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Mevacor

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/19/2017
Mevacor Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 12/19/2017

Mevacor (lovastatin) is a cholesterol-lowering medication called a statin prescribed to treat elevated blood cholesterol levels. Mevacor is available in generic form. Mevacor should be used in addition to dietary modifications as part of a treatment plan to lower cholesterol levels when the response to diet and other nonpharmacological measures alone have been inadequate to reduce cardiovascular risk. Side effects of Mevacor are uncommon and typically short-term, and include:

In rare cases, Mevacor can cause rhabdomyolysis, a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue and which can lead to kidney failure.

Dosing of Mevacor is a single administration once daily or a divided dose taken twice daily. Mevacor may interact with amiodarone, colchicine, danazol, diltiazem, verapamil, gemfibrozil, fenofibric acid, fenofibrate, ranolazine, medicines that contain niacin, drugs that weaken your immune system (such as steroids, cancer medicine, or medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection), cimetidine, blood thinners, spironolactone, or other "statin" medications. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Do not take Mevacor if you are pregnant. Stop taking Mevacor and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Mevacor can harm a fetus or cause birth defects. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking Mevacor. Mevacor may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Breastfeeding while taking Mevacor is not recommended.

Our Mevacor Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Mevacor Consumer Information

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Lovastatin can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, or dark colored urine.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • kidney problems--little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or
  • liver problems--loss of appetite, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • infections;
  • headache; or
  • accidental injury.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Mevacor (Lovastatin)

Mevacor Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

MEVACOR is generally well tolerated; adverse reactions usually have been mild and transient.

Phase III Clinical Studies

In Phase III controlled clinical studies involving 613 patients treated with MEVACOR, the adverse experience profile was similar to that shown below for the 8,245-patient EXCEL study (see Expanded Clinical Evaluation of Lovastatin [EXCEL] Study).

Persistent increases of serum transaminases have been noted (see WARNINGS, Liver Dysfunction). About 11% of patients had elevations of CK levels of at least twice the normal value on one or more occasions. The corresponding values for the control agent cholestyramine was 9 percent. This was attributable to the noncardiac fraction of CK. Large increases in CK have sometimes been reported (see WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis).

Expanded Clinical Evaluation of Lovastatin (EXCEL) Study

MEVACOR was compared to placebo in 8,245 patients with hypercholesterolemia (total-C 240-300 mg/dL [6.2-7.8 mmol/L]) in the randomized, double-blind, parallel, 48-week EXCEL study. Clinical adverse experiences reported as possibly, probably or definitely drug-related in ≥ 1% in any treatment group are shown in the table below. For no event was the incidence on drug and placebo statistically different.

  Placebo
(N = 1663) %
MEVACOR 20 mg q.p.m.
(N = 1642) %
MEVACOR 40 mg q.p.m.
(N = 1645) %
MEVACOR 20 mg b.i.d.
(N = 1646) %
MEVACOR 40 mg b.i.d.
(N = 1649) %
Body As a Whole
  Asthenia 1.4 1.7 1.4 1.5 1.2
Gastrointestinal
  Abdominal pain 1.6 2.0 2.0 2.2 2.5
  Constipation 1.9 2.0 3.2 3.2 3.5
  Diarrhea 2.3 2.6 2.4 2.2 2.6
  Dyspepsia 1.9 1.3 1.3 1.0 1.6
  Flatulence  4.2 3.7 4.3 3.9 4.5
  Nausea 2.5 1.9 2.5 2.2 2.2
Musculoskeletal
  Muscle cramps 0.5 0.6 0.8 1.1 1.0
  Myalgia 1.7 2.6 1.8 2.2 3.0
Nervous System/ Psychiatric
  Dizziness 0.7 0.7 1.2 0.5 0.5
  Headache 2.7 2.6 2.8 2.1 3.2
Skin
  Rash 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.3
Special Senses
  Blurred vision 0.8 1.1 0.9 0.9 1.2

Other clinical adverse experiences reported as possibly, probably or definitely drug-related in 0.5 to 1.0 percent of patients in any drug-treated group are listed below. In all these cases the incidence on drug and placebo was not statistically different. Body as a Whole: chest pain; Gastrointestinal: acid regurgitation, dry mouth, vomiting; Musculoskeletal: leg pain, shoulder pain, arthralgia; Nervous System/Psychiatric: insomnia, paresthesia; Skin: alopecia, pruritus; Special Senses: eye irritation.

