July 28, 2016
Recommended Topic Related To:


"Nov. 5, 2012 (Los Angeles) -- An IV infusion of "good" HDL cholesterol seems to rapidly remove cholesterol out of plaque-clogged arteries following a heart attack, a small, early study suggests.

The goal of the new treatment is to red"...





Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Skeletal Muscle

Rare cases of rhabdomyolysis with acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria have been reported with pravastatin and other drugs in this class. A history of renal impairment may be a risk factor for the development of rhabdomyolysis. Such patients merit closer monitoring for skeletal muscle effects.

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 ULN, 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. Predisposing factors include advanced age ( ≥ 65), uncontrolled hypothyroidism, and renal impairment.

There have been rare reports of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM), an autoimmune myopathy, associated with statin use. IMNM is characterized by: proximal muscle weakness and elevated serum CPK, which persist despite discontinuation of statin treatment; muscle biopsy showing necrotizing myopathy without significant inflammation and improvement with immunosuppressive agents.

All patients should be advised to promptly report to their physician unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever or if muscle signs and symptoms persist after discontinuing PRAVACHOL.

Pravastatin therapy should be discontinued if markedly elevated CPK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed or suspected. Pravastatin 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 statins 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 3 reports involving a total of 100 post-transplant patients (24 renal and 76 cardiac) treated for up to 2 years concurrently with pravastatin 10 to 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 1 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. The use of fibrates alone may occasionally be associated with myopathy. The benefit of further alterations in lipid levels by the combined use of PRAVACHOL with fibrates should be carefully weighed against the potential risks of this combination.

Cases of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, have been reported with pravastatin coadministered with colchicine, and caution should be exercised when prescribing pravastatin with colchicine [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].


Statins, like some other lipid-lowering therapies, have been associated with biochemical abnormalities of liver function. In 3 long-term (4.8-5.9 years), placebo-controlled clinical trials (WOS, LIPID, CARE), 19,592 subjects (19,768 randomized) were exposed to pravastatin or placebo [see Clinical Studies]. 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 3 times the ULN for subjects with pretreatment values less than or equal to the ULN, or 4 times the pretreatment value for subjects with pretreatment values greater than the ULN but less than 1.5 times the ULN. 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 ULN for those with normal ALT ( ≤ ULN) at baseline or a doubling of the baseline ALT for those with elevated ALT ( > ULN) 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.

There have been rare postmarketing reports of fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure in patients taking statins, including pravastatin. If serious liver injury with clinical symptoms and/or hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice occurs during treatment with PRAVACHOL, promptly interrupt therapy. If an alternate etiology is not found do not restart PRAVACHOL.

Endocrine Function

Statins interfere with cholesterol synthesis and lower circulating cholesterol levels and, as such, might theoretically blunt adrenal or gonadal steroid hormone production. Results of clinical trials with pravastatin in males and post-menopausal females were inconsistent with regard to possible effects of the drug on basal steroid hormone levels. In a study of 21 males, the mean testosterone response to human chorionic gonadotropin was significantly reduced (p < 0.004) after 16 weeks of treatment with 40 mg of pravastatin. However, the percentage of patients showing a ≥ 50% rise in plasma testosterone after human chorionic gonadotropin stimulation did not change significantly after therapy in these patients. The effects of statins on spermatogenesis and fertility have not been studied in adequate numbers of patients. The effects, if any, of pravastatin on the pituitary-gonadal axis in pre-menopausal females are unknown. Patients treated with pravastatin who display clinical evidence of endocrine dysfunction should be evaluated appropriately. Caution should also be exercised if a statin or other agent used to lower cholesterol levels is administered to patients also receiving other drugs (e.g., ketoconazole, spironolactone, cimetidine) that may diminish the levels or activity of steroid hormones.

In a placebo-controlled study of 214 pediatric patients with HeFH, of which 106 were treated with pravastatin (20 mg in the children aged 8-13 years and 40 mg in the adolescents aged 14-18 years) for 2 years, there were no detectable differences seen in any of the endocrine parameters (ACTH, cortisol, DHEAS, FSH, LH, TSH, estradiol [girls] or testosterone [boys]) relative to placebo. There were no detectable differences seen in height and weight changes, testicular volume changes, or Tanner score relative to placebo.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

In a 2-year study in rats fed pravastatin at doses of 10, 30, or 100 mg/kg body weight, there was an increased incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas in males at the highest dose (p < 0.01). These effects in rats were observed at approximately 12 times the human dose (HD) of 80 mg based on body surface area (mg/m²) and at approximately 4 times the HD, based on AUC.

In a 2-year study in mice fed pravastatin at doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg/day, there was an increased incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas in males and females at both 250 and 500 mg/kg/day (p < 0.0001). At these doses, lung adenomas in females were increased (p=0.013). These effects in mice were observed at approximately 15 times (250 mg/kg/day) and 23 times (500 mg/kg/day) the HD of 80 mg, based on AUC. In another 2-year study in mice with doses up to 100 mg/kg/day (producing drug exposures approximately 2 times the HD of 80 mg, based on AUC), there were no drug-induced tumors.

No evidence of mutagenicity was observed in vitro, with or without rat-liver metabolic activation, in the following studies: microbial mutagen tests, using mutant strains of Salmonella typhimurium or Escherichia coli; a forward mutation assay in L5178Y TK +/- mouse lymphoma cells; a chromosomal aberration test in hamster cells; and a gene conversion assay using Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In addition, there was no evidence of mutagenicity in either a dominant lethal test in mice or a micronucleus test in mice.

In a fertility study in adult rats with daily doses up to 500 mg/kg, pravastatin did not produce any adverse effects on fertility or general reproductive performance.

