Sounds like 'PRAV-uh-stat-in'

Key points about pravastatin

  • Pravastatin is used to lower raised cholesterol.
  • It belongs to a group of medicines known as statins.
  • Find out how to take pravastatin safely and possible side effects. 
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December 2023: The funded brand of pravastatin is changing

From December 2023, a new brand of pravastatin, Clinect Pravastatin will be funded. The Clinect brand has the same active ingredient and works the same way as the Mylan and Viatris brands. Find out more about Pravastatin – your brand is changing.(external link)

Everyone has cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood. They are fatty substances needed by the body for many things. There are different types of cholesterol. Too much of the 'bad' cholesterol can block the blood vessels that supply your heart and brain with blood, and can cause heart attack, angina and stroke. The 'good' cholesterol helps to remove the bad cholesterol from the blood vessels. Pravastatin is used to lower the level of cholesterol in your blood. 

Pravastatin belongs to a group of medicines called statins. Read more about statins – when they're used, their benefits and risks and other frequently asked questions about statins.

Pravastatin tablets are available in different strengths – 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg .

  • The usual dose of pravastatin is 20 to 40 mg once a day.
  • Always take pravastatin exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much pravastatin to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

  • Timing: Take pravastatin once a day. Pravastatin is best taken in the evening but it's alright to take it anytime of the day that suits you, at around the same time each day. You can take pravastatin with or without food.
  • Limit alcohol while you're taking pravastatin: Heavy drinking can increase your risk of side effects, eg, problems with your liver.
  • Missed dose: If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the usual time. Don't take double the dose.
  • Keep taking pravastatin regularly: To reduce your cholesterol effectively, you must keep taking pravastatin every day. Treatment with pravastatin is usually long term.

Here are some things to know when you're taking pravastatin. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.

  • You may need to see your doctor regularly when you first start taking pravastatin to make sure the dose is right for you. 
  • It's important to have a healthy diet and regular exercise to get the full benefit of a statin,
  • Pravastatin interacts with some medicines, herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting pravastatin and before starting any new products.

Like all medicines, pravastatin can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Muscle pain or weakness

Some people will have muscle pain or weakness when taking statins. This is rarely serious and often goes away with time. If your pain comes on shortly after you start your statin, or gets worse, see your doctor. Your doctor will check an enzyme called creatine kinase to see if the aches and pains are possibly being caused or made worse by the statins. If so:

  • a lower dose or a different statin may be prescribed, or
  • you may choose to continue living with the aches because of the benefits of the statin, or
  • you may discuss stopping taking your statin with your doctor.

Your doctor will also want to check for a rare but serious condition called rhabdomyolysis and will check any other medicines you are taking. Rhabdomyolysis can be caused by an interaction between statins and some other medicines.

Other side effects

Side effects What should I do?
  • Diarrhoea (runny poo)
  • Stomach upset
  • Bloating or gas in the tummy
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking pravastatin, and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if they bother you.
  • Muscle aches and pains or muscle weakness
  • Dry cough, sudden weight loss and fever
  • Tell your doctor.
  • Signs of problems with your liver such as dark coloured urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, sharp pain in your stomach area
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, eg, itchy skin and rash
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.(external link)

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland; Maya Patel, MPharm PGDipClinPharm, Auckland

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