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Questions & Answers

Side Effects & Adverse Reactions

Liver Enzymes

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, like some other lipid-lowering therapies, have been associated with biochemical abnormalities of liver function. In placebo-controlled clinical trials (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Studies), subjects were exposed to pravastatin or placebo. In an analysis of serum transaminase values (ALT, AST), incidences of marked abnormalities were compared between the pravastatin and placebo treatment groups; a marked abnormality was defined as a post-treatment test value greater than three times the upper limit of normal for subjects with pretreatment values less than or equal to the upper limit of normal, or four times the pretreatment value for subjects with pretreatment values greater than the upper limit of normal but less than 1.5 times the upper limit of normal. Marked abnormalities of ALT or AST occurred with similar low frequency (£1.2%) in both treatment groups. Overall, clinical trial experience showed that liver function test abnormalities observed during pravastatin therapy were usually asymptomatic, not associated with cholestasis, and did not appear to be related to treatment duration. In a 320-patient placebo-controlled clinical trial, subjects with chronic (>6 months) stable liver disease, due primarily to hepatitis C or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, were treated with 80 mg pravastatin or placebo for up to 9 months. The primary safety endpoint was the proportion of subjects with at least one ALT ≥2 times the upper limit of normal for those with normal ALT (≤ the upper limit of normal) at baseline or a doubling of the baseline ALT for those with elevated ALT (> the upper limit of normal) at baseline. By Week 36, 12 out of 160 (7.5%) subjects treated with pravastatin met the prespecified safety ALT endpoint compared to 20 out of 160 (12.5%) subjects receiving placebo. Conclusions regarding liver safety are limited since the study was not large enough to establish similarity between groups (with 95% confidence) in the rates of ALT elevation.

It is recommended that liver function tests be performed prior to the initiation of therapy, and when clinically indicated.

Active liver disease or unexplained persistent transaminase elevations are contraindications to the use of pravastatin (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). Caution should be exercised when pravastatin is administered to patients who have a recent (< 6 months) history of liver disease, have signs that may suggest liver disease (e.g., unexplained aminotransferase elevations, jaundice), or are heavy users of alcohol (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Pharmacokinetics/Metabolism). Such patients should be closely monitored, started at the lower end of the recommended dosing range (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Adult Patients), and titrated to the desired therapeutic effect.

Patients who develop increased transaminase levels or signs and symptoms of active liver disease while taking pravastatin should be evaluated with a second liver function evaluation to confirm the finding and be followed thereafter with frequent liver function tests until the abnormality(ies) return to normal. Should an increase in AST or ALT of three times the upper limit of normal or greater persist, withdrawal of pravastatin therapy is recommended.

Skeletal Muscle

Rare cases of rhabdomyolysis with acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria have been reported with pravastatin and other drugs in this class. Uncomplicated myalgia has also been reported in pravastatin-treated patients (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Myopathy, defined as muscle aching or muscle weakness in conjunction with increases in creatine phosphokinase (CPK) values to greater than 10 times the upper limit of normal, was rare (<0.1%) in pravastatin clinical trials. Myopathy should be considered in any patient with diffuse myalgias, muscle tenderness or weakness, and/or marked elevation of CPK. Patients should be advised to report promptly unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever. Pravastatin sodium therapy should be discontinued if markedly elevated CPK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed or suspected. Pravastatin sodium therapy should also be temporarily withheld in any patient experiencing an acute or serious condition predisposing to the development of renal failure secondary to rhabdomyolysis, e.g., sepsis; hypotension; major surgery; trauma; severe metabolic, endocrine, or electrolyte disorders; or uncontrolled epilepsy.

The risk of myopathy during treatment with another HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor is increased with concurrent therapy with either erythromycin, cyclosporine, niacin, or fibrates. However, neither myopathy nor significant increases in CPK levels have been observed in three reports involving a total of 100 post-transplant patients (24 renal and 76 cardiac) treated for up to two years concurrently with pravastatin 10-40 mg and cyclosporine. Some of these patients also received other concomitant immunosuppressive therapies. Further, in clinical trials involving small numbers of patients who were treated concurrently with pravastatin and niacin, there were no reports of myopathy. Also, myopathy was not reported in a trial of combination pravastatin (40 mg/day) and gemfibrozil (1200 mg/day), although 4 of 75 patients on the combination showed marked CPK elevations versus one of 73 patients receiving placebo. There was a trend toward more frequent CPK elevations and patient withdrawals due to musculoskeletal symptoms in the group receiving combined treatment as compared with the groups receiving placebo, gemfibrozil, or pravastatin monotherapy (see PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions). The use of fibrates alone may occasionally be associated with myopathy. The combined use of pravastatin and fibrates should be avoided unless the benefit of further alterations in lipid levels is likely to outweigh the increased risk of this drug combination.

Legal Issues

There is currently no legal information available for this drug.

FDA Safety Alerts

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Manufacturer Warnings

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FDA Labeling Changes

There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.


Therapy with Pravastatin sodium tablets should be considered in those individuals at increased risk for atherosclerosis-related clinical events as a function of cholesterol level, the presence or absence of coronary heart disease, and other risk factors.

Primary Prevention of Coronary Events

In hypercholesterolemic patients without clinically evident coronary heart disease, Pravastatin sodium tablets are indicated to:

– Reduce the risk of myocardial infarction

– Reduce the risk of undergoing myocardial revascularization procedures

  1. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality with no increase in death from non- cardiovascular causes.


Pravastatin sodium tablets are indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce elevated Total-C, LDL-C, Apo B, and TG levels and to increase HDL-C in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia and mixed dyslipidemia (Fredrickson Type IIa and IIb).2

Pravastatin sodium tablets are indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet for the treatment of patients with elevated serum triglyceride levels (Fredrickson Type IV).