Use In Specific Populations


Risk Summary

PRAVACHOL is contraindicated for use in pregnant woman because of the potential for fetal harm. As safety in pregnant women has not been established and there is no apparent benefit to therapy with PRAVACHOL during pregnancy, PRAVACHOL should be immediately discontinued as soon as pregnancy is recognized [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Limited published data on the use of PRAVACHOL in pregnant women are insufficient to determine a drug-associated risk of major congenital malformations or miscarriage. In animal reproduction studies, no evidence of fetal malformations was seen in rabbits or rats exposed to 10 times to 120 times, respectively, the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 80 mg/day. Fetal skeletal abnormalities, offspring mortality, and developmental delays occurred when pregnant rats were administered 10 times to 12 times the MRHD during organogenesis to parturition [see Data]. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus.

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively.


Human Data

Limited published data on pravastatin have not shown an increased risk of major congenital malformations or miscarriage.

Rare reports of congenital anomalies have been received following intrauterine exposure to other statins. In a review2 of approximately 100 prospectively followed pregnancies in women exposed to simvastatin or lovastatin, the incidences of congenital anomalies, spontaneous abortions, and fetal deaths/stillbirths did not exceed what would be expected in the general population. The number of cases is adequate to exclude a ≥ 3 to 4-fold increase in congenital anomalies over the background incidence. In 89% of the prospectively followed pregnancies, drug treatment was initiated prior to pregnancy and was discontinued at some point in the first trimester when pregnancy was identified.

Animal Data

Embryofetal and neonatal mortality was observed in rats given pravastatin during the period of organogenesis or during organogenesis continuing through weaning. In pregnant rats given oral gavage doses of 4, 20, 100, 500, and 1000 mg/kg/day from gestation days 7 through 17 (organogenesis) increased mortality of offspring and increased cervical rib skeletal anomalies were observed at ≥ 100 mg/kg/day systemic exposure, 10 times the human exposure at 80 mg/day MRHD based on body surface area (mg/m²).

In other studies, no teratogenic effects were observed when pravastatin was dosed orally during organogenesis in rabbits (gestation days 6 through 18) up to 50 mg/kg/day or in rats (gestation days 7 through 17) up to 1000 mg/kg/day. Exposures were 10 times (rabbit) or 120 times (rat) the human exposure at 80 mg/day MRHD based on body surface area (mg/m²).

In pregnant rats given oral gavage doses of 10, 100, and 1000 mg/kg/day from gestation day 17 through lactation day 21 (weaning), increased mortality of offspring and developmental delays were observed at ≥ 100 mg/kg/day systemic exposure, corresponding to 12 times the human exposure at 80 mg/day MRHD, based on body surface area (mg/m²).

In pregnant rats, pravastatin crosses the placenta and is found in fetal tissue at 30% of the maternal plasma levels following administration of a single dose of 20 mg/day orally on gestation day 18, which corresponds to exposure 2 times the MRHD of 80 mg daily based on body surface area (mg/m²). In lactating rats, up to 7 times higher levels of pravastatin are present in the breast milk than in the maternal plasma, which corresponds to exposure 2 times the MRHD of 80 mg/day based on body surface area (mg/m²).


Risk Summary

Pravastatin use is contraindicated during breastfeeding [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Based on one lactation study in published literature, pravastatin is present in human milk. There is no available information on the effects of the drug on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in a breastfed infant, advise patients that breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with PRAVACHOL.

Females And Males of Reproductive Potential



PRAVACHOL may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman [see Use in Specific Populations]. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with PRAVACHOL.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of PRAVACHOL in children and adolescents from 8 to 18 years of age have been evaluated in a placebo-controlled study of 2 years duration. Patients treated with pravastatin had an adverse experience profile generally similar to that of patients treated with placebo with influenza and headache commonly reported in both treatment groups. [See ADVERSE REACTIONS.] Doses greater than 40 mg have not been studied in this population. Children and adolescent females of childbearing potential should be counseled on appropriate contraceptive methods while on pravastatin therapy [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and Use in Specific Populations]. For dosing information [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Double-blind, placebo-controlled pravastatin studies in children less than 8 years of age have not been conducted.

Geriatric Use

Two secondary prevention trials with pravastatin (CARE and LIPID) included a total of 6593 subjects treated with pravastatin 40 mg for periods ranging up to 6 years. Across these 2 studies, 36.1% of pravastatin subjects were aged 65 and older and 0.8% were aged 75 and older. The beneficial effect of pravastatin in elderly subjects in reducing cardiovascular events and in modifying lipid profiles was similar to that seen in younger subjects. The adverse event profile in the elderly was similar to that in the overall population. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses to pravastatin between elderly and younger patients.

Mean pravastatin AUCs are slightly (25%-50%) higher in elderly subjects than in healthy young subjects, but mean maximum plasma concentration (Cmax ), time to maximum plasma concentration (T max ), and half-life (t½) values are similar in both age groups and substantial accumulation of pravastatin would not be expected in the elderly [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Since advanced age ( ≥ 65 years) is a predisposing factor for myopathy, PRAVACHOL should be prescribed with caution in the elderly [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Pravastatin has not been evaluated in patients with rare homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. In this group of patients, it has been reported that statins are less effective because the patients lack functional LDL receptors.


2.Manson JM, Freyssinges C, Ducrocq MB, Stephenson WP. Postmarketing surveillance of lovastatin and simvastatin exposure during pregnancy. Reprod Toxicol. 1996;10(6):439-446.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 7/25/2016


Pravachol - User Reviews

Pravachol User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication Pravachol sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Cholesterol Management

Tips to keep it under control.