Drug Class and Mechanism of Action of Pravachol
Pravachol is belongs to HMG-CoA reductase Inhibitor group of drugs also known as statins. This group of drugs is used for lowering blood cholesterol level. It has been shown to reduce the incidences of heart attacks, strokes and death caused by coronary heart disease. Statins reduce blood cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (in the liver), which is very essential in synthesis of cholesterol. In the blood, statins lower total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol is an important cause of coronary artery disease and called bad cholesterol) as well as triglycerides. They also increase HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol, which is necessary to keep our heart healthy. Lowering LDL cholesterol levels slows and may even reverse coronary artery disease and raising HDL cholesterol levels does the same. Other statins are simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin and fluvastatin etc.
Therapeutic Uses of Pravachol
Pravachol is used in the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD). It is used along with a proper diet, to help lower cholesterol and fats (mainly triglycerides) in the blood in CAD. Statins are prescribed after non pharmacological (diet change, regular exercise, weight loss if overweight etc.) treatment options have not been fully successful at lowering cholesterol. Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Direction of use of Pravachol
- Take Pravachol as per direction of your doctor or take it by mouth usually once daily, with or without food (especially evening for best result).
- Dose of Pravachol is based on your medical condition, response to therapy with it, and use of certain medicines which may interact with Pravachol. Due to drug interaction by certain drugs may increase the chances of muscle injury when used with pravachol. You should consult your doctor immediately if you get any problem.
- If you are taking certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol e.g. bile acid binding resins like cholestyramine or colestipol, you should take Pravachol at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after these drugs.
- Take Pravachol regularly for the best results. Try to use it at the same time each day. It may take up to 4 weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect and you should not stop it if you are not getting any result (most people with high cholesterol or triglycerides do not feel sick) within few days of use. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well.
If You Miss a Dose of Pravachol
If you miss a dose of Pravachol, take it as soon as you can remember it. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your usual dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses of Pravachol at a time.
How to Store Pravachol
Pravachol should be stored at 77 degrees F or 25 degrees Centigrade. Store it away from light, heat and moisture. It can be stored for a brief period of time between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 to 30 degrees C). Keep it out of reach of children. Do not store Pravachol in your bathroom.
More Information About Pravachol
Do not share Pravachol with others. Laboratory and/or medical tests like blood cholesterol levels, liver function tests etc. should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor or other health care provider for more details. For best results, Pravachol should be used along with non drug treatment (exercise, stop smoking, low cholesterol, low fat diet, and a weight loss program if you are overweight). To reduce risk of heart attacks and strokes, check blood pressure regularly, seek medical treatment if your blood pressure is high. Consult your doctor for more details about Pravachol.
Precautions to be Taken While Taking Pravachol
- Before you start taking Pravachol, you should inform your doctor if you are allergic to Pravachol or any other statins or any other medication.
- If you have certain medical problems like active liver disease, you should not use Pravachol and consult your doctor. You should tell your doctor about your medical history, especially if you have history of heart disease, history of liver disease, kidney disease, under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism), poorly controlled diabetes, alcohol abuse etc.
- Pravachol should not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately and get pregnancy test done. It is recommended that young girls and women of child bearing age use effective contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy while taking this drug since Pravachol may cause harm to the growing fetus.
- A small amount of Pravachol may pass into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Breast feeding is not recommended while using this drug and if you have to breast feed you should consult your doctor before breast feeding your baby.
- Use extreme caution while giving this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the side effects of the drug, especially muscle damage which can lead to kidney problems.
- Do not stop taking Pravachol without consulting your doctor. Before stopping your medication, inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions like major surgery, trauma, serious illness (sepsis, severe metabolic disorder, endocrine disorder, electrolyte disturbance etc.), very low blood pressure, uncontrolled seizures etc.
- Pravachol may cause dizziness and you should use caution while engaging in activities requiring alertness and constant attention such as driving or using machinery. Limit alcoholic beverages because daily use of alcohol may increase your chance for serious side effects like dizziness.
- There may be development of severe muscle damage which can lead to serious kidney problems though rarely. So, this medication should be temporarily stopped if you have any condition which can increase your risk of developing kidney problems.
Possible Adverse Effects of Pravachol
- Common and minor side effects of Pravachol are heartburn, headache, or dizziness. If any of these common and minor side effects persist or worsen, you should inform your doctor or other health care providers.
- Pravachol may infrequently cause muscle damage which can rarely lead to a very serious, possibly fatal, condition called rhabdomyolysis. Consult your doctor immediately if you develop any symptoms like muscle pain, muscle tenderness, muscle weakness etc. especially with fever or unusual tiredness.
- Consult your doctor immediately if any of the highly unlikely but very serious side effects of Pravachol like yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, severe fatigue, severe stomach pain, abdominal pain, persistent nausea and vomiting, change in the amount of urine etc. occurs.
- A serious allergic reaction to Pravachol is rare, but you should get immediate medical attention immediately if you develop allergic reaction to Pravachol. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction are skin rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, difficulty in breathing etc.
- If you get any other side effects of Pravachol which is not included above, you should get immediate medical attention.