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What is pravastatin used for?

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Quick Answer

Pravastatin is used to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increase the amount of HDL cholesterol in the blood, states MedlinePlus. In combination with diet, exercise and other lifestyle modifications, pravastatin can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who have heart disease.

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Full Answer

Pravastatin is classified as an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, or statin, states MedlinePlus. Pravastatin slows the body's production of cholesterol, which decreases the chances of cholesterol depositing on the artery walls and leading to blockages in blood flow to the brain, heart and other areas of the body. Patients who are considering taking pravastatin should notify their doctor if they have liver disease, low blood pressure, seizures, thyroid or kidney problems, muscle aches or weakness or if they consume more than two alcoholic beverages per day. Pravastatin is not considered safe for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, according to MedlinePlus.

Pravastatin may cause several side effects, including heartburn, headache, memory problems and confusion, states MedlinePlus. Reporting these side effects to a doctor is necessary only if they are severe or unrelieved. Serious side effects warrant immediate medical attention, including muscle pain or weakness, yellowing of the skin or eyes, unusual bleeding or bruising, itching, hives, swelling and difficulty breathing or swallowing.

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