- About pravastatin
- Before taking pravastatin
- How to take pravastatin
- Getting the most from your treatment
- Can pravastatin cause problems?
- How to store pravastatin
- Important information about all medicines
- Pravastatin Side Effects
- In Summary
- For the Consumer
- For Healthcare Professionals
- Further information
- More about pravastatin
|Type of medicine||A lipid-regulating medicine commonly known as a statin|
|Used for||Lowering cholesterol and other lipids in the blood (including after an organ transplant); to reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel disease|
Lipids, or fats, are easily stored in your body and serve as a source of energy. Cholesterol is a type of lipid that is made in your liver from the fatty foods that you eat. When the concentration of cholesterol in your blood is too high, it is called hypercholesterolaemia. Although a high level of cholesterol will not make you feel ill, it can cause a problem if left untreated.
People with hypercholesterolaemia can develop small fatty patches called atheroma. These patches develop when excess fat is deposited on to the walls of blood vessels. Over time, these patches can make a blood vessel narrower and this is called atherosclerosis (sometimes referred to as ‘hardening of the arteries’). The narrowing reduces the blood flow through the artery and increases the risk of a number of heart and blood vessel diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.
Pravastatin belongs to a group of medicines known as statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). It reduces the amount of cholesterol and other lipids made by your body. It does this mainly by blocking the action of a certain enzyme which is needed to make cholesterol. This lowers your risk of heart and blood vessel disease. Pravastatin can also reduce the risk of heart disease in people who have an increased risk of it, even if their cholesterol levels are normal.
Before taking pravastatin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking pravastatin it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or if you have ever had a disease which has affected your liver.
- If you have an underactive thyroid.
- If you have a problem with unexplained muscle aches or pains, or if you (or a close relative) have ever had a muscle disorder.
- If you regularly drink large amounts of alcohol.
- If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take pravastatin
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about pravastatin and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take pravastatin once each day, in the evening. There are several strengths of tablet available, so your doctor will tell you which strength is right for you. Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. It can be taken either before or after food.
- If you forget to take a dose, leave out the missed dose but make sure that you remember to take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so that your doctor can check on your progress. You will need to have blood tests from time to time. These are to measure your cholesterol level and also to check that your liver has not been affected by taking pravastatin.
- Your doctor will give you advice about eating a healthy diet, cutting down on the amount of alcohol you normally drink, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, stopping smoking and taking regular exercise. Following this advice will also help you to reduce your risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease.
- Women taking pravastatin must avoid getting pregnant. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner.
- Treatment with pravastatin is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor.
Can pravastatin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with pravastatin, although these tend to be mild. You will find a full list in the manufacturer’s information leaflet supplied with your medicine. Unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Pravastatin side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 100 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Muscle aches, pains, weakness, or tenderness||Although this may not be anything to be concerned about, you should tell your doctor about this. This is because there is a rare but serious side-effect of pravastatin which is a severe form of muscle inflammation|
|Headache||Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, let your doctor know|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water each day|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Feeling sick, stomach ache, indigestion, wind (flatulence)||Stick to simple meals – avoid rich or spicy food|
|Blurred or double vision, feeling dizzy or tired||Do not drive and do not use tools or machines until the symptoms pass|
|Disturbed sleep, sexual problems, itchy rash, thinning of hair, an increased need to pass urine particularly at night||Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
Important: pravastatin has been associated with more serious side-effects in a very few people. Although these occur only rarely, it is important that you tell your doctor straightaway if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- If you develop any muscle cramps or pains, particularly if they are in your legs and you also feel unwell or have a high temperature (fever).
- If you feel short of breath or develop an unexplained cough. This is because (in very rare cases), pravastatin may cause a disease called interstitial lung disease.
- If you develop any allergic-type reactions, such as swelling around your mouth or face, or a skin rash.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store pravastatin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Pravastatin belongs to a group of medicines called statins.
