Pravachol and Liver Problems

Pravachol has been linked to liver conditions such as jaundice and hepatitis. An increase in liver enzymes occurs in up to 1.2 percent of people taking Pravachol; liver problems such as hepatitis, fatty changed in the liver, or hepatoma, occur in less than 1 percent of people. Possible symptoms of liver problems include nausea, stomach pain, and excessive tiredness.

Pravachol and Liver Problems: An Overview

As with any medication, there are a number of possible side effects that can occur while taking Pravachol® (pravastatin sodium), including possible problems with the liver. For people taking Pravachol, liver problems can include:
  • Increase in liver enzymes
  • Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver that can cause tiredness or a general feeling of illness)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes that can occur from liver damage)
  • Fatty change in the liver
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatoma (a type of liver cancer).
Significant increases in liver enzymes occur in up to 1.2 percent of people taking Pravachol. However, just as many people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients) also developed significantly increased liver enzymes.
Other liver problems mentioned were not reported during clinical trials, but are part of "postmarketing" experience. After medications are approved and are in use by the general public, healthcare providers may voluntarily report side effects. This information may point to possible side effects that were not seen in clinical trials. However, it is difficult (if not impossible) to tell how frequently such side effects occur or even if they are actual side effects, since they are reported voluntarily (and since the "side effects" could be coincidental). These reported side effects are known as "postmarketing experience." For these Pravachol side effects, it is difficult to tell whether the side effect is actually caused by the medication or something else.
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Pravachol Medication

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