Skip to Content

Lovastatin

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

Medically reviewed on March 1, 2018

What is lovastatin?

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 purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not take lovastatin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have active liver disease.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact, and some drugs should not be used together.

Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you get pregnant.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use lovastatin if you are allergic to it, or if:

  • you are pregnant or breast-feeding; or

  • you have active liver disease.

Some medicines can increase your risk of serious muscle problems when used with lovastatin. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • diabetes;

  • a thyroid disorder; or

  • if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.

Lovastatin can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. This happens more often in older adults or people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

Do not use lovastatin if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. Stop taking lovastatin and tell your doctor right away if you get pregnant.

Do not breast-feed while you are taking lovastatin.

How should I take lovastatin?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.

You may need frequent medical tests. You may not have any symptoms, but tests will help your doctor determine if lovastatin is effective.

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.

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.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

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?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage.

Grapefruit may interact with lovastatin and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking lovastatin.

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

Lovastatin side effects

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

Lovastatin can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead 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, or dark colored urine.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • kidney problems--little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or

  • liver problems--loss of appetite, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • infections;

  • headache; or

  • accidental injury.

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:

Immediate-release formulation:
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.

Extended-release formulation:
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:

Immediate-release:
Initial:
10 to 17 years: 10 mg orally once a day
Maintenance:
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.

Extended-release:
This formulation of lovastatin is not recommended for pediatric patients.

What other drugs will affect lovastatin?

Many drugs can interact with lovastatin, and some drugs should not be used together. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Hide