It’s used to lower cholesterol if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. It’s also taken to prevent heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Your doctor may prescribe pravastatin if you have a family history of heart disease, or a long-term health condition such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
This medicine is available on prescription as tablets.
- Pravastatin seems to be a very safe medicine. It’s unusual to have any side effects.
- Do not take pravastatin if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Take pravastatin even if you feel well, as you will still be getting the benefits. Most people with high cholesterol don’t have any symptoms.
- Pravastatin is also called Pravachol.
Pravastatin can be taken by adults and children over 8 years old.
Pravastatin isn’t suitable for some people. Tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to pravastatin or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- are trying to get pregnant, think you might be pregnant, you’re already pregnant, or you’re breastfeeding
- have severe lung disease
- drink large amounts of alcohol
- have an underactive thyroid
- have had muscular side effects when taking a statin in the past
- have had a muscle disorder (including fibromyalgia)
Take pravastatin once a day in the evening. This is because your body makes most cholesterol at night.
Pravastatin doesn’t upset the stomach, so you can take it with or without food. Swallow pravastatin tablets whole with a glass of water.
In adults, the usual dose is 10mg to 40mg once a day. Your dose depends on the reason for taking it, your cholesterol levels and what other medicines you’re taking.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you’re unsure how much to take. Don’t reduce your dose without talking to your doctor first.
In children aged 8 to 13 years old, the usual dose is 10mg to 20mg once a day. In children aged 14 to 17 years old, the dose may range from 10mg to 40mg daily.
Your doctor will work out the amount of pravastatin that’s right for your child based on their age.
What if I forget to take it?
If you occasionally forget to take a dose, take your next dose the next day at the usual time. Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take extra doses.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Taking an extra dose of pravastatin by accident is unlikely to harm you.
Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you’re worried or if you take more than 1 extra dose.
Pravastatin seems to be a very safe medicine and it’s unusual to have side effects. However, different statins can affect people in different ways.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if side effects bother you or don’t go away. They may recommend taking a different statin.
One rare but serious side effect is unexplained muscle aches and pains. This can happen a few weeks or months after you first start taking pravastatin. Report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness to a doctor straight away.
Another very rare side effect can be memory loss. This usually goes away when you stop taking the medicine.
Serious side effects
It happens rarely, but less than 1 in 1,000 people taking pravastatin may have a serious side effect.
Stop taking pravastatin and call a doctor if you develop:
- unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps – these can be a sign of muscle breakdown and kidney damage
- yellow skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow, or if you have pale poo and dark pee – these can be signs of liver problems
- severe stomach pain – these can be a sign of inflammation of the pancreas
- a cough, feeling short of breath and weight loss – these can be signs of lung disease
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to pravastatin.
These are not all the side effects of pravastatin. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
Pravastatin is not recommended in pregnancy or while breastfeeding, as there’s no firm evidence that it’s safe.
Talk to your doctor if you want to get pregnant. It’s best to stop taking pravastatin at least 3 months before you start trying for a baby.
If you become pregnant while taking pravastatin, stop taking the medicine and tell your doctor.
Pravastatin and breastfeeding
It’s not known if pravastatin gets into breast milk, but it may cause problems for your baby. You may be able to stop pravastatin temporarily while you breastfeed.
Some medicines interfere with the way pravastatin works and can increase the chances of you having serious side effects such as muscle damage.
Medicines that may not mix well with pravastatin include:
- some antibiotics and antifungals
- some HIV medicines
- some hepatitis C medicines
- ciclosporin (treats psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis)
- colchicine (a medicine for gout)
If you’re taking pravastatin and need to take one of these medicines, your doctor may:
- prescribe a lower dose of pravastatin
- prescribe a different statin
- recommend that you temporarily stop taking your pravastatin
Mixing pravastatin with herbal remedies and supplements
There’s very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements with pravastatin.
Pravastatin Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 5, 2018.
