Overview

Pravachol is prescribed primarily to lower cholesterol.

Heart specialists recognize that coronary artery disease is associated with certain risk factors, including high serum cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and reduced levels of protective HDL cholesterol.

Diet, exercise and weight control are usually considered important first-line preventive approaches. When they are insufficient, drugs like Pravachol may be important in reducing the risk of heart disease.

This medication has been found to increase good HDL cholesterol while lowering triglycerides and certain other negative blood fats.

Side Effects and Interactions

Pravachol has relatively few side effects and most people tolerate it well.

Some adverse reactions that may occur include nausea, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, stomachache, fatigue, headache and skin rash.

Less common complications include dizziness, muscle pain, change in the sense of taste, insomnia, and numbness or tingling of the hands or feet.

Muscle aches or weakness could be a sign of a serious reaction called rhabdomyolysis or myopathy, and call for a test of kidney function.
Kidney failure might be the outcome of untreated myopathy. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

The danger of rhabdomyolysis or myopathy is increased when Mevacor is combined with certain other drugs.

Troleandomycin or erythromycin antibiotics such as E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin or PCE have been involved in several cases.

The new antibiotics Biaxin and Zithromax belong to the same class of drugs, but it is not clear if they have a potential for such an interaction.

Because Pravachol is in the same class as Mevacor, this interaction may pose hazards with Pravachol as well.

When Pravachol is combined with other cholesterol-lowering medicines such as Lopid or niacin be alert for muscle pain, weakness, and kidney damage, as rhabdomyolysis may be more common in this situation.

The transplant drug Sandimmune might also increase the risk of this dangerous reaction.

Pravachol may also increase the action of the blood thinner Coumadin; prothrombin time should be closely monitored.

Questran or Colestid may reduce the absorption of Pravachol if they are given at the same time.

Tagamet also appears to interact with Pravachol.

Check with your physician and pharmacist to make sure Pravachol is safe in combination with any other drug you may take.

Special Precautions

Anyone with liver problems should probably not take Pravachol.

Liver enzyme changes have been reported in a small proportion of patients using this medicine, and may indicate serious problems.

Liver function should be tested before anyone starts taking Pravachol and every month or so for the first year. Periodic tests are needed thereafter.

Because cholesterol is essential for the developing fetus, pregnant women should not take Pravachol.

Research on animals has also shown stroke-like bleeding in dogs on Pravachol, but only at relatively high doses. Whether there is a risk for humans remains to be determined.

It is important to see an ophthalmologist before starting on Pravachol. An eye test should also be performed annually to make there is no damage to the lens.

Taking the Medicine

The manufacturer recommends that Pravachol be taken at bedtime.

It may be taken without or with meals.

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  1. sandra
    Reply

    I have been given pravastatin. I started with pain in hands, shoulders and down my arms. Now I have breathing problems and heart feeling that it is racing.

  2. Bev
    Reply

    I have been taking Pravastatin for about 4 years now. Every now and then I’ll run out and because of pay day/rent situation will go a week or few days before I can re-fill my RX (No insurance). But this month I ran out and went 2 weeks… I truly thought I had developed some auto-immune disorder.
    My joints hurt terribly. My hip and leg were in so much pain just walking and laying down was painful. I thought it was hip and joint problems. All sorts of things went through my mind but I never once thought about the Pravastatin. I’ve never had problems before when I missed a week or a few days.
    But yesterday I went and got my RX filled, got some fish oil and today I wake up a completely different person. It’s absolutely stunning. I recommend ANYONE who has this happen mention this to your doctor before stopping the medicine. I will definitely mention this to mine at my monthly doctor visit.
    It’s easy to get bad information on the internet… but it’s also helpful when you learn things that make a difference. Never change your medication without the consent of your doctor.

  3. Tony G
    Reply

    Although I am a male, have had many of the same symptoms you are describing. I have taken Pravastatin for several years. I have had nights where the itching and burning on my forearm would drive me crazy. I didn’t think I was going to make it through the night. I actually clawed my arm until it bled rather badly. I have also experienced the weakness in getting up from sitting on the floor or a low sitting position. Also, my right leg and ankle broke several years ago, will give me fits of aching so much. At night I come in from work and I collapse on the couch. I used to have a lot more energy. I had wondered if these symptoms could be caused by Pravastatin, but I blew it off as just a wild thought. Now, I’m hearing you have my same symptoms. I wonder how many others experience the same symptoms?

  4. Cornelia
    Reply

    Hi, everyone. I had forgotten how bad statins can make you feel. Due to a tendon injury, I have gained 30 pounds and my cholesterol has shot up. First the doctor put me on Pravachol 40; then he increased it to 80. I gave been taking it for 2 months. I have NO ENERGY… I barely get through the work day. I ache all over, and last week I had the worst diarrhea for 6 days. I think the 80 mg. is killing me.
    I stopped Lipitor years ago due to muscle pain. I am going to have to reconstruct my life to lower my cholesterol. I cannot take statins. Yes, they work… but now I am reading about a reference to ALS and Alzheimer’s? I know a lot about Alz. Since I am a nurse in that field, and it seems like the numbers are skyrocketing. And I cannot find words sometimes… only recently. I am getting off of this. It reminds me of The Constant Gardener… a movie about a pharmaceutical company.
    I have abdominal cramping, back aches and I am just sitting here. Thank you for helping me make up my mind!

