Lovastatin is a cholesterol lowering pharmaceutical drug sold under the brand names of Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor and Altocor. Mevacor is the most common version prescribed, so this article will focus on that particular drug, sold by Merck.
What is Lovastatin and how does it lower cholesterol?
Lovastatin and other statin medications such as Lipitor and Pravachol are prescription drugs that lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. The basic mode of action is inihibiting the activity of a certain enzyme in the liver that is necessary for the production of cholesterol. Therefore your body is producing less cholesterol.
What are the Lovastatin side effects?
First, its interesting to note that the official prescribing information for Mevacor Lovastatin states that it “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 to reduce risk.” In other words, only AFTER you have tried other non-drug methods to treat your cholesterol problems should you consider the drug. How many doctors tell you that?
Let’s take a look at some of the potential side effects. These are all directly from the prescribing information at the Merck website:
1. Lovastatin occasionally causes myopathy (muscle disease) manifested as muscle pain, weakness and tenderness with creatine kinase(CK) over 10 times the upper limit of normal, an indication of severe muscle damage in the body. This may lead to renal failure and even death.
2. Those taking the drug for more than a year experienced liver enzyme increases to three times the upper limit of normal. High liver enzyme may indicate liver inflammation and disease. The company advises having your liver checked regularly if you are on the medication.
3. Some of the other adverse reactions to statin medications: psychic disturbances, anxiety, depression, insomnia, memory loss, confusion, pancreatitis, arthritis, alopecia and loss of libido/erectile dysfunction, among dozens of other potential side effects.
So as you can see, severe muscle breakdown and liver damage are two major concerns that could be fatal. There are also many possible very serious health complications in addition to those two. All of this is more likely with higher doses and the longer you are on lovastatin.
So should I not be on lovastatin?
There are instances where an individual may need to be on a prescription cholesterol medication. Yet even the drug manufacturer mentions that lovastatin should only be administered after alternative, non-drug protocols have been unsuccessful.
Given all of the very serious side effects of Mevacor lovastatin, it makes sense to 1) discover whether or not you actually need to be taking the drug (most people don’t need to be on statins) and 2) see if other options work for you. Remember, simple everyday things like garlic, whole grains and nuts can help lower your cholesterol, as can various herbal supplements and omega 3 fish oil.
Also, it’s important to remember that cholesterol is a necessary part of many body functions and processes. Just because your cholesterol is high does not mean you have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. There are so many other factors at play.
Be smart and ask questions. If your doctor has prescribed Mevacor or some other statin drug, find out why. Ask about alternative ways to lower your choelsterol. If there is a way to get your cholesterol problem under control without having to be on a dangerous medication for the rest of your life, isn’t it worth trying?
Featured Lovastatin Alternative
Some members of our staff have been taking a special natural cholesterol lowering formula with vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts to help lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as decrease triglycerides (fats) and promote overall heart health.
The ingredients of this special formula have been shown to be much safer than the statin medications prescribed by many doctors. Some of the ingredients have actually outperformed statin medications in clinical trials.
Take a look at this natural cholesterol lowering formula and find out how it can help significantly lower your cholesterol levels as well as promote overall heart health.
Natural alternatives to Lovastatin
Although Lovastatin and other cholesterol lowering drugs can decrease cholesterol levels, there are natural alternatives which may be a better, safer option for you. There are natural nutrients that have been shown to not only lower LDL cholesterol, but also reduce triglycerides (fats) and increase the good HDL cholesterol that your body needs.
Some of these nutrients have actually been proven to outperform statin medications in clinical studies, without the potential Lovastatin side effects. Take a look at some of these nutrients below:
Policosanol – a natural extract from sugar cane which has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels as well as raise HDL (good) cholesterol. More importantly policosanol has been proven to be free of side effects, unlike the statins.
Guggulipid Extract – an ancient herb from India recently shown to lower cholesterol levels and can also reduce triglyceride levels, another risk factor for heart disease.
Tumeric Extract – much evidence points to the fact that tumeric may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, in addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Green Tea Extract – green tea is widely used for many medicinal purposes, and has been shown to reduce triglycerides as well as LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Green tea also has antioxidants that can prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.
Read more about natural cholesterol lowering nutrients here.
As with all natural health supplements, make sure you consult your physician or qualified medical professional before taking any cholesterol lowering nutrients or supplement to avoid the Lovastatin side effects.