- Side Effects
More frequently reported side effects include: increased serum alanine aminotransferase, skin rash, and increased creatine phosphokinase in blood specimen. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
For the Consumer
Applies to pravastatin: oral tablet
Along with its needed effects, pravastatin may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking pravastatin:
- Difficulty with moving
- muscle or bone pain
- muscle stiffness
- pain in the joints
- pain, localized
- Arm, back, or jaw pain
- chest pain or discomfort
- dark-colored urine
- difficult or labored breathing
- ear congestion
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- loss of appetite
- muscle cramps or spasms
- muscular tenderness, wasting, or weakness
- nasal congestion
- runny nose
- sore throat
- swollen joints
- tightness in the chest
- trouble sleeping
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Some side effects of pravastatin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Stomach pain
- Acid or sour stomach
- bloated or full feeling
- blurred vision or other changes in vision
- difficult or painful urination
- difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
- double vision
- fear or nervousness
- feeling sad or empty
- increased urge to urinate during the night
- loss of interest or pleasure
- pain in the chest below the breastbone
- passing gas
- stomach discomfort or upset
- trouble concentrating
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to pravastatin: oral tablet
The most frequently reported side effects were musculoskeletal pain, nausea/vomiting, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, and headache.
Very common (10% or more): Musculoskeletal pain (up to 24.9%), musculoskeletal traumatism (10.2%)
Common (1% to 10%): Myalgia, muscle cramp, arthralgia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Muscle weakness
Postmarketing reports: Myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy, lupus erythematosus-like syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, arthritis, myositis, polymyositis, tendon disorder
Very common (10% or more): Nausea/vomiting (up to 10.5%)
Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea, flatulence, dyspepsia/heartburn, abdominal distension, constipation
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abdominal pain
Postmarketing reports: Pancreatitis
Very common (10% or more): Chest pain (up to 10%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Edema, weakness, hearing loss, tinnitus
Frequency not reported: Head/neck edema, vertigo
Postmarketing reports: Chills, asthenia
Common (1% to 10%): ALT increased, GGT increased, AST increased
Postmarketing reports: Hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, fatty change in liver, cirrhosis, fulminant hepatic necrosis, fatal hepatic failure, nonfatal hepatic failure, liver function test abnormalities
Common (1% to 10%): Headache, dizziness, paresthesia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Numbness
Frequency not reported: Memory impairment, neuropathy/peripheral neuropathy, taste disturbance
Postmarketing reports: Intraocular movement impaired, facial paresis, peripheral nerve palsy, cognitive impairment, forgetfulness, amnesia
Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract infection (up to 21.2%)
Frequency not reported: Interstitial lung disease
Common (1% to 10%): Rash, dermatitis
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pruritus, urticaria, scalp/hair abnormality, alopecia
Postmarketing reports: Skin discoloration, skin nodules, dry mucous membranes, changes to hair/nails, angioedema, dermatomyositis, purpura, photosensitivity, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome
Common (1% to 10%): Angina pectoris
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Disturbance of rhythm, hypertension, myocardial infarction
Frequency not reported: Flushing
Postmarketing reports: Vasculitis
Common (1% to 10%): Blurred vision, diplopia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Eye inflammation, lens opacity
Common (1% to 10%): Sleep disturbance, anxiety/nervousness, depression
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Insomnia
Frequency not reported: Libido change
Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dysuria, urinary frequency, nocturia, sexual dysfunction
Postmarketing reports: Thyroid function abnormalities, gynecomastia
Postmarketing reports: Hemolytic anemia, erythrocyte sedimentation rate increased, transient asymptomatic eosinophilia
Frequency not reported: Allergic/hypersensitivity reaction
Postmarketing reports: Anaphylaxis, positive antinuclear antibodies
Postmarketing reports: Hepatoma
1. Cerner Multum, Inc. “UK Summary of Product Characteristics.” O 0
2. “Product Information. Pravachol (pravastatin).” Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ.
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. “Australian Product Information.” O 0
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.
- What are the side effects of statins?
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- Drug class: statins
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