Fluvastatin is a drug classed as a statin, which is a group of drugs that work in a similar way to control the level of cholesterol in your blood. It inhibits an enzyme in the body that is needed in the process to produce cholesterol, reducing the amount of cholesterol inside your body.
Brand Names and Doses
Fluvastatin is the generic name of the drug,which is the name of the active component that works an effect on your body. It also has several brand names that are given to it by the manufacturing company of the drug such as:
Lescol is available in 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg doses whereas Vastin is available in 20 mg and 40 mg doses.
Most people who begin to take fluvastatin start with a low dose such as 20 mg. The dose can then gradually be increased as needed until the cholesterol in the blood reaches a safe level. This is important because it allows your body time to adjust to the drug and reduces the risk that you will experience side effects.
What type of drug is it?
Fluvastatin is a type of drug called a statin. There are other several drugs that are in this class including:
Fluvastatin has a smaller effect on cholesterol on the other drugs in this class, but it may be a good choice because it is less likely to interact with other medications that you may be taking.
It is best to take it at nighttime because it is more effective when taken just before bed.
What is fluvastatin used for?
Fluvastatin is usually used to lower the LDL cholesterol in the blood and can also help to reduce triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol concentrations, both of which is helpful to prevent cardiovascular events from occurring. If you have a high risk of cardiovascular disease, fluvastatin can reduce your risk of suffering from a myocardial infarction, stroke, revascularization procedures, and death.
Your doctor may recommend fluvastatin if you have:
- High levels of cholesterol in your blood (hypercholesteremia)
- Hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease (with or without abnormal cholesterol)
- High levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in your blood (mixed hyperlipidemia)
It can also sometimes be used if you have coronary disease, after a percutaneous coronary intervention. Additionally, it is sometimes given to children to manage heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
Fluvastatin should only be used in combination with diet and lifestyle alterations and not as a substitute for healthy living choices.
How does fluvastatin work?
Fluvastatin works to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood by changing the way that cholesterol is produced in your body.
Usually, an enzyme called 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase is needed in the reaction to synthesize cholesterol in the body. When you take fluvastatin, it competitively inhibits this enzyme and reduces the rate that cholesterol can be produced and the concentration of cholesterol in the blood decreases.
Fluvastatin can also increase the uptake of cholesterol from the blood in the liver. This means that more cholesterol is taken out of the blood and broken down in the liver, reducing the LDL and triglycerides even further.
This is thought to be helpful if you are at risk of cardiovascular events because high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are linked to worse outcomes. HDL cholesterol is another type that is thought to be protective, and fluvastatin can increase the level of HDL cholesterol slightly.
Fluvastatin is usually well tolerated, although you may experience side effects such as:
- Muscle pain (myopathy)
- Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
- Elevated levels of aminotransferase in the body (dose related)
In rare cases, severe muscle pain called myopathy or rhabdomyolysis may present. This usually happens when the dose is too high, such as if there is an interaction with another drug that increases the risk of these conditions or another associated illness, and the effects will improve if your dose is reduced.
If you take fluvastatin, it is important that you are aware of the side effects so that you can recognize the signs and talk to your doctor about decreasing the dose, if needed.
There is an increased risk of side effects and complications such as myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, and renal failure if you have severe trauma, infection or metabolic disease. If you are affected and currently taking fluvastatin, your doctor may advise you to stop taking it until you recover to prevent this from happening.
These side effects are also more likely if you have poor renal function, which is often a natural part of aging. Make sure that your doctor knows if your kidneys aren’t working 100% so that they can prescribe the right dose for you.
Fluvastatin can interact with some other drugs that you may take such as fluconazole and warfarin.
In most cases, you can take both medications together but you may need to have a slightly different dose.
If you are taking either of these drugs with fluvastatin, it is important that your doctor knows so that the dose can be adjusted if needed.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Fluvastatin should not be used during pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, it can increase the risk of fetal malformation. If you are a woman of childbearing age, it is important that you use adequate contraception to avoid an unexpected pregnancy while taking fluvastatin and talk to your doctor about your medication before trying to conceive.
Fluvastatin is also not recommended for women who are breastfeeding due to the effect it could have on the baby if excreted in breast milk.