At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
The main factors affecting pravastatin dose are the patient's response and tolerance of the drug. Other factors which may affect the dosing include kidney function, age of the patient and the intake of other medications which may interact with the pravastatin. In most countries pravastatin is available by prescription only and treatment will be given under supervision of the treating doctor. Pravastatin may be known by different trade names in different countries, according to manufacturer.
Pravastatin belongs to the class of drugs called statins, or HMG CoA-reductase inhibitors. They are used to treat high cholesterol and work by blocking the enzyme HMG CoA-reductase in the liver, which produces cholesterol, thus lowering the levels in the body. Other drugs in the same class include rosuvastatin, atorvastatin and simvastatin.
Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol, is an increasingly common condition worldwide and, if severe and left untreated, can result in more severe conditions such as heart attack and stroke. Lifestyle changes are the first step to lowering cholesterol and include changing the diet and exercising. If the cholesterol levels are very high, however, medication, such as pravastatin, may be necessary. The choice of which class of cholesterol-lowering drug to use will be made by the doctor, according to each patient's lipid profile.
When starting treatment, the pravastatin dose is usually low and may be increased after a month, depending on response. The doctor will measure the cholesterol levels to monitor response and alter the pravastatin dose accordingly. If used in children, the pravastatin dose used is normally lower.
As with any medication, interactions with other drugs and pravastatin may occur. Any other medications, including complementary, homeopathic and over-the-counter medicines should be discussed with the treating doctor before starting treatment with pravastatin. Should a new medicine be started, or dose of a current drug be changed while taking pravastatin it too should be discussed with the doctor or pharmacist before initiation.
While on treatment, unwanted side effects may occur in some people and may necessitate a change in pravastatin dose or, if severe, discontinuation of the drug. Adverse effects which have been reported include gastrointestinal side effects such as abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea and muscular side effects. Some reports of hepatotoxicity or liver dysfunction have also been seen. The doctor will monitor for side effects and should any severe effects be experienced, medical attention should be sought.