Using pravastatin and grapefruit together may cause adverse reactions in some people by inhibiting the body’s ability to break down the drug for excretion in urine, although most research has found just minor effects. If adverse reactions do occur, however, toxic levels of the medication could accumulate in the kidneys or liver, leading to deterioration of muscles and organ damage. Some studies on the effects of pravastatin and grapefruit were deemed statistically insignificant, but unpredictable results warrant checking with a doctor for advice.
Pravastatin represents one of a group of statin drugs used to treat high cholesterol levels in adults and older children. Although researchers found minor effects of using pravastatin and grapefruit, the combination of grapefruit with other medication classified as statins might lead to serious complications. Chemicals in grapefruit might block excretion of these drugs from the body, causing muscles to become weak and painful. Kidney failure could result, especially in patients with kidney, liver, or thyroid disorders.
In addition to seeking advice before using pravastatin and grapefruit, patients should also tell their doctors about any herbs, vitamins, and other medications used. Niacin and garlic might interact with the drug by making it stronger. Magnesium and aluminum, minerals found in antacids, could block the absorption of statin drugs. This might be addressed by taking the two medications separately and allowing several hours between doses.
Statin drugs might also prevent the body from absorbing vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, and might lower levels of these essential nutrients by one-half. Symptoms of deficiencies of these substances mimic the signs of pravastatin and grapefruit complications, with muscle pain as the primary sign. Some doctors recommend supplements of vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 while taking statin drugs.
Patients taking this drug should also avoid excessive alcohol consumption, defined as more than two alcoholic beverages per day. Alcohol increases triglyceride levels, raising the risk of liver damage. Patients should discuss alcohol use with their doctors before using this medication.
Minor side effects of pravastatin include headache, dizziness, and diarrhea. More serious signs include muscle pain, chest pain, and fatigue. Medical care should be sought if urine turns dark, or swelling causes weight gain. Both of these symptoms might indicate toxic levels of the drug in the body. Liver damage might also cause yellowing of the eyes and skin.