  5. HA
    Reply

    My mom has been on Pravastatin for a little over a year and she has had non-stop muscle weakness and pain in her legs and a weakened grip. She was also exhausted from frequent night-time urination. After reading several books by several doctors, including the doctor who takes care of NASA astronauts, I had her stop taking it and her INR numbers (Coumadin levels in blood) dropped drastically, followed by her seeing double and heart racing so bad we had to take her to the ER. Doctor said that the sudden stop didn’t cause these issues, but I can’t help but wonder. Thing is now that the worse of getting off of it is done, she is feeling better.
    Doctors pretend like they don’t hear of these serious and very common side effects but you speak to people on statins and more than half have serious problems, most of which is muscle weakness and extreme fatigue. Yeah, high cholesterol is bad, but being bedridden and not being to walk or exercise can’t be all that great for you either.
    After a year and half on this stuff, a quarter of my mom’s heart muscle wasn’t pumping well. Muscle issues are a known side effect and the heart is a muscle. I’m going to try to keep her off the statins and start her on some co-Q 10 to counter the effects of this drug and see where it goes from there. BTW, while in the hospital, they tried to put her back on it and she refused to take it.

  6. DAVID S.
    Reply

    I have taken some of the drugs mentioned and suffered many adverse side effects. I bought a book written by a pharmacologist who has worked as a consultant to doctors for many years. The book is a real eye-opener, especially for elderly persons such as myself. The title is “ARE YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES KILLING YOU?” The result was that I was able to convince my doctor to reduce the number of medicines and prescribe lower doses of ones he felt I definitely needed.
    DS

  7. cm
    Reply

    Hi: I felt I had to write after reading all the comments.
    I am 62 year old married female. Been on pravastatin for several years….20 mg. For the last year or more have had terrible headaches. I then needed ANOTHER prescription for that… sumatriptan (spelling ) 100 mg. I feel like now I’m some sort of…. pill junky ?!!
    I know I have some cognitive problems already… I have M.S. but I feel this pill does not do me any justice in that regard. My father had his first heart attack at 50… died at 67 for the same. Knowing that and having some high cholesterol #’s I was put on the statin. My M.S. had been stable for over 20 years but now the sleepless nights, back pain, headaches and constipation are enough for me to just toss the dice and… chance it ? Any suggestions ??
    Thanks.
    P.S. I am taking NO medications for my M.S.

  8. WSP
    Reply

    Hello Pam
    I been thru a lot with this medicine pravastatin and I took myself off of it. My advice to you is have your doctor to give you something else. I take zetia 10 mg and niaspan 500 mg with an 81mg baby aspirin every night before bed and I’ve been doing great with my cholesterol. So when I went back in to see my doctor after I took myself off on a Friday I told him what was happening to me and he told me it was a good thing for me to pull myself off of it It was paralyzing my whole right side of my body.
    By the time Monday got here I was so so much better than I seen him on wed. And it was like nothing had happened except I do see that my right arm is very weak since this has happened. See I can’t take anything that is very strong with statin in it now at all. My father was on it and it put him in the bed the last 4 months of his life. I’m not really sure if that had an affect on him passing away he was a very old man in his 90’s.

  9. Pam
    Reply

    Hi!
    I have only been on Pravastatin for 2 wks. I have severe back pain. The only thing that relieves it is to lay down. I get bad cramping in my back and legs. I don’t have the fatigue, but I’m starting to feel a definite difference in my musculoskelator system.
    Currently my right hand is feeling funny. I know when I get up from this hard back chair my back will grab me, and I will feel like I have been beaten up and kicked several times with a heavy shoe.
    I have never had this before. I stopped the Pravastatin, (since last noc)and hope these symptoms will go away. I hope it will happen soon. I swear it feels like my back has been broken, without any injury.

  10. MM
    Reply

    I’ve been taking pravastatin since about May 2013. My major issues have been terrible gas that’s like sulfur and burning with very soft BM that needs a shower to feel clean again. Frequent Diarrhea too. Sometimes pains in my right side. Bloating and full feeling. Nausea and feeling like I’m coming down with a stomach bug. I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain in my right arm and thumb. Can’t use thumb without lots of pain when I have these frequent flare ups.
    Right now it feels completely normal. I haven’t taken pravastatin since Friday night and today is the first day I haven’t had that awful gas and my BM was more like it used to be. I seem to have the side effects that happen only to the 1 out of 100 have had. I also feel sometimes like my motor skills are off and like you feel when you blood sugar drops from not eating. Hard to explain. Just don’t feel good most if the time with bouts of fatigue. Still testing my body with out the meds for a little while then I will eventually call my Dr.
    Best to all with more serious illnesses!

