Pravachol is the brand name of a cholesterol drug called pravastatin sodium, a prescription medication for lowering LDL manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. These drugs have come under fire lately for many reasons, including the fact that none of them have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. More disturbingly, Pravachol can cause some pretty serious side effects, even deaths in some cases. The need for safer alternatives is more pressing now than ever before.
What is Pravachol and how does it lower cholesterol?
Pravachol is a brand name for pravastatin, one of a class of drugs known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, or more simply, statins. Some of the other more popular ones that you may have heard of are Lipitor, Zocor and Mevacor. These are some of the most popular drugs on the market today, bringing manufacturers billions of dollars each year. Unfortunately it is at the expense of the health of millions of patients.
Pravachol and other statin drugs work by blocking the enzyme that your liver needs to produce cholesterol. Although Lipitor has limited effect on HDL (good) cholesterol, it does succeed in lowering your LDL. However, in the process it can cause a host of other very serious health problems, some of which can be worse than the cholesterol buildup they’re supposed to combat.
What are the Pravachol side effects you need to worry about?
Taking a look at the official prescribing information on the Bristol-Myers Squibb site, the most common adverse reactions are musculoskeletal pain, upper respiratory infection, diarrhea, nausea, vomitting, headaches and anxiety/depression.
Under the Warning and Precautions header at the top of the page are two very serious issues:
1) Patients should advise immediately if they experience any muscle pain, tenderness or weakness, as this could be a sign of myopathy and possible rhabdomyolysis (severe muscle breakdown that can lead to kidney failure)
2) Patients should have their liver enzymes checked regularly as they can be severely elevated from regular use, a sign of potential liver disease and failure.
Some of the other side effects experienced include: fatigue, weight gain/loss, sleep disturbances, sinus abnormalities, viral infections, sexual dysfunction, insomnia and memory loss.
So in summary, severe muscle breakdown and liver disease are two very serious potential health complications patients have experienced with Pravachol. Along with those two are a host of possible issues affecting every organ and every body system/process. The higher the dose you are on and the longer the duration increases the likelihood that you will suffer one or more of these complications.
So should I not be on Pravachol at all?
Although each individual and each case is different, chances are you actually don’t have to be on Pravachol or any cholesterol lowering medication. There is a lot of credible research that shows that most people who are on statin drugs would probably be better off without it. Here’s why:
1. Believe it or not cholesterol drugs have not been conclusively shown to reduce the likelihood of heart attack or stroke. There is simply no concrete evidence.
2. High cholesterol is not the only indicator of heart disease risk. There are other equally important blood indicators such as triglycerides, C-Reactive protein and homocysteine, all of which give you a much clearer picture of your true risk. Lifestyle and diet are also big factors. So again, if other things are in your favor you might not even have to worry about elevated cholesterol.
3. As we mention above, Pravachol and similar drugs can cause a number of very serious side effects. So while you are taking a pill every day to keep your LDL down, you may be severely and irreversibly damaging your muscles, liver, kidneys, stomach, etc. Why risk it, especially if there are other ways to lower your cholesterol without side effects?
4. Which leads us to our last point. Let’s say you do have high LDL and you and your doctor decide you need to lower it. You can do so without drugs. Something as simple as garlic or olive oil or walnuts can do the trick. There are safe supplements such as sugar cane extract and fish oil that can not only lower LDL but provide a host of ancillary benefits at the same time. Isn’t that worth a try first before resorting to potentially dangerous prescription drugs? We think so.
More Common Pravachol Questions
Why was I told to take Pravachol at night?
There have been studies conducted to determine if statins should be taken at night or in the morning, and it is generally accepted that nighttime is best as that is when production of cholesterol is highest and dietary intake the lowest.
However, it is typically the medications with shorter half lives that need to be taken at night, as they break down and become inactive much quicker. Pravachol actually has one of the longest half-lives, and as such can really be taken at any time of day.
Can I drink alcohol while taking Pravachol?
It’s never a great idea to drink when you are taking any medication. You can certainly have a drink or two but excessive drinking could exacerbate the more serious side effects of Pravachol, especially liver damage. So just be aware of that as it can be very serious.
Can Pravastatin cause weight gain?
All statin drugs have the potential to cause weight gain, high blood sugar and diabetes. Although the link has not been conclusively established, there have been studies showing that statin users are more likely to gain weight.
Featured Pravachol Alternative To Avoid Side Effects
Our researchers have discovered 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 matched or outperformed statin medications such as Pravachol in clinical trials.
Take a look at this natural cholesterol lowering formula and find out how it may help significantly lower your cholesterol levels as well as promote overall heart health.
Natural alternatives that can help lower cholesterol
Although Pravachol and other statin medications can lower 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 lower triglycerides (fats) and increase the good HDL cholesterol.
Some of these nutrients have actually been proven to outperform statin medications, without the potential Pravachol 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 health supplements, make sure you consult your physician or qualified medical professional before taking any cholesterol lowering nutrients or supplement to avoid Pravachol side effects.