Health Facts PlusDrug Information:                    Lovastatin

Health Facts PlusDrug Information: Lovastatin

How should this medicine be used?

What special precautions should I follow?

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

What should I do if I forget a dose?

What side effects can this medication cause?

What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?

What other information should I know?

Why is this medication prescribed?Return to top

Lovastatin is used together with lifestyle changes (diet, weight-loss, exercise) to reduce the amount of cholesterol (a fat-like substance) and other fatty substances in the blood. Lovastatin is in a class of medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). It works by slowing the production of cholesterol in the body.Buildup of cholesterol and fats along the walls of the blood vessels (a process known as atherosclerosis) decreases blood flow and, therefore, the oxygen supply to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body. Lowering blood levels of cholesterol and fats may help to decrease your chances of getting heart disease, angina (chest pain), strokes, and heart attacks. In addition to taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, making certain changes in your daily habits can also lower your cholesterol blood levels. You should eat a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol (see SPECIAL DIETARY), exercise 30 minutes on most, if not all days, and lose weight if you are overweight. How should this medicine be used?Return to top

Lovastatin comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The regular tablet is usually taken once or twice a day with meals. The extended-release tablet is usually taken once a day in the evening at bedtime. Take lovastatin at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take lovastatin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.Your doctor may start you on a low dose of lovastatin and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 4 weeks.Continue to take lovastatin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking lovastatin without talking to your doctor.Other uses for this medicineReturn to top

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.What special precautions should I follow?Return to top

Before taking lovastatin,tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to lovastatin or any other medications.

tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone); anticoagulants (''blood thinners'') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antifungal medications such as itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral); cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); danazol (Danocrine); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); HIV protease inhibitors such as indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir) and saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase); nefazodone (Serzone); other cholesterol-lowering medications such as fenofibrate (Tricor), gemfibrozil (Lopid), and niacin (nicotinic acid, Niacor, Niaspan); spironolactone (Aldactone); telithromycin (Ketek); and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.

tell your doctor if you have liver disease. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take lovastatin.

tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol, if you have ever had liver disease or if you have or have ever had kidney disease.

tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking lovastatin, stop taking lovastatin and call your doctor immediately. Lovastatin may harm the fetus.

Do not breastfeed while you are taking this medication.

if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking lovastatin.

ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking lovastatin. Alcohol can increase the risk of serious side effects.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?Return to top

Avoid drinking large amounts (more than 1 quart every day) of grapefruit juice while taking lovastatin.Eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet. This kind of diet includes cottage cheese, fat-free milk, fish (not canned in oil), vegetables, poultry, egg whites, and polyunsaturated oils and margarines (corn, safflower, canola, and soybean oils). Avoid foods with excess fat in them such as meat (especially liver and fatty meat), egg yolks, whole milk, cream, butter, shortening, lard, pastries, cakes, cookies, gravy, peanut butter, chocolate, olives, potato chips, coconut, cheese (other than cottage cheese), coconut oil, palm oil, and fried foods.What should I do if I forget a dose?Return to top

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.What side effects can this medication cause?Return to top

Lovastatin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if this symptom is severe or does not go away:

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:

yellowing of the skin or eyes

pain in the upper right part of the stomach

swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs

Lovastatin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration''s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?Return to top

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.In case of emergency/overdoseReturn to top

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.What other information should I know?Return to top

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests before and during treatment to check your body''s response to lovastatin.Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking lovastatin.Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.Brand namesReturn to top

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. Disclaimer

The MedMaster Patient Drug Information database provides information copyrighted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland Copyright 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Other ResourcesCopyright Privacy Accessibility Quality Guidelines U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894 National Institutes of Health Department of Health & Human Services

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