Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Pravachol

(Pravastatin)

Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available
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Lowers cholesterol.

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Our bottom line

Pravachol (Pravastatin) can improve cholesterol, but it's not as strong as other statin medicines. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.

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Upsides

  • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (fats) and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
  • Can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, particularly if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or a history of smoking.
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Downsides

  • Not the best choice for people who have very high cholesterol levels.
  • Statins can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, and liver damage. Some people have to stop taking this medicine because of these problems.
  • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.

What to expect when you take Pravachol (Pravastatin) for High cholesterol

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Side effect rates for Pravachol (Pravastatin)

1313 From clinical trials of Pravastatin / High cholesterol
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Headache
  • Heart-related chest pain
  • Rash
  • Cpk increased
  • Inflammation inside the noses
  • Dizziness

Risks and Warnings for Pravachol (Pravastatin)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Kidney disease
    • High dose of Pravachol (Pravastatin)
    • Combining Pravachol (Pravastatin) with certain cholesterol-lowering drugs
    • Older age and female gender

    There are rare cases of muscle damage leading to kidney failure in people taking Pravachol (Pravastatin). The risk is greater in people with kidney disease or thyroid disease, are older and female and taking certain cholesterol-lowering medication combinations. Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, weakness or fever and there is no known cause.

Common concerns from people taking Pravachol (Pravastatin)

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Pregnancy
Interactions
  • Certain medications can interact with this drug. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Alcohol
  • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
Kidneys and liver
  • Statins can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, and liver damage. Some people have to stop taking this medicine because of these problems.
  • There are rare cases of muscle damage leading to kidney failure in people taking Pravachol (Pravastatin). The risk is greater in people with kidney disease or thyroid disease, are older and female and taking certain cholesterol-lowering medication combinations. Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, weakness or fever and there is no known cause.
  • There are reports of liver damage in people who take Pravachol (Pravastatin), especially if they are heavy alcohol drinkers or have a history of liver disease. If you notice dark urine or yellowing of the eyes or skin, tell your doctor. Your doctor may also want to check your liver function periodically.
  • You need to monitor Creatinine Clearance because - even though you may not experience muscle pain - all statins can cause rhabdymylosis (a form of muscle wasting) in a percentage of users. The waste product is excreted through the kidneys.
  • high liver enzymes
Pain
  • Combining certain medications can increase the risk of muscle pain (myopathy), muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis) and kidney damage. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist when taking any new medications.