Pravastatin (Oral)

Pravastatin is an oral medication that doctors prescribe to reduce the triglycerides and cholesterol found in the blood, slowing the patient's risk factors for coronary diseases.

Overview

What is Pravastatin?

Sold under the brand names Elisor, Mevalotin, Selipran, Lipostat, Pravaselect, Pravachol and Selektine, Pravastatin is one of the statin classes of drugs that are prescribed by doctors to lower blood cholesterol. By lowering blood cholesterol, the patient has a better chance of avoiding complications resulting from too much fat in the arteries. Patients with untreated high cholesterol often experience many forms of cardiovascular disease.

While Pravastatin is proven effective for lowering blood cholesterol, including triglycerides, physicians will also encourage their patients to follow a healthy diet and moderate exercise plan in order to lose weight as well as rely on this statin drug.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is the name for a group of fats that are free floating in the bloodstream of all people that play a vital role in cellular functions including digestion and other processes. Elevated cholesterol can increase the risk for having a heart attack, developing heart diseases or having a stroke.

The two main forms of cholesterol are low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein or LDL and HDL. These are often referred to as bad cholesterol and good cholesterol respectively. Both types must be in balance, however, for healthy functioning of the body's cells. Without drugs such as Pravastatin, the inability to control the level of blood cholesterol through diet mean that a patient was at risk for many diseases and conditions related to this imbalance.

How does Pravastatin work?

Patients who experience cardiovascular disease have a build-up of plaque in their arteries caused by long term elevated levels of cholesterols or fats in the blood. Statin drugs such as Pravastatin work to lower the production of low density lipoprotein, the cholesterol type responsible for clogging the arteries. Pravastatin also works to increase the high density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol found in the blood. Triglycerides, another harmful fat found in the blood, are also proven to be decreased with use of Pravastatin.

By lowering the bad cholesterols and raising the level of the good cholesterols in the blood, aided by diet and exercise, patients who have elevated levels of lipoproteins in their blood can experience more normal levels and decrease their risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Conditions Treated

  • Hyperlipidemias
  • Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
  • Secondary prevention cardiovascular event

Type Of Medicine

  • Cholesterol lowering agent (statin)
  • HMG CoA reductase inhibitor

Side Effects

Pravastatin, by interacting with blood cholesterol, which is produced by major organs of the body, may also cause some unexpected health concerns. The following symptoms, while not experienced by all patients, should be reported to your physician immediately:

  • Painful muscles or bones
  • Moving is difficult
  • Stiff muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Body aches
  • Jaw, back or arm pain
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Urine appears dark in color
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing is labored or difficult
  • Aural congestion
  • Rapid heart rhythm
  • Elevated temperature
  • General ill feeling or uncomfortable feeling
  • Headache
  • Appetite loss
  • Spasms or cramps in muscles
  • Tender muscles
  • Weak, wasted muscles
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Nauseated
  • Sneezing
  • Shivering
  • Throat soreness
  • Sweating
  • Joints are swollen
  • Chest tightness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting

Other side effects go away after the body gets used to Pravastatin, but these can be annoying and affect your daily life. Consult with your doctor if you experience the following ill health effects for suggestions on how to alleviate or eliminate them:

  • Pain in abdomen
  • Acid reflux
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Stomach fullness
  • Vision changes
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Constipation
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Paranoia or nervous demeanor
  • Depression
  • Increased nocturnal urination
  • Irritable mood
  • No interest in pleasure
  • Chest pain near breastbone
  • Skin rash
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking

You may experience still other effects that are not listed here. While on a prescription regimen of Pravastatin, report any changes to your overall health to your doctor as soon as possible to avoid any long term damage to your body.

Dosage

Your prescription of Pravastatin has been written especially for you by your health care professional, taking into account your physical condition and other factors. Do not alter what your doctor has prescribed; follow all instructions on the amount to take, when it take it and how long to stay on the regimen.

If you have been prescribed a diet and exercise plan, follow this as closely as you can with a weight loss goal in mind. Other drugs may also have been prescribed for you, with instruction on the interval in which to take Pravastatin along with them. This regimen should also be followed exactly.

On average, adults will be given a 40 milligram dose of Pravastatin to be taken once per day. This may be adjusted if required. Children 14 to 18 years old will typically have the same dosage; children 8 to 13 will be prescribed half of this, about 20 milligrams once daily. For children younger than 8 years old, their doctor will prescribe the best course of treatment for them.

Interactions

Pravastatin use has risk factors that your physician will outline for you in detail. You will also be given a patient leaflet that you should read completely and ask questions about if you don't understand the information clearly.

Hypersensitivity to other medications, certain foods, animals, artificial additives and dyes should be communicated to your health care provider to avoid any unwanted reactions to Pravastatin. Communicate all medications you are taking to your physician, including those that are available over the counter, vitamin and herbal therapies or holistic remedies.

Pediatric patients who are at least age 8 respond well to Pravastatin therapy and exhibit no more risk factors than adult patients. Children under 8 years of age, however, have not been studied for effectiveness or safety of this medication and should only be given this drug with the greatest of caution.

Geriatric patients can expect the same level of risk and effectiveness as younger patients, with the caution in mind that this group can have age-related complications which can have an effect on how this drug works for them.

