Classifications: antilipemic; hmg-coa reductase inhibitor (statin);
Therapeutic: antilipemic
; statin
Prototype: Lovastatin
Pregnancy Category: X


10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg tablets


Competitively inhibits 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes cholesterol biosynthesis. HMG-Coa reductase inhibitors (statins) increase serum HDL cholesterol, decrease serum LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol, and plasma triglyceride levels.

Therapeutic Effect

It is effective in reducing total and LDL cholesterol in various forms of hypercholesterolemia.


Hypercholesterolemia (alone or in combination with bile acid sequestrants) and familial hypercholesterolemia.


Hypersensitivity to pravastatin; active liver disease or unexplained elevated liver function test; hepatic encephalopathy, hepatitis, jaundice, rhabdomyolysis; pregnancy (category X), lactation. Safety and efficacy in children less than 8 y are not established.

Cautious Use

Alcoholics, history of liver disease; renal impairment; renal disease; seizure disorders.

Route & Dosage

Adult: PO 10–80 mg q.d.
Child (8–13 y): PO 20 mg q.d.


  • Give without regard to meals.
  • Give in the evening.

Adverse Effects (≥1%)

GI: Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, flatulence, heartburn, transient elevations in serum liver transaminase levels. Other: Fatigue, rhinitis, cough, transient elevations in CPK.


Drug: May increase PT when administered with warfarin.


Absorption: Poorly from GI tract; 17% reaches systemic circulation. Onset: 2 wk. Peak: 4 wk. Distribution: 43–55% protein bound; does not cross blood–brain barrier; crosses placenta; distributed into breast milk. Metabolism: Extensive first-pass metabolism in liver; has no active metabolites. Elimination: 20% of dose excreted in urine, 71% in feces. Half-Life: 1.8–2.6 h.

Nursing Implications

Assessment & Drug Effects

  • Lab tests: Perform liver function tests at start of therapy and then at 12 wk. If normal at 12 wk, may change to semiannual monitoring. Monitor cholesterol levels throughout therapy.
  • Monitor coagulation studies with patients receiving concurrent warfarin therapy. PT may be prolonged.
  • Monitor CPK levels if patient experiences unexplained muscle pain.

Patient & Family Education

  • Report unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by malaise or fever, to physician promptly.
  • Report signs of bleeding to physician promptly when taking concomitant warfarin therapy.

Common adverse effects in italic, life-threatening effects underlined; generic names in bold; classifications in SMALL CAPS; Canadian drug name; Prototype drug

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