This article is about Pravastatin (Pravachol), a “statin” drug used to help to lower cholesterol levels in the blood in order to prevent heart disease and strokes. This drug is typically prescribed in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle. In what follows, the reader will find information on how Pravastatin works, what ingredients it contains, how it should be used, what precautions to take, and which possible side effects it may provoke. If you suffer from sporadic or familial high cholesterol, Doctors at Medzino can prescribe Pravastatin at a concentration of either 10mg, 20mg, 40mg, or 80mg.
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Reviewed by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD
Information last reviewed 07/07/19
Pravastatin, sold under the brand name Pravachol, is a drug prescribed alongside a healthy diet to lower cholesterol levels in the blood (Hypercholesterolemia). Hypercholesterolemia can be sporadic, which means that it occurs with no family history, or familial, which means that it is genetic and runs in the family. Pravastatin is also prescribed as a preventive medicine if you have had a heart attack or angina (chest pain) in order to prevent further heart disease, angina, or stroke. Doctors at Medzino can issue a prescription for this medicine if you are suitable.
Pravastatin belongs to a class of drugs called “statins”, which work by blocking the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for producing cholesterol, consequently reducing the levels of cholesterol and other fats (triglycerides) in your body. This enzyme is called hydroxy-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase). High levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to an accumulation of cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels and in turn block them (atherosclerosis). The latter can lead to serious conditions such as angina pectoris (chest pain that arises when a blood vessel in the heart is partially blocked), a heart attack (when the heart muscle doesn't receive enough oxygen because fo a blocked artery) or a stroke (when the brain doesn't receive enough oxygen because of a blocked artery). This medication works better if taken alongside a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle including weight loss, regular exercise, and no smoking.
Pravastatin, and other Statins, work by inhibiting the liver from making cholesterol. It works by inhibiting one of the body’s enzymes called HMG-CoA Reductase. HMG-CoA Reductase is the key enzyme in the metabolic pathway producing cholesterol in the body. It is made by the liver, and Pravastatin works to inhibit the enzyme therefore reducing cholesterol production.
Pravastatin can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) between 19-40%, depending on the intensity of the dose you are taking.
The active ingredient in Pravastatin is pravastatin sodium at a concentration of 10mg, 20mg, or 40mg.
Pravastatin contains the following inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, lactose, magnesium oxide, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and povidone.
The 20 mg and 80 mg tablets also contain Yellow Ferric Oxide.
The 40 mg tablet also contains Green Lake Blend (mixture of D&C Yellow No. 10-Aluminum Lake and FD&C Blue No. 1-Aluminum Lake).
(Please note: inactive ingredients may vary between different generic manufacturers)
Always take Pravastatin exactly as indicated by your doctor, and do not interrupt you treatment without your doctor’s advice.
Take this medicine at about the same time each day. Pravastatin tablets can be taken with or without food, but for best results, take it on an empty stomach (two or more hours after your last meal). Swallow your prescribed dosage with water, and do not chew, break, or crush the tablet(s).
If you are using this medicine to treat high levels of cholesterol and fats in the blood, the recommended dosage for an adult and adolescent (14-18 years) is Pravastatin Sodium 10-40mg once a day, preferably in the evening.
If you are taking this medicine to prevent heart and blood vessel diseases, the usual recommended dose is 40mg once a day, preferably in the evening.
Do not exceed the daily dosage recommended by your doctor.
If you miss a dose, and it is almost time for the next dose, do not double the dose. Skip the missed dose, and continue taking the next dose. If you have missed a dose by several hours or up to 12 hours, you may take the missed dose. In general, missing one dose will not significantly impact cholesterol.
Pravastatin should be taken once a day, at any time of the day. It does not have to be taken at night. It also does not have to be taken with or without food.
Some common side effects may include:
Get immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following rare but serious side effects:
Some medicines may interfere with the effects of Pravastatin. Therefore, always inform your doctor of the medicines you are taking. Do not take Pravastatin in combination with the following drugs:
Pravastatin is contraindicated if:
Before taking Pravastatin, always inform your doctor if:
There is a large amount of research that suggests Statins do NOT cause memory loss. However, research is ongoing in this field. Some users have reported memory loss, but studies of thousands of patients have shown Statins do not cause memory loss. In fact, Statins can help reduce the risk of stroke-related dementia by preventing stroke.
Generally, pravastatin is not known to significantly cause either weight loss, or weight gain. If you experience weight loss or weight gain while on Pravastatin, you should let your doctor know, as the cause may be related to another condition.
Pravastatin has been clinically shown to reduce the risk of death from coronary artery disease, reduce the risk of heart attack, and reduce the risk of stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). It also has been shown to slow the progression of coronary artery disease.
One adverse effect of Pravastatin (and all of the Statin class medications) includes myopathy, or muscle problems. If you have had muscle pains or weakness before while on a Statin, you should let your doctor know, as a Statin medication might not be right for you. If you notice muscle pain while on Pravastatin, you should stop taking the medication and have your doctor check your blood levels for a lab marker called “CPK,” or Creatine Phosphokinase to see if your muscle pain could be an adverse effect of Pravastatin. In most cases you should stop taking the medication if this occurs, and either have a lower dose or switch to a different cholesterol medication. In rare cases, muscle damage is severe or long-lasting, but in the majority of cases is mild and resolves.
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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