Some medications are best taken in tandem with others for more effectiveness than they would have on their own. However, there are drugs that should not be combined, so your physician may choose to change the dosage if you are currently taking:

  • Atazanavir
  • Ciprofibrate
  • Bezafibrate
  • Colchicine
  • Clofibrate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Colesevelam
  • Daptomycin
  • Dalfopristin
  • Dasabuvir
  • Darunavir
  • Fenofibric Acid
  • Fenofibrate
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Fusidic Acid
  • Paritaprevir
  • Ombitasvir
  • Ritonavir
  • Quinupristin

The following drugs have been known to elevate the risk of unwanted effects, but using the two drugs simultaneously may be the only choice for you. Your physician will want to be made aware if you are taking:

  • Boceprevir
  • Amprenavir
  • Efavirenz
  • Clarithromycin
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Eltrombopag
  • Nelfinavir
  • Nefazodone
  • Pectin
  • Oat Bran

Consult with your physician on whether to take Pravastatin with food or whether certain foods should be eliminated from your diet altogether. You should also inform your doctor if you are a regular user of tobacco products or alcoholic beverages, as these could affect the way Pravastatin works for you.

Your full medical history should be communicated to your physician in case you have diseases that would be dangerously affected by use of a statin drug such as Pravastatin. Specifically, the following health conditions have been known to become worse or limit the effectiveness of this medication:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Recent surgery
  • Recent major trauma
  • Alcoholism
  • Seizures that aren't controlled
  • Endocrine level issues
  • Electrolyte disorders
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypotension
  • Metabolism diseases and disorders
  • Blood infections such as sepsis
  • Liver enzyme elevation diseases

Warnings

Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not take Pravastatin, as this drug has been proven to cause fetal developmental side effects that can be fatal to your unborn child. Reliable forms of birth control should be used while you are taking this medication. If you become pregnant, stop taking Pravastatin and notify your health care provider as soon as possible. Women who are breastfeeding should stop doing so before they begin drug treatment therapy with Pravastatin.

Your physician will want to see you to monitor your progress and will most likely perform tests involving blood samples to check your cholesterol levels. Inform your doctor of any kidney disease, liver disease or use of alcoholic beverages prior to taking this medication. Limiting your alcoholic beverages will be advised, as alcohol can increase your risk of serious liver complications when combined with drug therapy treatment such as Pravastatin.

Statin therapy drugs are only one facet of intervention that your doctor will want you to follow if you are shown to be at risk for cardiovascular disease because of elevated cholesterol levels. You will be instructed to lose weight through healthy diet changes and increased exercise. Your diet plan will restrict the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol and other substances found to be unhealthy.

If you are being treated by other doctors or dentists while on this drug, inform them that you are taking it. You may need to stop your drug therapy with Pravastatin if you require surgery of any kind, sustain an injury or if you develop health problems that are new.

Muscle weakness, pain or stiffness should be reported to your health care provider as soon as they occur, as Pravastatin can increase your risk for a condition known as IMNM, which is immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy.

Dark urine should be a warning sign to you to seek medical attention, as should any muscle conditions such as spasms, cramps or pains or feeling weak. There is an increased possibility that, as a side effect of this medication, you could develop rhabdomyolysis which can lead to problems with your kidney function.

Headaches, stomach upset or vomiting, appetite loss and general ill feelings should prompt you to get in touch with your physician. Any yellow coloring to your skin or eyes should alert you to the fact that you may be damaging your liver by continuing to take this drug. Avoid alcohol use while taking this drug to lessen the chances of causing long-term damaging liver issues.

Storage

Retain the original packaging that your Pravastatin arrived in and use it to store this medication properly. Keep this medicine at room temperature, away from exposure to excessive light, heat or moisture. Do not allow Pravastatin to freeze and do not use it if it has become frozen. This medication, as well as others, should be kept out of sight and reach of children and pets.

Expired or unused Pravastatin dosages should be disposed of properly according to your physician's instructions for safety. If this is not provided to you by your physician, consult with your pharmacist on safe disposal practices.

Summary

Pravastatin, a member of the statin class of drugs, is prescribed in tablet form to patients who have been tested and shown to have elevated levels of cholesterol or fat in their blood. Elevated blood cholesterol levels have been proven to increase an individual's risk of developing cardiovascular diseases if left untreated. Most physicians will primarily prescribe a change to a healthy diet, increased exercise as well as treatment with a statin such as Pravastatin.

Pravastatin works in multiple ways to elevate good cholesterol levels while reducing bad cholesterol in order to provide a boost to a healthy diet and weight loss. Many patients adapt well to drug therapy with Pravastatin, but some experience side effects such as stomach trouble, gas and bloating. Patients who experience severe health issues after taking Pravastatin are urged to contact their health care provider to prevent any health damage resulting from bad interaction with Pravastatin. Those experiencing muscular health issues are urged to contact their doctor immediately.

Patients with liver damage, diminished kidney function or other renal diseases are urged to let their physician know of these problems, as they could be at an elevated risk for severe complications resulting in their treatment with Pravastatin. Patients are urged to limit their alcohol consumption during drug therapy involving this medication, as the combination will increase their risk for liver disease that is long term in nature.

Pravastatin is proven safe and effective for most geriatric patients, adult patients and pediatric patients older than age 8. The typical dose is 40 milligrams taken once daily as part of a diet and exercise regimen. Regular blood tests to monitor cholesterol level balances will be performed and any changes in health should be reported immediately.

Keep Pravastatin and other prescription medications out of sight and reach of children and pets, stored at room temperature and protected from extremes of moisture, light, heat or cold.