Lovastatin for cholesterol reduction may be an effective option in patients with high cholesterol, depending on their lipid profile. The treating doctor will establish which levels are problematic and choose a cholesterol-lowering agent accordingly, of which lovastatin is one. In most countries it is available by prescription only and may be known by different trade names in different countries, according to manufacturer.
Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol levels, are an increasingly occurring clinical condition worldwide. The cholesterol in the body is divided into three main types, namely HDL, LDL and triglycerides, all of which can be measured by doing a blood test and lipid profile. Simply put, LDL is the "bad" cholesterol and HDL, the "good" cholesterol. High levels of LDL and triglycerides may increase the risk of other conditions such as stroke and myocardial infarction, due to the narrowing of blood vessels by the cholesterol.
Treatment of high cholesterol involves both drug and non-drug measures and in mild cases, cholesterol may be controlled just by lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and stopping smoking. A diet with reduced fats and increased vegetables and low-fat foods can reduce the cholesterol levels significantly, and is recommended in combination with cholesterol-lowering drugs where they are needed.
When using lovastatin for cholesterol, it works by blocking an enzyme in the liver called HMG CoA-reductase, which is involved in the production of cholesterol. By decreasing the amount of cholesterol made in the liver, it causes more cholesterol to be taken up from the blood, therefore lowering the cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is synthesized at night mainly, so when using lovastatin for cholesterol lowering, it is advised to take it in the evening.
The HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors or statins, such as lovastatin, atorvastatin and pravastatin are most effective in lowering LDL cholesterol, although they may have some effect on HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. When using lovastatin for cholesterol the usual starting dose is 20 mg, taken at night. The dose may be increased at four-weekly intervals by the prescribing doctor, who will monitor response by checking the lipid levels and tolerance of adverse side effects, should they occur. The prescribed dose and dosage interval should never be adjusted without consultation with the prescribing doctor.
As with any medication, using lovastatin may interact with other medications. Any other drugs, including homeopathic, over-the-counter and complementary medicines should be discussed with the doctor. They may interfere with the lovastatin and either increase levels, thus increasing the risk of toxicity and adverse effects, or decrease them, reducing the clinical efficacy.