Pravastatin belongs to a group of medicines called statins. It's used to lower cholesterol.
The medicine is available on prescription as tablets.
- Pravastatin seems to be a very safe medicine. It's unusual to have any side effects.
- Don't take pravastatin if you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant. This medicine can harm an unborn baby.
- Take pravastatin even if you feel well, as you will still be getting the benefits. Most people with high cholesterol don't have any symptoms.
- Pravastatin is also called Pravachol.
Who can and can't take pravastatin
Pravastatin can be taken by adults and children over the age of 8.
Pravastatin isn't suitable for some people. Tell your doctor if you:
- have an allergy or intolerance to pravastatin
- have liver or kidney problems
- are trying to get pregnant, think you might be pregnant, you're already pregnant, or you're breastfeeding
- have severe lung disease
- drink large amounts of alcohol
- have an underactive thyroid
- have had muscular side effects when taking a statin in the past
- have had a muscle disorder
How and when to take it
Take pravastatin once a day in the evening.
Pravastatin doesn't upset the stomach, so you can take it with or without food.
In adults, the usual dose is 10mg to 40mg once a day.
In children aged 8 to 13 years old, the usual dose is 10mg to 20mg once a day. In children aged 14 to 17 years old, the dose may range from 10mg to 40mg daily.
Your doctor will work out the amount of pravastatin that's right for your child.
Swallow pravastatin tablets whole with a glass of water.
What if I forget to take it?
If you occasionally forget to take a dose, take your next dose the next day at the usual time. Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take extra doses.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Taking an extra dose of pravastatin by accident is unlikely to harm you.
Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you're worried or if you take more than 1 extra dose.
Pravastatin seems to be a very safe medicine. It's unusual to have side effects with it.
One rare but serious side effect is unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness.
Serious side effects
It happens rarely, but less than 1 in 1,000 people taking pravastatin may have a serious side effect.
Stop taking pravastatin and tell a doctor if you develop:
- unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps - these can be a sign of muscle breakdown and kidney damage
- yellowing of the skin and eyes - these can be signs of liver problems
- severe tummy pain - these can be a sign of inflammation of the pancreas
- a cough, feeling short of breath and weight loss - these can be signs of interstitial lung disease
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction to pravastatin.
A serious allergic reaction is an emergency. Contact a doctor straight away if you think you or someone around you is having a serious allergic reaction.
The warning signs of a serious allergic reaction are:
- getting a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- tightness in the chest or throat
- having trouble breathing or talking
- swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat
These are not all the side effects of pravastatin. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Pravastatin is not recommended in pregnancy or while breastfeeding, as there's no firm evidence that it's safe.
Talk to your doctor if you want to get pregnant. It's best to stop taking pravastatin at least 3 months before you start trying for a baby.
If you become pregnant while taking pravastatin, stop taking the medicine and tell your doctor.
Pravastatin and breastfeeding
It's not known if pravastatin gets into breast milk, but it may cause problems for your baby. You may be able to stop pravastatin temporarily while you breastfeed.
Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines interfere with the way pravastatin works and can increase the chances of you having serious side effects such as muscle damage.
Medicines that may not mix well with pravastatin include:
- some antibiotics and antifungals
- some HIV medicines
- some hepatitis C medicines
- ciclosporin (treats psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis)
- colchicine (a medicine for gout)
If you're taking pravastatin and need to take one of these medicines, your doctor may:
- prescribe a lower dose of pravastatin
- prescribe a different statin
- recommend that you temporarily stop taking your pravastatin
Mixing pravastatin with herbal remedies and supplements
Tell your doctor or pharmacist that you're taking pravastatin before starting or stopping any complementary medicines including herbal remedies and supplements. They will be able to check if there are any known problems.
How does pravastatin work?
How long will I take pravastatin for?
Are statins safe?
Is pravastatin addictive?
Can I take pravastatin for a long time?
What will happen if I come off it?
Are there other cholesterol-lowering medicines?
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?
Can I drive or ride a bike?
Will it affect my contraception?
Will it affect my fertility?
Can lifestyle changes help?