Generic name: lovastatin (LOE va sta tin)
Brand name: Altoprev, Mevacor, Altocor
Dosage forms: oral tablet (10 mg; 20 mg; 40 mg); oral tablet, extended release (20 mg; 40 mg; 60 mg)
Drug class: Statins
Lovastatin is used together with diet to lower blood levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL), to increase levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL), and to lower triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood).
Lovastatin is used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart complications in adults with diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors.
Lovastatin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not take lovastatin if you have active liver disease, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact, and some drugs should not be used together.
Stop taking lovastatin and tell your doctor at once if you become pregnant.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use lovastatin if you are allergic to it, or if:
- you are pregnant or breastfeeding; or
- you have active liver disease.
Many drugs can interact and cause dangerous effects. Some drugs should not be used together with lovastatin. Your doctor may change your treatment plan if you also use:
- an antibiotic--clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin;
- antifungal medicine--itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole; or
- antiviral medicine to treat HIV or hepatitis C--boceprevir, cobicistat, dasabuvir, elvitegravir, indinavir, lopinavir/ritonavir, nelfinavir, ombitasvir, paritaprevir saquinavir, telaprevir, tipranavir.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- liver disease;
- muscle pain or weakness;
- kidney disease;
- a thyroid disorder; or
- if you drink large amounts of alcohol.
Lovastatin can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. This happens more often in older adults or people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Do not use if you are pregnant. This medicine can harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. Stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor at once if you become pregnant.
Do not breastfeed while using this medicine.
Lovastatin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take lovastatin?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.
It may take up to 4 weeks before your cholesterol levels improve, and you may need frequent blood tests. Even if you have no symptoms, tests can help your doctor determine if lovastatin is effective.
You may need to stop using lovastatin for a short time if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Do not stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Lovastatin is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking lovastatin?
Avoid eating foods high in fat or cholesterol, or lovastatin will not be as effective.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.
Grapefruit may interact with lovastatin and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products.
Lovastatin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Lovastatin can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, or dark colored urine.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
- muscle weakness in your hips, shoulders, neck, and back;
- trouble lifting your arms, trouble climbing or standing;
- kidney problems--little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or
- liver problems--loss of appetite, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
- headache; or
- accidental injury.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect lovastatin?
Some drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems if you take them together with lovastatin. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs:
- gemfibrozil, fenofibric acid, fenofibrate; or
- medicines that contain niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others).
This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect lovastatin. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.