Information on Tablets A-Z
Brand Names:Altocor; Mevacor
Medication prescribed:Lovastatin is used with diet changes (restriction of cholesterol and fat intake) to reduce the amount of cholesterol and certain 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 prevent heart disease, angina (chest pain), strokes, and heart attacks.
How should this medicine be used: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. To help you remember to take lovastatin, take it around the same time 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 medicine:This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Special precautions: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. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antifungal medications such as itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral); cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); HIV protease inhibitors such as indinavir (Crixivan) and ritonavir (Norvir); medications that suppress the immune system such as cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); nefazodone (Serzone); other cholesterol-lowering medications such as fenofibrate (Tricor), gemfibrozil (Lopid), and niacin (nicotinic acid, Niacor, Niaspan); spironolactone (Aldactone); 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 drink large amounts of alcohol and if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease. tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking lovastatin, stop taking lovastatin and call your doctor immediately. Lovastatin may harm the fetus. if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking lovastatin. if you have a severe infection, surgery, an injury, low blood pressure, or seizures while taking lovastatin, talk to your doctor about stopping the medication for a while.
Special dietary instructions:Avoid drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice (more than 1 quart every day) 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.
If I forget a dose: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:Lovastatin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if this symptom is severe or does not go away: constipation Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately: muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness lack of energy or fever yellowing of the skin or eyes Lovastatin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What storage conditions: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 overdose:In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Other information: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. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
More information: Lovastatin