In the EXCEL study (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies), 4.6% of the patients treated up to 48 weeks were discontinued due to clinical or laboratory adverse experiences which were rated by the investigator as possibly, probably or definitely related to therapy with MEVACOR. The value for the placebo group was 2.5%.

Air Force/Texas Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention Study (AFCAPS/TexCAPS)

In AFCAPS/TexCAPS (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies) involving 6,605 participants treated with 20-40 mg/day of MEVACOR (n=3,304) or placebo (n=3,301), the safety and tolerability profile of the group treated with MEVACOR was comparable to that of the group treated with placebo during a median of 5.1 years of follow-up. The adverse experiences reported in AFCAPS/TexCAPS were similar to those reported in EXCEL (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Expanded Clinical Evaluation of Lovastatin (EXCEL) Study).

Concomitant Therapy

In controlled clinical studies in which lovastatin was administered concomitantly with cholestyramine, no adverse reactions peculiar to this concomitant treatment were observed. The adverse reactions that occurred were limited to those reported previously with lovastatin or cholestyramine. Other lipid-lowering agents were not administered concomitantly with lovastatin during controlled clinical studies. Preliminary data suggests that the addition of gemfibrozil to therapy with lovastatin is not associated with greater reduction in LDL-C than that achieved with lovastatin alone. In uncontrolled clinical studies, most of the patients who have developed myopathy were receiving concomitant therapy with cyclosporine, gemfibrozil or niacin (nicotinic acid). The combined use of lovastatin with cyclosporine or gemfibrozil should be avoided. Caution should be used when prescribing other fibrates or lipid-lowering doses ( ≥ 1 g/day) of niacin with lovastatin (see WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis).

The following effects have been reported with drugs in this class. Not all the effects listed below have necessarily been associated with lovastatin therapy.

Skeletal: muscle cramps, myalgia, myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, arthralgias.

There have been rare reports of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy associated with statin use (see WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis).

Neurological: dysfunction of certain cranial nerves (including alteration of taste, impairment of extraocular movement, facial paresis), tremor, dizziness, vertigo, paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral nerve palsy, psychic disturbances, anxiety, insomnia, depression.

There have been rare postmarketing reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. These cognitive issues have been reported for all statins. The reports are generally nonserious, and reversible upon statin discontinuation, with variable times to symptom onset (1 day to years) and symptom resolution (median of 3 weeks).

Hypersensitivity Reactions: An apparent hypersensitivity syndrome has been reported rarely which has included one or more of the following features: anaphylaxis, angioedema, lupus erythematous-like syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, dermatomyositis, vasculitis, purpura, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, hemolytic anemia, positive ANA, ESR increase, eosinophilia, arthritis, arthralgia, urticaria, asthenia, photosensitivity, fever, chills, flushing, malaise, dyspnea, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Gastrointestinal: pancreatitis, hepatitis, including chronic active hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, fatty change in liver; and rarely, cirrhosis, fulminant hepatic necrosis, and hepatoma; anorexia, vomiting, fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure.

Skin: alopecia, pruritus. A variety of skin changes (e.g., nodules, discoloration, dryness of skin/mucous membranes, changes to hair/nails) have been reported.

Reproductive: gynecomastia, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction.

Eye: progression of cataracts (lens opacities), ophthalmoplegia.

Laboratory Abnormalities

elevated transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, and bilirubin; thyroid function abnormalities.

Adolescent Patients (ages 10-17 years)

In a 48-week controlled study in adolescent boys with heFH (n=132) and a 24-week controlled study in girls who were at least 1 year post-menarche with heFH (n=54), the safety and tolerability profile of the groups treated with MEVACOR (10 to 40 mg daily) was generally similar to that of the groups treated with placebo (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies in Adolescent Patients and PRECAUTIONS, Pediatric Use).

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Mevacor (Lovastatin)

Related Resources for Mevacor

Read the Mevacor User Reviews »

© Mevacor Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Mevacor Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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