Fluvastatin

Brand names of fluvastatin

  • Lescol

Fluvastatin is an oral medication belonging to the category of drugs known as HMGCo-A reductase inhibitors generally known as 'statins' and is used to lower the blood cholesterol levels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States had approved the sale and use of this medication in December 1993. Other medications that belong to the same class as fluvastatin comprise atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor). Statins work by lowering the blood cholesterol levels by means of slowing down the actions of HMGCo-A reductase, an enzyme in the liver and which is essential to produce cholesterol. In the bloodstream, statins lower the total as well as LDL (also known as 'bad') cholesterol and triglycerides. It is understood that LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the primary cause for coronary artery disease. When the level of LDL or 'bad' cholesterol is lowered in the body, it may also help in annulling coronary artery disease. On the other hand, elevating the levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is also known as 'good cholesterol', may possibly help in inhibiting the development of coronary artery disease.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking fluvastatin

As in the instance of using any prescription drug, prior to starting treatment with fluvastatin, it is essential that you tell your physician or pharmacist if you have allergic reactions taking this drug either in tablet or capsule form, any of its ingredients, or any other medications. If you are not certain about the ingredients of fluvastatin, ask your physician to provide you with a list of the same. In addition, you should also inform your physician or pharmacist regarding all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal medications, vitamins and dietary supplements you are already taking or intend to take in the near future. In case you are taking the drug cholestyramine (Questran), you should take it no less than four hours before you take fluvastatin.

Before you start taking fluvastatin, it is important to tell your physician regarding your entire medical history, especially if you are suffering from any liver ailment. In case you have a liver disease, your physician will instruct you to undertake a number of laboratory examinations to find out the manner in which your liver is functioning. This needs to be done even if you feel that the health of your liver is fine. Provided the tests reveal that you have some kind of liver disease, it is possible that your physician will advise you against using fluvastatin. Your doctor may also ask you to avoid fluvastatin in case it is found that if you are developing some type of liver disease.

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Also tell your physician about your drinking habits, especially if you take more than two pegs of any alcoholic beverage daily and if you suffer from or have suffered from any type of liver or kidney ailment, diabetes, seizures, low blood pressure and/ or thyroid problems. While undergoing treatment with fluvastatin, it is important that you also talk to your physician regarding the safe use of alcohol. Always bear in mind that consumption of alcoholic beverages may possibly aggravate the side effects of this cholesterol lowering drug.

Fluvastatin is known to cause harm to the still born baby and, hence, it should be avoided by pregnant women. Therefore, women who intend to take fluvastatin should tell their physician beforehand if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Women who may become pregnant while taking this cholesterol lowering drug should contact their physician right away to know what they should do next. Even new mothers breast-feeding their infants should keep away from this medication, as it is likely to pass onto the breast milk and may harm the new born.

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In case you require undergoing any type of surgery, including dental surgery, you need to inform your surgeon or dentist that you are already taking fluvastatin. In addition, if you are admitted to any hospital to heal any infection or for any grave injury, you need to tell your physician treating you that you are using fluvastatin.

Usage

Fluvastatin belongs to the class of drugs known as HMGCo-A reductase inhibitors, commonly known as statins, and it is taken orally together with appropriate diet to assist in lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol as well as fats (for instance, LDL cholesterol or 'bad cholesterol' and triglycerides). At the same time, this medication helps to raise the levels of HDL or 'good' cholesterol in the bloodstream. This medication acts by lowering the amount of 'bad' or LDL cholesterol manufactured by the liver. By means of lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and, simultaneously, raising the level of HDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, fluvastatin diminishes the chances of developing any heart ailment and also aids in putting of strokes as well as heart attacks.

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Besides taking fluvastatin, it is important to take appropriate diets, which are low in cholesterol as well as fat content, and making the requisite changes in your lifestyle will go a long way in helping the medication to work in the best possible manner. In addition, you also need to undertake weight-losing exercises, provided you are obese, and quit smoking. It is advisable that you talk to your physician for more information in this regard.

