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Reviewed by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD
Information last reviewed 07/17/19
Lovastatin, available at Medzino under the brand name Mevacor, is a drug used to lower cholesterol. Although cholesterol is important for the normal functioning of our cells, high levels of cholesterol in the blood may cause atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaques containing cholesterol form within the arteries. These plaques block our arteries and reduce the blood flow, which in turn can cause angina (chest pain), heart attacks, strokes and general heart disease if the arteries that supply the heart with blood become clogged. Doctors at Medzino can issue a prescription of Lovastatin to treat cholesterol if you are suitable.
Lovastatin belongs to the class of drugs called “statins”. Statins work by blocking the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for producing cholesterol. This enzyme is called hydroxy-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase). Indeed, there are two sorts of cholesterol: blood cholesterol, which comes from the liver, and dietary cholesterol, which comes from the foods we eat that are high in cholesterol. If we eat too many saturated and trans fats, our blood cholesterol will rise significantly. You find saturated and trans fats in foods such as red meat, butter, cheese, cream, whole milk, palm oil, coconut oil. In the blood, statins help reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. It is important to keep your LDL levels low, as it causes atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Statins also work by increasing your HDL levels, commonly known as “good” cholesterol, which helps lowering LDL levels and thus reduces risks of heart disease. However, taking this medicine alone is not the ideal solution to treat high cholesterol. Instead, Lovastatin should be taken as a complement to a healthy and balanced diet low in fat and cholesterol, weight-loss and exercise low.
Lovastatin is an HMG-CoA Reductase inhibitor. HMG-CoA Reductase is an enzyme that is responsible for cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Lovastatin blocks this enzyme therefore reducing the amount of cholesterol the liver can make. It has been shown to reduce levels of "bad cholesterol" also known as LDL. For this reason, it has been used to prevent stroke and heart attacks.
The efficacy of Lovastatin depends on the dose as well as several other factors, however it has been shown to reduce LDL about 30 to 50%.
Lovastatin contains the active ingredient lovastatin at a concentration of 20mg and 40mg.
Each tablet also contains the following inactive ingredients: cellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, and starch. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is added as a preservative. Tablets MEVACOR 20 mg also contain FD&C Blue 2 aluminum lake. Tablets MEVACOR 40 mg also contains D&C Yellow 10 aluminum lake and FD&C Blue 2 aluminum lake.
Lovastatin can cause severe allergic reactions in people. A severe allergic reaction will present with symptoms like difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and lips, dizziness and a rash. If you experience any of these shortly after taking Lovastatin, you need to get medical help as soon as possible. Please let your doctor know if you have even experienced any unusual or allergic symptoms to this medication before.
Before taking Lovastatin, patients should be placed on a standard cholesterol-lowering diet and continue this diet during treatment with this drug.
The recommended dosage range of Lovastatin is 10-80mg daily. Lovastatin is to be taken as prescribed by your doctor, preferably in the evening for a more effective result. The usual recommended starting dose is 20mg once a day with the evening meal, but your doctor may gradually increase your dose if considered necessary. The maximum recommended dose in 80mg a day.
Swallow your tablet orally (by mouth) with a glass of water. Do not chew or crush your tablet. Take your medicine at the same time of the day to help you remember your dosage. If you forget to take your daily dosage, take it as soon as you remember. If, however, it’s almost time to take your next dosage, skip the one you forgot and take the dosage that is due soon. Do not take a dose twice to make up for the one you forgot. Do not interrupt your treatment without consulting your doctor, even if you feel better.
Lovastatin is taking once daily with the evening meal or at bedtime. This is because it works better when given later in the day. The dose can be adjusted based on the response of blood cholesterol levels.
If you miss a dose of Lovastatin is still within the same day, you can take the missed dose. However if it is almost time for the next dose or more than 12 hours have passed, just skip the missed dose and resume the next dose when it would be due. Missing one dose is not likely to affect the efficacy of the medication.
General side effects may include:
If any of these side effects persist or cause distress, talk to your doctor. These are not all the side effects that may occur. If you experience any other unusual symptoms, talk to your doctor.
The following side effects are rare but can be serious. If any of these occur, talk to your doctor as soon as possible:
Lovastatin is contraindicated in the following cases:
Lovastatin may interfere with the following medicines: Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), Colchicine, Danazol (Danocrine), Diltiazem, Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), Gemfibozil (Lopid), Fenofibric acid (Fibricor, Trilipix), Fenofibrate (Antara, Fenoglide, Lipofen, Lofibra, Tricor, Triglide), Ranolazine, medicines that contain niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others), antifungal medications such as Itraconazole (Sporanox) or Ketoconazole (Extina, Ketozole, Nizoral, Xolegal), 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), antifungal medications such as Itraconazole (Sporanox) or Ketoconazole (Extina, Ketozole, Nizoral, Xolegal), HIV medications such as Atazanavir (Reyataz), Ritonavir (Norvir), lopinavir/Ritonavir (Kaletra), Saquinavir (Invirase), and others.
Although there is not very strong evidence to suggest this, some studies have shown that statin medications worked better when taking at night. This is based on the fact that most cholesterol is made when you are not actively eating, and the activity of the enzyme HMG-CoA Reductase is higher at night. Ask your doctor what time you should take your medication.
Lovastatin, along with all other medications in the statin class, have muscle pain (myopathy) as a known side effect. This can range from mild to severe. Some people may be more prone to developing this than others. If you develop muscle pain while you are on a statin medication, you should stop the medication and ask your doctor if this could be related to Lovastatin. Your doctor may check some labs and recommend further whether you should continue the medication, switch to a different medication, or stop.
Increased bleeding is not a common side effect of Lovastatin. However, taking lovastatin with other medications such as warfarin which are blood thinners may have interact with and increase the blood-thinning effect of those medications, so you should always consult with your doctor and/or pharmacist about all the medications you are taking including supplements and vitamins.
Lovastatin starts having cholesterol-lowering effects approximately 3 days after starting the medication. This medication has a half-life of just under 2 hours but will not fully clear the system for several days. This may be increased in people who have kidney disease or in the elderly.
Despite some small reports of statins causing memory loss, there have been no studies which have confirmed this. In fact, taking statins lowers the risk of stroke which can prevent certain kinds of dementia, such as dementia caused by strokes.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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