Pravastatin is in a class of medications known as HMG- CoA reductase inhibitors, which are used to slow the production of LDL or "bad" cholesterol in the body, which can reduce blood flow and increase the risk of heart disease in patients. This medication is often prescribed alongside other medications, diet and exercise to help manage your condition. Your doctor will give you a full set of instructions regarding how this medication should be taken and what other factors you will need to manage your prescription accurately.
Indications and Usage
Pravastatin is sold under the name Pravachol. Pravastatin is often prescribed alongside diet and weight loss regimens including exercise routines to help manage your cholesterol. This medication will help lower the levels of LDL cholesterol while increasing the levels of HDL cholesterol. This will help reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack in patients. In most cases, patients are started on a lower dose of this medication which is increased as necessary to continue managing your condition.
In most cases, you will take pravastatin by mouth once a day. This medication can be taken with or without food. You should try to take your medication around the same time every day, both to help you remember to take your medication and to ensure that you are keeping a steady dose of the medication in your system. You should never adjust your doses without your doctor's order to do so. Doses should not be adjusted more than once every four weeks.
Adults using pravastatin are often started on 40 mg per day, which will be increased as necessary to manage your condition. Adolescents 14-18 years of age may take a full sized adult dose in most cases. Children 8-13 are limited to 20 mg per day. The use of pravastatin in children under the age of 8 is not recommended. Follow your doctor's instructions closely to ensure your child's safety if they will be using this medication.
Pravastatin may cause the breakdown of skeletal tissue in the body. Those who are suffering from liver or kidney disease, thyroid disorders or diabetes may be at an additional risk for suffering from this condition. If you have one of these conditions, talk to your doctor about your risk so that you can avoid a potentially fatal reaction.
This medication is rated in pregnancy category X. This means that you should not use this drug while you are pregnant due to the incredibly high risk of birth defects. Tell your doctor if you are trying to get pregnant or if you become pregnant while you are on this medication so they can begin to adjust your medication to a safe level to change you to a pregnancy safe prescription. This medication may also harm a child while you are nursing. Talk to your doctor about these risks so you can come up with a safe alternative plan to monitor your cholesterol during this time.
Pravastatin Side Effects
Side effects for pravastatin are not particularly common, occurring in less than 10 percent of users. The most commonly reported side effects for pravastatin include nausea or vomiting in 7.3 percent of users. This is followed by cold symptoms in 7 percent of users, headache in 6.2 percent, diarrhea in 6.2 percent, rash in up to 4 percent, fatigue in 3.8 percent, dizziness in 3.3 percent, gas in 3.3 percent, heartburn or indigestion in 3.5 percent, muscle pain in 2.7 percent and flu symptoms in 2.4 percent of users. In most cases these side effects are not severe and will get better over time. If your symptoms do not get better, contact your doctor.
Other side effects of pravastatin, occurring in less than 1 percent of users include pain in the stomach, joint pain, muscle cramps and vision problems. Vision problems may include double vision or blurred vision. If these side effects occur, contact your doctor to determine if your dose needs to be altered.
Rare side effects include dry skin, hair loss, sexual problems, insomnia, taste changes, vertigo and impotence. The incidence of these side effects is not known. Contact your doctor if these side effects occur to determine if you require a change in your medication.
If you begin to suffer from liver damage, muscle tenderness or weakness, muscle aches, memory loss or significant unexplained changes in your urine production you could be suffering from a severe reaction to pravastatin. If these side effects are coupled with a fever or feeling ill, you may be suffering from rhabdomylysis, a condition where your body breaks down muscle and pumps this excess protein into the blood stream. Contact your doctor as soon as possible to get help if this situation occurs.
If you begin to suffer from rash, itching, wheezing, difficulty breathing or hives that come on suddenly after you have taken your prescription, then you might be suffering from an allergic reaction to your mediation. Contact emergency medical services or poison control immediately to get help if these conditions occur.
Most patients will be asked to take on a special diet when they start using pravastatin. This includes eating foods such as fat-free milk, vegetables, egg whites, poultry or fish and avoiding foods cooked in oil, egg yolks, whole milk, butter, shortening, pastries, olives, potato chips, cheese and other foods that are high in monounsaturated oils to help prevent your cholesterol numbers from getting worse. Your doctor will give you any instructions necessary if these instructions will apply to you.
You should not drink alcohol while using pravastatin. This combination can increase your risk of kidney or liver failure, which can be fatal. This may also raise your triglyceride levels to an unsafe level.
Medications known to interact with pravastatin include gemfibrozil, fenofibric acid, fenofibrate, medications containin niacin, or drugs known to weaken the immune system. Immune weakening drugs include, cancer medications, steroids, sirolimus, tarcolimus or medications administered during organ donation. Tell your doctor about any medications you might be taken so they can accurately address your risk before you start your pravastatin prescription.