Pravastatin (trade name Pravachol) is a statin drug discovered in Japan by scientists at pharmaceutical company Sankyo Co, Ltd (now Sankyo Daiichi Sankyo Co.) in 1979. Pravastatin is produced by chemical modification of the related drug lovastatin in a two-step fermentation reaction performed by the bacterium Nocardia autotrophica. Pravastatin was first launched by Sankyo in Japan in 1989. 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.

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, the first of which was Teva. In 2006, before losing patent protection, pravastatin was the 22nd best-selling drug in the US, with total sales of $1.3 billion.

Pravastatin is quite expensive. A month's supply of even the generic form runs about $30, while the Pravachol brand costs over $100/month.

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. Bistol-Myers long argued pravastatin should be used even though it did not lowevel LDL much. The company funded a study called the PROVE-IT study, which Forbes magazine called "a huge, self-inflicted disaster".

Cholsterol medication researchers continue to compare their new treatments to pravastatin, partly because the bar is low.

Side effects include

  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • nausea
  • muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • lack of energy

A Polish study recent found pravastatin increased the body’s sensitivity to insulin, ( 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 chemotherapy patients.
( And for cardiovascular issues in people with Marfan syndrome.


Effects of pravastatin on murine chronic graft-versus-host disease.

Effect of pravastatin on experimental diabetic wound healing.

Effect of pravastatin on bleomycin-induced acute lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis.

Differential metabolic effects of pravastatin and simvastatin in hypercholesterolemic patients.

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