a short time if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Do not stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function.
Lovastatin 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.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
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 while taking lovastatin?
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with lovastatin and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while taking lovastatin.
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Lovastatin 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.
Lovastatin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, lovastatin 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.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
signs of a kidney problem--little or no urinating; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath; or
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
constipation, stomach pain;
muscle cramps; or
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)
Lovastatin dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipidemia:
Initial dose: 20 mg orally once a day with the evening meal.
Maintenance dose: 10 to 80 mg orally once a day or in 1 or 2 divided doses.
Comment: Lower doses are suggested for a smaller reduction in cholesterol level.
Initial dose: 20, 40, or 60 mg orally once a day at bedtime. Patients requiring smaller reductions in cholesterol may start with 10 mg orally at bedtime.
Maintenance dose: 10 to 60 mg orally given once a day at bedtime.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia:
10 to 17 years: 10 mg orally once a day
10 to 17 years: 10 to 40 mg orally once a day
Comments: Dosage adjustments should be made no earlier than every 4 weeks, adding no more than 10 mg to the current dose each time.
This formulation of lovastatin is not recommended for pediatric patients.
What other drugs will affect lovastatin?
Many drugs can interact with lovastatin. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your medications and any you start or stop using during treatment with lovastatin, especially:
This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with lovastatin. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.
More about lovastatin
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 11 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: statins
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about lovastatin.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication 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 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 14.02.
Date modified: June 01, 2017
Last reviewed: October 07, 2014