Lovastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins." It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. In addition to eating a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking. Consult your doctor for more details.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily with your evening meal. Some patients may be directed to take this medication twice daily. Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of this medication in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. If you also take certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take lovastatin at least 1 hour before or at least 4 hours after taking these medications. These products can react with lovastatin, preventing its full absorption. Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time(s) each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol or triglycerides do not feel sick. It is very important to continue to follow your doctor's advice about diet and exercise. It may take up to 4 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. A very small number of people taking lovastatin may have mild memory problems or confusion. If these rare effects occur, talk to your doctor. Rarely, statins may cause or worsen diabetes. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks. This drug may rarely cause muscle problems (which can rarely lead to very serious conditions called rhabdomyolysis and autoimmune myopathy). Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms during treatment and if these symptoms persist after your doctor stops this drug: muscle pain/tenderness/weakness (especially with fever or unusual tiredness), signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). This medication may rarely cause liver problems. If you notice any of the following rare but serious side effects, tell your doctor right away: yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, severe stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea/vomiting. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Storage temperature ranges differ according to different manufacturers, so consult your pharmacist for more information. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
See also How to Use section. Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: "blood thinners" (such as warfarin), daptomycin, gemfibrozil. Other medications can affect the removal of lovastatin from your body, which may affect how lovastatin works. Examples include certain azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole), cobicistat, colchicine, cyclosporine, delavirdine, macrolide antibiotics (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin), nefazodone, HIV protease inhibitors (such as lopinavir, ritonavir), hepatitis C virus protease inhibitors (such as boceprevir, telaprevir), telithromycin, among others. Do not take any red yeast rice products while you are taking lovastatin since those products may also contain lovastatin. Taking lovastatin and red yeast rice products together can increase your risk of serious muscle and liver problems.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.