How to use fluvastatin

Prior to using fluvastatin, it is important to thoroughly read the patient information leaflet, which is provided by your pharmacist every time you buy this medication or go for a refill. In case you are unable to understand anything or have any queries, seek the help of your physician or pharmacist.

Fluvastatin should be taken orally either with food or without it. Be careful not to open the capsules, but take the medication as a whole. Alternately, you may take this medication as per the instructions of your physician. Normally, this medication is only taken once every day in the evening. However, some patients may be instructed to take fluvastatin twice every day. The dosage of this cholesterol lowering drug is entirely dependent on the medical condition of the patient, his/ her response to treatment, their age and the other medicines they might be using already. Before you start treatment with fluvastatin, it is important to tell your physician or pharmacist regarding all the medical products, including herbs and vitamins, and dietary supplements you are already taking or intend to take in the near future.

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In case you are taking any other specific medications to reduce the blood cholesterol levels (for instance, resins that bind bile acid like colestipol or cholestyramine), you need to take fluvastatin no less than an hour before or after a minimum of four hours of taking the other medicines. This is primarily owing to the fact that these medications may possibly interact with fluvastatin, thereby preventing the body from absorbing this drug completely.

In order to obtain the utmost benefit of using fluvastatin, it is important to take this medication on a regular basis. You should continue taking this medication for the full regimen even if you start feeling better. Moreover, you should take fluvastatin around the same time every day. It may be noted that most people who suffer from high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in their bloodstream usually do not have a sickly feeling.

People taking fluvastatin or any other cholesterol lowering drug should essentially follow their physician's recommendations regarding diet and work-outs. The benefits of taking fluvastatin are not evident immediately and usually it takes about four weeks to realize that you are actually benefitting by using this medication.

How fluvastatin works

The cholesterol lowering drug fluvastatin interferes with the action of HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme produced in the liver which is necessary for manufacturing cholesterol and, in doing so, it prevents the formation of this enzyme. As fluvastatin lowers the level of cholesterol in the cells, it augments the creation of receptors for LDL cholesterol ('bad' cholesterol) and, thus, lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Besides, lowering the level of LDL cholesterol, fluvastatin also reasonably brings down the levels of triglyceride, while augmenting the amount of HDL cholesterol ('good cholesterol) in the bloodstream.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
Less common:
  • sleeping difficulty

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
As none of the well-planned clinical researches provide us with any information regarding the effects of combined use of fluvastatin and garlic, currently it is advisable not to use these two in conjunction. In addition, it has been found that garlic may possibly slow down the aggregation of forming blood clots, you need to do some rethinking if you are using any platelet inhibitor from before. It is worth mentioning here that the FDA permits the sale of one dietary supplement known as cholestin, as it really encloses lovastatin and using two HMGCo-A inhibitors may possibly augment the chances of developing myopathy or rhabdomyolysis and, hence, this combination is recommended. In addition, there are a number of products that contain plant sterols, such as Benecol, and these may possibly prove to be effective when used in the form of complimentary maintenance to reduce the levels of total as well as LDL cholesterol. At the same time, replacing a number of meats by soy products in your diet may also assist in preventing problems related to the cardiovascular system. Finally, as fluvastatin has the ability to reduce coenzyme Q10, it may be essential to take some dietary supplements.
Foods:
People taking fluvastatin should essentially follow a diet that is low in cholesterol content.

Discontinuation

Fluvastatin is an HMGCo-A reductase inhibitor drug and its use should never be discontinued abruptly or without consulting your physician or with his/ her consent. It is likely that you will experience a considerable rise in your blood cholesterol levels when you stop taking this medication for good.

Storage instructions

You always need to store fluvastatin at room temperature. While it is essential to store this medication in a dark and dry place, never keep fluvastatin in your bathroom, which is mostly damp. It is important to keep all medications in a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets. Unless instructed otherwise, when any medication becomes outdated or is required no longer, do not discard it by flushing it down the toilet or pouring it into a drain. Do not dispose of the medications in an unsafe or improper manner. It is advisable that you talk to your pharmacist or a local waste disposal company regarding the safe disposal of unwanted medications.

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