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Feb 16, 2023



Pravastatin (Pravachol)

  • Pravastatin is a low- to moderate-intensity statin. Approved for adults and children as young as 8 years old.
  • Doses: 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg
  • Pravastatin should not be used if you have liver disease, are pregnant, or nursing
  • Pravastatin is grapefruit safe. You can enjoy grapefruit and grapefruit products while taking pravastatin.

What is Pravastatin?

Pravastatin (Pravachol) is a prescription medication for treating high cholesterol. Pravastatin reduces your body’s cholesterol production by blocking the liver enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) that’s needed to make cholesterol. This is why statins are called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Why is cholesterol management important?

Too much cholesterol (LDL) and other fatty substances can cause a buildup on your artery walls, a condition called atherosclerosis. This buildup, known as plaque, clogs arteries and decrease the blood flow to your internal organs like the heart and brain. When a plaque ruptures or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack or a stroke.

Taking statins with proper diets and exercise is important to prevent coronary heart disease.

How does Pravastatin work?

Pravastatin is used to lower your blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol to prevent the development of plaque in your arteries and lower the risk of coronary heart disease. In both individuals with and without coronary heart disease or other risk factors, pravastatin is used to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart problems.

Additionally, pravastatin is used in adults and adolescents as young as 8 years old in conjunction with a proper diet to reduce triglyceride levels and "bad" cholesterol (LDL, is a type of fat in the blood), while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.

How to take it

Pravastatin can be taken with or without food and is available in tablet form. Pravastatin is a low- to moderate-intensity statin depending on the dosage.

  • Moderate-intensity: 40–80 mg daily
    —Can reduce LDL by approximately 30%–49%
  • Low-intensity: 10–20 mg daily
    —Can reduce LDL by no more than 30%

Because the full impact of this medication is seen within 4 weeks, frequent lipid assessments should be done at this time, and the dosage should be changed by your response to pravastatin.

Compare statins and doses.

What are the side effects?

Common side effects

  • Myopathy (skeletal muscle disorder causing musle weakness, stiffness and spasms)
  • Myalgias (muscle pain)
  • Arthralgia (joint pain)
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin)
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Serious side effects

  • Difficulty raising your arms and/or difficulty rising or standing
  • Muscle aches in your hips, shoulders, neck, and back
  • Hepatic (liver) issues, such as upper abdominal pain, weakness, fatigue, decreased appetite, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Kidney issues include little to no urination, ankle or foot swelling, fatigue, or shortness of breath.

If you’re experiencing any of the serious side effects listed above, immediately call your doctor and stop taking this medication.

Pravastatin should not be used if you have active liver disease, are pregnant, or are nursing.
Read more about statin side effects.

Can I take Pravastatin if I’m pregnant?

When taking pravastatin, you should let your doctors know if you get pregnant or think you could be pregnant. If you do get pregnant while taking this medication, stop taking pravastatin and notify your doctor immediately.

Your doctor will advise you on whether you should discontinue this medication during pregnancy and if you should temporarily stop using pravastatin while nursing or breastfeeding.

Following giving birth, women who need statins and are at high risk of heart attack or stroke should not breastfeed; instead, they should utilize alternatives such as baby formula.

Can Pravastatin interact with anything?

Although pravastatin generally has fewer drug interactions compared to other statins, it’s still crucial that your physician be aware of any additional medications you are taking because some of them might significantly raise your chance of developing serious muscle issues.

Inform your physician of all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Clarithromycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Azithromycin
  • Colchicine
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Niacin, including Niaspan or Niacor

Be sure to take your pravastatin dosage either 1 hour before or 4 hours after taking cholestyramine or colestipol if you take either of those medications.

What should I avoid while taking Pravastatin?

Consume less food that's rich in cholesterol or fat. If you do not adhere to a cholesterol-lowering food plan, this medication will not decrease your cholesterol as effectively.

Steer clear of alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage and boost your lipid levels. Before taking this medication, inform your doctor if you generally drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day.

Unlike other statins, pravastatin is not affected by grapefruit or grapefruit juice. You can safely continue to enjoy your grapefruit juice with pravastatin.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Pravastatin should be taken at roughly the same time every day so you don’t forget to take it.

If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it's almost time for your next dose. In this case, skip the forgotten dose and take the next one at the usual time. Do not take 2 doses together to make up for a missed dose.

How does Pravastatin compare to other statins?

Pravastatin and atorvastatin are both found to be clinically effective in reducing high cholesterol in your blood. The medication that is more beneficial for you will depend on your overall health, the severity of your ailment, any other medications you may be taking, and other variables.

According to studies, pravastatin, simvastatin, and atorvastatin do not significantly vary from one another in terms of reducing cardiovascular events. These statins reduced heart attacks and coronary heart disease in a comparable manner.

However, statins including fluvastatin, atorvastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin, and rosuvastatin were assessed in another systematic review that included more than 90 clinical studies. This study concluded that atorvastatin, fluvastatin, and simvastatin were shown to have the highest likelihood of being the most effective treatments for avoiding cardiovascular events.

Speak With Your Doctor

Pravastatin is relatively considered a safe and effective medication when taken appropriately (as prescribed by your doctor). Talk to your doctor today about using pravastatin and send your prescription to Marley Drug. Save up to 95% compared to your local pharmacy by using Marley Drug.

Marley Drug provides free nationwide shipping, allowing you to receive your medication at no additional cost, straight to your door.

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