Lovastatin Side Effects – Common and Rare
Lovastatin is a medication that is in a class of preparations known as statin drugs. Most commonly, the medicine is referred to as Mevacor, a popular brand name. Lovastatin is used if and when diet and lifestyle changes are not adequate enough to bring bad cholesterol down and thusly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Statin drugs work by preventing the liver from producing as much cholesterol, which the liver does in varying quantities depending on factors like genetics and lifestyle. As is the case with all stating drugs, Lovastatin side effects vary from common and mild to very rare and very severe. How these side effects will affect each individual may vary. Some people experience little to no adverse reaction of any level of severity while taking Lovastatin. Others may encounter persistent, severe or even life threatening Lovastatin side effects that may lead to discontinuation of the medicine.
RxList.com explains that in general, adverse reactions to Lovastatin are not common. When the do occur, they normally do not last long and are unlikely to recur for long periods of time. However, some common statins side effects may be present while taking Lovastatin, especially in the early weeks and months of medication use. These often include symptoms of the gastrointestinal system including pain in the stomach, excessive gas, abdominal cramping, bloating and either diarrhea or constipation. Lovastatin side effects may also include discomfort in the muscles – manifesting as weakness, mild pain or tenderness. While mild muscle and tummy trouble are some of the most common symptoms of using Lovastatin to reduce cholesterol numbers, it is not uncommon for trouble sleeping and a headache to also present as a result of using the medication.
Most cholesterol medication side effects are mild, do not last long and do not affect the majority of the population. However, there are some side effects that affect an even smaller and almost nonexistent number of users, although with a devastating severity. For instance, like other statin medications, Lovastatin side effects can include the development of Rhabdomyolysis, which RxList describes as a collapse of the muscles that support the skeleton. Rhabdomyolysis can in turn lead to kidney failure. And, those who unknowingly use Lovastatin during pregnancy may find that the risk of birth defects has been increased substantially. Liver damage, a commonality amongst rare cholesterol medication side effects, is also associated in infrequent cases in users of Lovastatin.
RxList.com details other experiences that may be related to Lovastatin side effects as observed in some expanded clinical studies and test situations. These effects may not be exclusive to Lovastatin, rather all drugs that are in the same type and class as the aforementioned. Some of the more serious although markedly less common of these include amnesia, arthritis, pancreatitis (severe and commonly life threatening inflammation of the pancreas) hepatitis, cirrhosis and fatal and non fatal hepatic failure.
With the abundance of common and severe side effects that can and have been observed in relation to high cholesterol medications, it is not a wonder that some people try to avoid them in favor of healthful lifestyle changes first. Sometimes, the simplest solution to how to lower cholesterol naturally can mean nothing more than reducing bad fats and simple sugars from the diet, losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking and adding in heart healthy foods. Other times, a little more help from nature may be in order, with the inclusion of supplements such as phytosterol. Oregon State University explains that these compounds that are derived from plants are very similar molecularly to cholesterol and are very effective at preventing the substance from being absorbed in the intestines. As such, with the approval, advice and counseling of a health care provider, lifestyle changes with or without supplements like phytosterol may be a viable choice either in lieu of cholesterol medications or as an alternative type of therapy if Lovastatin side effects are intolerable or long lasting.