What is Pravachol?Pravachol is a cholesterol-lowering drug known as a "statin" used to reduce the amounts of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoprotein B (a protein needed to make cholesterol) in your blood. Your doctor may prescribe it along with a cholesterol-lowering diet if your blood cholesterol level is high and you have not been able to lower it by diet alone.
Pravachol is also prescribed for children ≥8 years when diet alone fails to lower their cholesterol levels.
What is the most important information I should know about Pravachol?Pravachol is usually prescribed only if diet, exercise, and weight loss fail to bring your cholesterol levels under control. It's important to remember that Pravachol is a supplement -not a substitute- for those other measures. To get the full benefit of the medication, you need to stick to the diet and exercise program prescribed by your doctor.
Because Pravachol may cause damage to the liver, your doctor will probably do blood tests before you start taking the drug and before any dosage increase. You should be monitored very carefully if you have had liver disease recently, if you have any symptoms of liver disease, or if you're a heavy drinker.
Pravachol may cause a side effect that can lead to the breakdown of your muscles, and is characterized by sudden muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms while taking Pravachol.
Who should not take Pravachol?Do not take Pravachol if you are sensitive or have ever had an allergic reaction to it.
Do not take Pravachol if you have liver disease.
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should not take Pravachol, since this medication may harm your unborn baby.
What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Pravachol?Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Pravachol. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver disease, kidney disease, a muscular disease, a blood disorder, or if you drink alcoholic beverages. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What is the usual dosage?The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.
Adults: The usual starting dose is 40 milligrams (mg) once a day. If this does not reduce LDL levels sufficiently, your doctor may increase your dose to 80 mg once daily. If you have kidney or liver disease, the recommended starting dose is 10 mg daily.
Children 14 to 18 years: The recommended starting dose is 40 mg once a day. Doses >40 mg have not been studied in this age group.
For people with kidney or liver problems and those taking a medication that suppresses the immune system, the starting dose is 10 mg. People on immunosuppressive drugs generally take no more than 20 mg of Pravachol daily.
Children 8 to 13 years: The recommended starting dose is 20 mg once a day. Doses >20 mg have not been studied in this age group.
How should I take Pravachol?For an even greater cholesterol-lowering effect, your doctor may prescribe Pravachol along with a different kind of lipid-lowering drug such as cholestyramine or colestipol. However, you must not take Pravachol at the same time of day as the other cholesterol-lowering drug. Take Pravachol at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after taking the other drug.
Pravachol should be taken once daily. You may take it anytime, with or without food.
You should undergo periodic lab tests to measure cholesterol levels, liver function, and kidney function to monitor if Pravachol is working to lower your cholesterol levels, and to reduce the risk of side effects.
What should I avoid while taking Pravachol?Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking Pravachol.
What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Pravachol?If Pravachol is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Pravachol with the following: cholestyramine, cimetidine, colestipol, diltiazem, cyclosporine, erythromycin, gemfibrozil, itraconazole, or niacin.
What are the possible side effects of Pravachol?Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.
Side effects may include: abdominal pain, chest pain, constipation, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, gas, headache, heartburn, inflammation of nasal passages, muscle aching or weakness, nausea, rash, stomach or intestinal discomfort, urinary problems, vomiting.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: muscle problems such as weakness, tenderness, or pain without apparent cause, especially if you also have a fever or feel more tired than usual; nausea and vomiting; passing brown or dark-colored urine; unusual fatigue; yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes or stomach pain.
Can I receive Pravachol if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?Do not take Pravachol if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding due to the harmful effects Pravachol may have on your unborn or breastfeeding baby. If you do become pregnant while taking Pravachol, inform your doctor immediately.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Pravachol?If you miss a dose of Pravachol, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
How should I store Pravachol?Store at room temperature away from moisture, light, and heat.
- Common Side Effects of AntidepressantsFind out about common and not-so-common side effects of antidepressants and how to manage them.
- How Drugs Can Lower CholesterolDiscover how cholesterol-lowering medications work in your body to bring your cholesterol numbers down to ideal levels.
- Do Over-the-Counter Proton-Pump Inhibitors Work?You might wonder why you need a prescription for GERD if many PPIs are available over the counter. Get the answers to this and other questions about OTC PPIs.