fluvastatin, Lescol, Lescol XL

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GENERIC NAME: fluvastatin

BRAND NAME: Lescol, Lescol XL

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Fluvastatin is an oral, cholesterol-lowering drug. It belongs to a class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, commonly called "statins." Other statins include lovastatin (Mevacor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), and rosuvastatin (Crestor). Statins reduce cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver (HMG-CoA reductase) that is necessary for the production of cholesterol. In the blood, statins lower total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol as well as triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is believed to be an important cause of coronary artery disease. Lowering LDL cholesterol levels slows and may even reverse coronary artery disease. Statins also increase HDL ("good") cholesterol. Raising HDL cholesterol levels, like lowering LDL cholesterol, may slow coronary artery disease. The FDA approved fluvastatin in December 1993.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Capsules: 20 and 40 mg. Tablets (Extended Release): 80 mg

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature 15-30 C (59-86 F) in a tightly closed container.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Fluvastatin in conjunction with diet is used for reducing total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides as well as for increasing HDL cholesterol. It also is used for reducing the risks of coronary revascularization procedures and slows the progression of coronary atherosclerosis (plaque accumulation) in individuals with coronary heart disease.

DOSING: The recommended dose range is 20 to 80 mg daily. Fluvastatin may be given once in the evening or twice daily. It may be taken on an empty or full stomach. Fluvastatin extended release can be administered at anytime of the day. Two 40 mg capsules should not be administered at one time.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Cyclosporine and fluconazole (Diflucan) increase blood levels of fluvastatin. Therefore, the dose of fluvastatin should be limited to 20 mg twice daily when patients are also taking cyclosporine or fluconazole.

Gemfibrozil should not be combined with fluvastatin due to increased risk of muscle-related side effects when the two drugs are combined.

Combining fluvastatin with colchicine (Colcrys) or one gram or larger doses of niacin also increases the risk of muscle-related side effects.

Fluvastatin increases the effect of warfarin (Coumadin). Patients taking warfarin should be monitored carefully for toxic effects of warfarin.

PREGNANCY: Fluvastatin may cause fetal harm and should not be taken by pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: Fluvastatin should not be used by nursing mothers because of potential adverse side effects to the nursing infant.

SIDE EFFECTS: Minor side effects include constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, gas, heartburn, headache, insomnia, and joint pains. Major side effects include abdominal pain or cramps, blurred vision, dizziness, easy bruising or bleeding, itching, muscle pain or cramps, rash, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.




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