Pravastatin sodium tablets are indicated for the treatment of patients with primary dysbetalipoproteinemia (Fredrickson Type III) who do not respond adequately to diet.

Pravastatin sodium tablets are indicated as an adjunct to diet and lifestyle modification for treatment of HeFH in children and adolescent patients ages 8 years and older if after an adequate trial of diet the following findings are present:

1 LDL-C remains ≥ 190 mg/dL or

2 LDL-C remains ≥ 160 mg/dL and:

  1. there is a positive family history of premature cardiovascular disease or
  2. two or more other CVD risk factors are present in the patient

Lipid-altering agents should be used in addition to a diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol when the response to diet and other nonpharmacological measures alone has been inadequate (see NCEP Guidelines below).

Prior to initiating therapy with pravastatin, secondary causes for hypercholesterolemia (e.g., poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, nephrotic syndrome, dysproteinemias, obstructive liver disease, other drug therapy, alcoholism) should be excluded, and a lipid profile performed to measure Total-C, HDL-C, and TG. For patients with triglycerides (TG) <400 mg/dL (<4.5 mmol/L), LDL-C can be estimated using the following equation:

LDL-C = Total-C - HDL-C - 1/5 TG

For TG levels >400 mg/dL (>4.5 mmol/L), this equation is less accurate and LDL-C concentrations should be determined by ultracentrifugation. In many hypertriglyceridemic patients, LDL-C may be low or normal despite elevated Total-C. In such cases, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors are not indicated.

Lipid determinations should be performed at intervals of no less than four weeks and dosage adjusted according to the patient’s response to therapy.

The National Cholesterol Education Program’s Treatment Guidelines are summarized below:

d D rugT erap n Di eren R ik C teori s

Ris k at gory

L D Go l ( g/ L

LD L Le elat Whch to n itiat h e a puti Lifes y l ange (mg L)

L LL el a Whc to Co siderDr g Th rpy(m g /dL

C Da r CHD isk eq iv lets ( 0-ye r rik >20%



≥ 130 ( 00-1 9: dr g opt ona )b

2 R sk facto s (10-ye r risk ≤ 20%)


≥1 0

1 -year ris 10% 20%: ≥ 30

10-y ar risk <10% ≥160

0 1 R sk fac orc

< 60


≥190 160- 89: LDL lowe ing d ug op ional)

a CHD, coronary heart disease.

b Some authorities recommend the use of LDL-lowering drugs in this category if an LDL-C level of    <100 mg/dL cannot be achieved by therapeutic lifestyle changes. Others prefer use of drugs that primarily modify triglycerides and HDL-C, e.g., nicotinic acid or fibrate. Clinical judgement also may call for deferring drug therapy in this subcategory.

c Almost all people with 0-1 risk factor have 10-year risk <10%; thus, 10-year risk assessment in people with 0-1 risk factor is not necessary.

After the LDL-C goal has been achieved, if the TG is still ³200 mg/dL, non-HDL-C (Total-C minus HDL-C) becomes a secondary target of therapy. Non-HDL-C goals are set 30 mg/dL higher than LDL-C goals for each risk category.

At the time of hospitalization for an acute coronary event, consideration can be given to initiating drug therapy at discharge if the LDL-C is ³130 mg/dL (see NCEP Treatment Guidelines, above).

Since the goal of treatment is to lower LDL-C, the NCEP recommends that LDL-C levels be used to initiate and assess treatment response. Only if LDL-C levels are not available, should the Total-C be used to monitor therapy.

As with other lipid-lowering therapy, Pravastatin sodium tablets are not indicated when hypercholesterolemia is due to hyperalphalipoproteinemia (elevated HDL-C).

The NCEP classification of cholesterol levels in pediatric patients with a familial history of hypercholesterolemia or premature cardiovascular disease is summarized below:


Total-C (mg/dL)

LDL-C (mg/dL)











There is currently no drug history available for this drug.

Other Information

Pravastatin sodium tablets USP are one of a class of lipid-lowering compounds, the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, which reduce cholesterol biosynthesis. These agents are competitive inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the enzyme catalyzing the early rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis, conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate.

Pravastatin sodium USP is designated chemically as 1-Naphthalene-heptanoic acid, 1,2,6,7,8,8a-hexahydro-b,d,6-trihydroxy-2-methyl-8-(2-methyl-1-oxobutoxy)-, monosodium salt,[1S-[1a (bS*,dS*),2a,6a,8b(R*),8aa]]-. Structural formula:

   Structural Formula

C23H35NaO7 MW 446.52

Pravastatin sodium USP is an odorless, white to off-white, fine or crystalline powder. It is a relatively polar hydrophilic compound with a partition coefficient (octanol/water) of 0.59 at a pH of 7.0. It is soluble in methanol and water (>300 mg/mL), slightly soluble in isopropanol, and practically insoluble in acetone, acetonitrile, chloroform, and ether.

Pravastatin sodium tablets USP are available for oral administration as 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg or 80 mg tablets. Inactive ingredients include: croscarmellose sodium, crospovidone, magnesium stearate, meglumine, microcelac 100 (lactose monohydrate and microcrystalline cellulose), microcrystalline cellulose, opadry white YS-1-7040 (hypromellose 2910, polyethylene glycol 8000, talc, and titanium dioxide).

Pravastatin Manufacturers

  • Ncs Healthcare Of Ky, Inc Dba Vangard Labs
    Pravastatin (Pravastatin Sodium) Tablet [Ncs Healthcare Of Ky, Inc Dba Vangard Labs]

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