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Pravachol

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

Medically reviewed on August 17, 2016.

What is pravastatin?

Pravastatin is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." Pravastatin 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 or without coronary heart disease or other risk factors.

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

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

Important Information

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

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

Serious drug interactions can occur when certain medicines are used together with pravastatin. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use now, and any medicine you start or stop using.

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.

Before taking this medicine

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

  • liver disease; or

  • if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

To make sure pravastatin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • abnormal liver function tests;

  • a thyroid disorder; or

  • if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.

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).

This medicine can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop taking pravastatin and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking this medicine.

Pravastatin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Pravastatin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 8 years old.

How should I take pravastatin?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Pravastatin is usually taken once a day, with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.

Pravastatin doses are based on age, and are lower in children and teenagers. People taking this medicine during childhood or adolescence may need a different dose as adults.

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

While using pravastatin, you may need frequent blood tests.

Pravastatin is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

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 while taking pravastatin?

If you also take cholestyramine or colestipol, 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 and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Pravastatin side effects

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

In rare cases, pravastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure.

Stop using pravastatin and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness;

  • fever, unusual tiredness;

  • dark colored urine;

  • chest pain;

  • upper stomach pain, loss of appetite; or

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

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)

What other drugs will affect pravastatin?

Using certain other drugs together with pravastatin can increase your risk of serious muscle problems. It is very important to tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with pravastatin, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with pravastatin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

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.

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