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Pronounced: MEV-uh-core
Generic name: Lovastatin

Why is this drug prescribed: Mevacor is used, along with diet, to lower cholesterol levels in people with primary hypercholesterolemia (too much cholesterol in the bloodstream). High cholesterol levels foster the buildup of artery-clogging plaque, which can be especially dangerous when it collects in the vessels serving the muscles of the heart. Mevacor is prescribed to prevent this problem--called coronary heart disease--or to slow its advance if the arteries are already clogging up.

Most important fact about this drug: Mevacor is usually prescribed only if diet, exercise, and weight-loss fail to bring your cholesterol levels under control. It's important to remember that Mevacor is a supplement--not a substitute--for these other measures. To get the full benefit of the medication, you need to stick to the diet and exercise program prescribed by your doctor.

How should you take this medication: Mevacor should be taken with meals. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Protect Mevacor from light. Store at room temperature. Keep container tightly closed.

What side effects may occur: Mevacor is generally well tolerated. Any side effects that have occurred have usually been mild and short-lived. If any side effects develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Mevacor. Side effects may include: Abdominal pain/cramps, altered sense of taste, blurred vision, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, gas, headache, heartburn, indigestion, itching, muscle cramps, muscle pain, muscle weakness with rash, nausea, rash, weakness

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Mevacor or similar anticholesterol drugs, you should not take this medication. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any drug reactions that you have experienced. Unless you are directed to do so by your doctor, do not take this medication if you are being treated for liver disease. Do not take this drug if you are pregnant or nursing.

Special warnings about this medication: If you are being treated for any disease that contributes to increased blood cholesterol, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, nephrotic syndrome (kidney and blood vessel disorder), dysproteinemia (an excess of protein in the blood), or liver disease, your doctor will closely monitor your reaction to Mevacor. It is recommended that liver function tests be performed by your doctor before treatment with Mevacor begins, at 6 and 12 weeks after your treatment has started or your dosage has been raised, and periodically (about 6-month intervals) thereafter. If you are planning to have elective surgery, Mevacor should be discontinued a few days before the operation. This drug should be used with caution if you consume substantial quantities of alcohol or have a past history of liver disease.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: Mevacor tends to enhance the blood-thinning effect of Coumadin. In rare instances, it can also cause muscle pain and potential kidney damage when combined with the following: Clarithromycin (Biaxin) Clofibrate (Atromid-S) Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral) Erythromycin (E.E.S., PCE, others) Fenofibrate (Tricor) Fluconazole (DiFlucan) Gemfibrozil (Lopid) Itraconazole (Sporanox) Ketoconazole (Nizoral) Nefazodone (Serzone) Nicotinic acid or niacin (Niaspan) Protease inhibitors (a type of drug for HIV) such as Agenerase, Crixivan, Fortovase, Invirase, Norvir, and Viracept If you are taking Mevacor with any of these drugs, (or with large quantities of grapefruit juice), alert your doctor immediately at the first sign of muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by fever or general body discomfort. If you need to take erythromycin, Biaxin, Nizoral, or Sporanox, the doctor may temporarily take you off Mevacor.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: You should take Mevacor only if pregnancy is highly unlikely. If you become pregnant while taking this drug, discontinue using it and notify your physician immediately. There may be a potential hazard to the developing baby. This medication may appear in breast milk and may have an effect on nursing infants. If this medication is essential to your health, you should discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with this medication is finished.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: The recommended starting dose is 20 milligrams once a day, taken with the evening meal. The maximum recommended dose is 80 milligrams per day, taken as a single dose or divided into smaller doses, as determined by your doctor. Adjustments to any dose, as determined by your doctor, should be made at intervals of 4 weeks or more. If you are taking Lopid, Atromid-S, Tricor or nicotinic acid in combination with Mevacor, your dose of Mevacor should not exceed 20 milligrams per day. Cholesterol levels should be monitored periodically by your doctor, who may decide to reduce the dose if your cholesterol level falls below the targeted range. If you have reduced kidney function, your doctor will be cautious about increasing your dosage. CHILDREN: The safety and effectiveness of this drug have not been established in children.

Overdosage: There have been no reported cases of overdose with Mevacor. However, if you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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