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Lovastatin To Lower Cholesterol

Lovastatin is a cholesterol-lowering medication isolated from a strain of Aspergillus terreus. When used with a diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol, exercise and weight loss, Lovastatin can lower the triglyceride (fat) and cholesterol levels in the blood. This prevents the blood vessels from clogging which may lead to stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular ailments.

The primary use of Lovastatin is for the prevention of cardiovascular ailments and the treatment of dyslipidemia. It is recommended to be used only after other measures in lowering the cholesterol level has proven to be ineffective. It’s FDA-approved for medical use and is one of the most prescribed medications in the US. Lovastatin is available in the market as generic and brand names and is supplied as 20mg and 40mg for oral administration.

What condition does Lovastatin treat?

Lovastatin is prescribed for:

  • Decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood
  • Primary prevention of coronary heart disease
  • Reducing the risk of unstable angina, myocardial infarction among patients with symptomatic cardiovascular disease
  • Slowing the progression of coronary atherosclerosis

Lovastatin may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

How do Lovastatin works?

Lovastatin belongs to the class of medications known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). Other statins include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, simvastatin, and rosuvastatin. Statins are medications prescribed primarily to help lower the cholesterol level in the blood. However, lowering the cholesterol level isn’t the only thing that you can get out of using statins. Statins can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevents blood vessels from clogging and stabilizing plaques on the blood vessels.

As a statin, Lovastatin reduces cholesterol levels in the blood by inhibiting a certain enzyme in the liver necessary for the production of cholesterol. Once in the blood, Lovastatin lowers total cholesterol levels including the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides and bad cholesterol. LDL causes coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. Lowering the LDL helps prevent stroke, angina, heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. This drug also increases good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

What is the dosage of Lovastatin?

  • Your dose is based on your condition and the strength of the medicine. Take Lovastatin exactly as directed by your physician.

High cholesterol

  • If you are using the extended-release tablet, the recommended starting dose for an adult in treating a high cholesterol level is 20 mg a day preferably in the evening meal. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed. The maximum recommended dose is not more than 60 mg a day.
  • The dose for an oral tablet is 20 mg a day taken with an evening meal. The maximum recommended dose should not exceed 40 mg a day.
  • The dose for children 10-17 years of age is 10mg once a day is taken during an evening meal. The maximum recommended dose should not exceed 40 mg a day.

Coronary heart disease

  • For the immediate-release tablet, the typical initial dose is 20 mg a day in the evening. The maximum dose is 80 mg a day.
  • For the extended-release tablet, the typical initial dose is 20 mg a day in the evening. The maximum dose is 60 mg a day.

How to take Lovastatin?

  • This drug should be taken in the evening.
  • Take it at around the same time each day. Take it exactly as directed or as written in the prescription label.
  • Do not take more than what is prescribed to you by your physician.
  • Continue taking this medicine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking it unless your doctor tells you so.
  • Do not split, chew or crush the tablet. Swallow it whole with plenty of water.

What are the precautions in taking Lovastatin?

  • Lovastatin is not the best choice for people with very high cholesterol level.
  • Do not take Lovastatin if:
    • You have an active liver disease
    • You are allergic to any of its ingredients
  • Extra monitoring and lower dose should be given to people with:
    • History of liver problems
    • Kidney problems
    • Underactive thyroid gland
    • Who are over 70 years of age
    • History of hereditary muscle disorders
    • Developing diabetes
    • Who have had a stroke
    • Who have had muscle side effects while taking a statin
  • Like other statins, this drug can cause digestive problems, muscle aches, blood sugar problems, muscle injury, kidney and liver damage. Take this medication only when clearly needed and as directed by your physician.
  • Other side effects include joint swelling, muscle spasm, diarrhea, headache, joint and muscle pain. In case of serious side effects like allergic reactions, memory loss, decreased glucose level and inflammation of the liver and pancreas seek medical help as soon as possible.
  • Serious liver damage is rare but you need to have a liver function test at the beginning of the treatment and then thereafter.
  • Avoid drinking grapefruit as it can increase the drug’s level in the blood.
  • Some medicines may increase the risk of toxicity and side effects in the body. To prevent this from happening inform your doctor if you are taking any other medication including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and herbal supplements.
  • Lovastatin reduces the cholesterol level in the blood making it not suitable for pregnant women. This medication is not also recommended breastfeeding women because of the risk of adverse side effects on the developing infant.

Costs of Generic Lovastatin vs Mevacor

The generic Lovastatin is a cheaper cholesterol-lowering agent compared with the brand name Mevacor. Lovastatin 20 mg cost $1.17 per unit price or $70 for 60 tabs. While the brand name Mevacor cost $303.90 for 60 tabs or $5.06 per unit price.