Pravastatin (trade name Pravachol) is a statin drug developed in Japan by scientists at pharmaceutical company Sankyo in 1979. Pravastatin is produced by chemical modification of lovastatin in a two-step fermentation reaction performed by the bacterium Nocardia autotrophica.
Pravastatin was first launched by Sankyo in Japan. In 1991, following FDA approval, pravastatin was introduced to the US market by Bristol-Myers Squibb who had acquired the rights to sell it outside of Japan. Pravastatin is classified as a first-generation statin. When second generation statins simvastatin and atorvastatin came along, use of pravastatin declined.
Myopathic patients, who cannot tolerate other stains, may be administered pravastatin.
Pravastatin is available in 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg tablets and is taken orally. Typical starting doses are between 20-40 mgs. Since the patent expired in 2006, several generic drug makers have received FDA approval to produce pravastatin.
Pravastatin is rarely prescribed in the United States anymore, unless there is a particular reason to do so. Simvastatin and atorvastatin are available as cheap generics. These are considered superior drugs that can lower serum cholesterol levels more with similar or fewer adverse effects. In the history of statins pravastatin is important as a pioneer, but its time is passed. The company funded a study called the PROVE-IT study, which Forbes magazine called "a huge, self-inflicted disaster".
A Polish study recent found pravastatin increased the body’s sensitivity to insulin, (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21889144) which is the opposite effect that atorvastatin has.
There is some interest in using pravastatin for liver diseases.
It is also being investigated as a protective agent for kidneys in
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20650967?dopt=Abstract) And for cardiovascular issues in people with Marfan syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911808?dopt=Abstract