Generic name: Pravastatin sodium.

Pravachol is an antihyperlipidemic (lipid-lowering) agent. It chemically interferes with the enzyme that synthesizes cholesterol, thereby decreasing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) type of cholesterol associated with coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis.

Quick Facts About Pravachol


Used to lower cholesterol in conjunction with a cholesterol-lowering diet for dangerously high cholesterol levels not controlled by diet alone. Also used to slow the build-up of plaque in the coronary arteries and to reduce the risk of acute coronary events. Additionally, used to treat abnormally high cholesterol in people without heart disease and to reduce the level of triglycerides.

Pravachol Dosage

Before starting Pravachol therapy, diet alone for 3 to 6 months should be tried to lower cholesterol. If cholesterol is still too high after 6 months, take medication exactly as prescribed. Do not use Pravachol as a substitute for a cholesterol-lowering diet; it is a supplement to your diet. Doctor may prescribe Questran or Colestid for greater cholesterol-lowering effect. Take Pravachol at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after taking the other medication. To get full effect of medication, must follow the diet and exercise program prescribed by your doctor.

  • Usual adult dose: 10 to 20 milligrams once per day at bedtime. Ongoing therapy — 10 to 40 milligrams taken once per day at bedtime. Seniors — 10 milligrams per day at bedtime. Ongoing therapy — up to 20 milligrams per day.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Pravachol Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

no specific information available. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

Side effects: abdominal pain, allergic reaction, altered sense of taste, anxiety, appetite loss, breast swelling in men, chest pain, cold, constipation, cough, depression, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, eye movement difficulties, fatigue, flu, gas, hair loss, headache, heartburn, inflammation of nasal passages, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), joint pain, lowered sex drive, memory loss, mild stomach or bowel discomfort, muscle aches or pain, nausea, nerve pain or twitching, numbness or tingling, penile erection problems, rash, sluggish facial muscles, tremor, urinary difficulties, vomiting.

No known less common or rare Pravachol side effects.


Inform your doctor before combining Pravachol with:

cholestyramine (Questran), cimetidine (Tagamet), colestipol (Colestid), erythromycin (E.E.S. or Erythrocin), gemfibrozil (Lopid), immunosuppressive medications such as cyclosporine (Sandimmune), ketoconazole (Nizoral), niacin, warfarin (Coumadin).

No known food/other substance interactions. 

Special Cautions

Must not take if pregnant; may cause birth defects. If f pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Appears in breast milk; should not breastfeed, as the cholesterol-lowering effects of the medication may prove harmful to your baby.

Seniors are prescribed a lower dose.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • Do not take if sensitive to or allergic to Pravachol, or if you have liver disease.
  • Should not use if your high cholesterol is a result of: alcoholism, poorly controlled diabetes, underactive thyroid, or kidney or liver problem.
  • Doctor will perform blood tests regularly if you have had prior liver problems.
  • Immediately report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by a fever. Doctor should check for muscle damage.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Pravachol side effects, please contact your healthcare provider