Pravastatin is an HMG CoA reductase inhibitor. It is a drug for hypercholesterolemia and works by blocking the production of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the body. Pravastatin is used to reduce the amounts of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of fat), and apolipoprotein B (a protein needed to make cholesterol) in your blood. These actions are important in reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Do not take pravastatin without first talking to your doctor if you have liver disease, kidney disease, drinking alcoholic beverages, chronic muscular disease, a blood disorder, pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment or if you are breast-feeding a baby. Your may not be able to take pravastatin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above. Pravastatin is known to cause birth defects if it is taken during pregnancy. This drug also passes into breast milk thus, may harm a nursing infant.
Take pravastatin regularly and exactly as directed by your doctor to get the most benefit. For the greatest effect, pravastatin is usually taken at bedtime or with an evening meal. Your doctor may want to monitor your liver function with blood tests before starting treatment with pravastatin and at twelve weeks after both the start of your treatment and any increase in dose. To see beneficial effects from pravastatin, avoid fatty, high-cholesterol foods. Pravastatin may need to be taken on a long-term basis for the treatment of high cholesterol. If you missed a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember but do not take a double dose of this medication.
Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected. Symptoms of a pravastatin overdose include nausea, diarrhea, stomach distress, and indigestion.
Alcohol should be used only in moderation. Alcohol and pravastatin can both be damaging to the liver. Discuss the use of alcohol with your doctor so that the potential for liver problems can be determined.
Rare cases of muscle and liver problems have been associated with the use of pravastatin and other similar medicines. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by a fever or flu-like symptoms or yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, dark colored urine or pale colored stools. These may be early symptoms of muscle or liver problems.
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking pravastatin and seek emergency medical attention: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); decreased urine or rust-colored urine; or blurred vision.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur such as: gas, bloating, nausea, stomach upset, heartburn, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea;
a cough; headache; or insomnia. Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any other unusual side effect.
Do not take pravastatin without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines: cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral); gemfibrozil (Lopid), clofibrate (Atromid-S), or fenofibrate (Tricor); niacin (Nicolar, Nicobid, Slo-Niacin, others); erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, others) or clarithromycin (Biaxin); or cholestyramine (Questran) or colestipol (Colestid). Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with pravastatin. Talk to your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.
Pravastatin sodium is an odorless, white to off-white, fine or crystalline powder. It is a relatively polar hydrophilic compound with a partition coefficient (octanol/water) of 0.59 at a pH of 7.0. It is soluble in methanol and water (>300 mg/mL), slightly soluble in isopropanol, and practically insoluble in acetone, acetonitrile, chloroform, and ether. Pravastatin is available for oral administration as 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg tablets. Inactive ingredients include: croscarmellose sodium, lactose, magnesium oxide, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and povidone. The 10 mg tablet also contains Red Ferric Oxide, the 20 mg and 80 mg tablets also contain Yellow Ferric Oxide, and 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).
Pravastatin has the following structural formula: