Pravastatin is used with diet, weight-loss, and exercise to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and to decrease the chance that heart surgery will be needed in people who have heart disease or who are at risk of developing heart disease. Pravastatin is also used to reduce the amount of cholesterol (a fat-like substance) and other fatty substances in the blood. Pravastatin is in a class of medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). It works by slowing the production of cholesterol in the body to decrease the amount of cholesterol that may build up on the walls of the arteries and block blood flow to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body.
Pravastatin comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take pravastatin at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take pravastatin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of pravastatin and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 4 weeks.
Continue to take pravastatin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking pravastatin without talking to your doctor.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking pravastatin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to pravastatin, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in pravastatin tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: cimetidine (Tagamet); colchicine (Colcrys); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); ketoconazole (Nizoral); other cholesterol-lowering medications such as fenofibrate (Tricor), gemfibrozil (Lopid), and niacin (nicotinic acid, Niacor, Niaspan); certain HIV protease inhibitors including lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra), and ritonavir (Norvir) taken with darunavir (Prezista); and spironolactone (Aldactone). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking cholestyramine (Questran) or colestipol (Cholestid), take them 4 hours before or 1 hour after pravastatin. If you are taking antacids, take them 1 hour before pravastatin.
- tell your doctor if you have liver disease. Your doctor will order laboratory tests to see how well your liver is working even if you do not think you have liver disease. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take pravastatin if you have liver disease or if the tests show that you may be developing liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day, if you have ever had liver disease or if you have or have ever had low blood pressure, seizures, or thyroid or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking pravastatin, stop taking pravastatin and call your doctor immediately. Pravastatin may harm the fetus.
- do not breast-feed while you are taking this medication.
- you should know that the risk that you will develop serious muscle and kidney problems during your treatment with pravastatin is higher if you are 65 years of age or older. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking pravastatin.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking pravastatin. If you are hospitalized due to serious injury or infection, tell the doctor who treats you that you are taking pravastatin.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking pravastatin. Alcohol can increase the risk of serious side effects.
Eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet, which includes cottage cheese, fat-free milk, fish, vegetables, poultry, and egg whites. Use monounsaturated oils such as olive, peanut, and canola oils or polyunsaturated oils such as corn, safflower, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and soybean oils. Avoid foods with excess fat in them such as meat (especially liver and fatty meat), egg yolks, whole milk, cream, butter, shortening, pastries, cakes, cookies, gravy, peanut butter, chocolate, olives, potato chips, coconut, cheese (other than cottage cheese), coconut oil, palm oil, and fried foods.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue the regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Pravastatin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- memory loss or forgetfulness
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following side effects, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help:
- muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
- lack of energy
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- dark colored urine
- loss of appetite
- flu-like symptoms
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Pravastatin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order lab tests during your treatment, especially if you develop symptoms of liver damage.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking pravastatin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: July 18, 2012.