There are several forms of cholesterol medications besides Pravachol. Alternatives include bile acid sequestrants, fibrates, niacin, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors. Other statins may also be used as a substitute for Pravachol. Examples of other statins include rosuvastatin, fluvastatin, and atorvastatin.
Lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for lowering cholesterol. However, for some people, treating high cholesterol with a low-cholesterol diet, weight control, and exercise are not enough. If lifestyle changes alone are not enough, your doctor can prescribe cholesterol medications. One such medicine is Pravachol® (pravastatin sodium). For most people, Pravachol is quite effective in lowering cholesterol. It is also generally well tolerated. However, side effects can occur, and people may wish to consider an alternative for Pravachol. These alternatives could include other statins or other cholesterol medicines.
Pravachol is part of a class of drugs called statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). Statins work by blocking a particular enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) that controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol. Pravachol also:
- Increases the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol")
- Increases HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol")
- Decreases triglycerides.
There are several types of statins available that could be considered a substitute for Pravachol. These include:
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor®)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol®, Lescol® XL)
- Lovastatin (Altoprev®, Mevacor®)
- Pitavastatin (Livalo®)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor®)
- Simvastatin (Zocor®).
There are also several generic versions of these prescription statins, including a generic for Pravachol (see Generic Pravachol). To see if a generic statin would make sense in your situation, talk to your healthcare provider.