  11. L Y
    Reply

    I started taking pravastatin 40mg about 2 years ago. about 2 1/2 months ago I started having trouble with my biceps like a freezing cold sensation then I couldn’t lift my arms to get dressed without pain even pulling the covers up at night was agony. I called the doctor after seeing a lot of things on the computer and stopped the pravastatin. Now 2 months later my hands ache my calves my knees and my biceps while not as bad are still not back to normal. Started taking coq10 200mg about 2 weeks ago. Hope this eventually goes away anyone else with this problem?

  12. wck
    Reply

    I was switched from simvistatin over to pravastatin 4 months ago after a change in some other meds. I was exercising steadily at the time and suddenly developed a terrible case of plantar’s fasciitis. Got so bad that I had to stop exercising all together. Never made the connection between the drug and my condition — even saw my doctor and had shots to my heel to relieve the pain – to no effect.
    Everyone told me I just needed to be patient and let my foot heel, but weeks turned into months and the pain just kept getting worse. Then my right shoulder muscles began aching and I lost strength in my right side – could not lift my right arm above my head. I’m only 54 and have always been in great shape so I could not understand why this was happening to me. A friend asked me if I was taking a statin — and if so, was I also taking co-enzyme Q to counter the effects. I wasn’t taking the Q.
    My doctor had never mentioned this. I immediately stopped the pravastatin and started taking co-enzyme Q. Within 3 days, I am COMPLETELY pain free. I am still shocked at the difference – and a bit angry that my doctor was so clueless. The dramatic improvement in my pain level and energy makes me wonder what else this terrible drug was doing to my body. I will keep an eye on my cholesterol and do every natural thing I can to keep it under control.

  13. WSP
    Reply

    TJR
    STOP TAKING THE PRAVASTATIN ITS YOUR BODY IT WON’T HURT YOU TO JUST STOP
    I DID MY AN THEN I WENT TO MY DOCTOR AN HE TOLD ME I DID THE RIGHT THING
    YOU ARE LUCKY YOU BEEN ON IT FOR 3 MONTHS
    I WAS ONLY ON MY FOR 14 DAYS I LEFT A COMMENTS UNDER MY NAME WSP I HAVE 2 OF THEM AN YOU CAN READ WHAT HAPPEN TO ME
    BUT I SURE COME OFF OF IT NOTHING GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU BUT IN A DAY OR SO YOU WILL START TO SEE THE PAIN GO AWAY
    WSP

  14. TJR
    Reply

    I have been taking Pravastatin 20 mg for about 3 months. I have developed sever pain in my shoulder so much so, that it was x-ray to see if anything was broking. No, nothing broken and recall no incident to cause this sever pain when shoulder is moved in certain position. Asked the doctor and he just smiled but did not discontinue the medication. Now I have developed pain in my hip and it is hard to get out of bed in the morning.
    I have been suffering with fatigue and now it is even worse. I too would like to know if pravastatin can be stopped abruptly or should it be tapered off?? with my current condition and what I have read, not only here, but at the Mayo and web MD site, I think I should stop now. My doctor isn’t listening to my complaints.
    People’s Pharmacy response: If the doctor truly isn’t listening (different from listening but disagreeing), you may need to look for a different doctor.

  15. Liz
    Reply

    Im taking pravastatin 20mg… My cholesterol numbers have come down, but of course not as low as the guideline.. Now the Dr. wants to increase to 40mg. I’m very hesitant to increase dosage since I have no major symptoms. I think the guideline was reduced so more people will take cholesterol meds.
    I do not trust a society made up of companies unlimited profit venue, power, control based health care. So, must do research on side effects and what is a reasonable number to be at. No, I do not listen to whoever designed recommended numbers..I listen to my own body. Who will help you when your liver or kidney or whatever goes bad? The doctor or the company manufactured drugs etc. will not be holding your hand.
    So, I do not need perfect cholesterol numbers, since they do not exist. The company’s decide every few years what the numbers should be. I wonder who are the selected group of people are that make up the magic numbers for cholesterol etc.

  16. Terry
    Reply

    I was taking Pravastatin 40 mg for 6 weeks but started to feel very tired after about 10 days. The doctor has now taken me off it and I am suffering extreme fatigue, weakness and ‘muzzy head’ since stopping 4 days ago. Please help me to find out how long this is likely to last and if there is anything I can do to relieve symptoms. I feel worse than I was taking the medication. I am female aged 74 and normally fit and active.

  17. afd
    Reply

    05-17-2013 65 years old. Took it for the past 3 days. 40 mg Prevastatin Not taking it ever again. Can’t wake up in the morning. Hardly able to stand up. Finally feel alert right now and it is 5:30 pm in the day. This morning I noticed food given to me was extremely salty and wife assures me that it was not any more salty then usual. (It was a bowl of oatmeal… and she used the normal amt. of salt in it that the directions call for. She ate a bowl.) But I could not eat a second spoonful of it. It tasted like it was made with seawater. My cholesterol is 180. I will reduce it some other way.
    Thank You for the posts.

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