|Written by health professionals: Doctor, M.D., CphT, and others - but easy to read.|
Fluvastatin (Brand Name: Lescol) and the side effects you may experience
Fluvastatin (Lescol), marketed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals under the brand name "Lescol", is one of the least potent of the statin class of medications, but it's also considered one of the safest.
While Fluvastatin (Lescol) does not lower LDL-C to the same degree as other statins, it also carries a lower chance of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis.
Daily use of Fluvastatin (Lescol) has been shown to lower LDL-C levels by up to 35%, the risk of recurrent cardiac events by 22%, and the risk of having to undergo revascularization procedures by 32%.
Keep in mind these are maximum values, and will not necessarily reflect your response to Fluvastatin (Lescol). This holds especially true if you only need, for example, a 15% reduction in LDL-C levels to have balanced cholesterol.
The people who have the most to gain are also the worst-case scenarios. While fluvastatin (Lescol) is thought of as reasonably safe, that is not the same thing as safe.
As with any medication, you and your doctor should work together in order to find the smallest possible dose that will still get the job done.
As with all medications, bigger doses of Fluvastatin (Lescol) are not always better.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) and Pregnancy and Breast Feeding
Pregnant or nursing mothers should never take fluvastatin (Lescol) unless the benefit to the mother clearly justifies the risk to the unborn child.
Considering that developing children pull cholesterol right out of you in order to develop properly, and that a couple of years is usually not going to make a difference in the course of a chronic disease that takes decades to work, it's probably not going to be worth it.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) and the Liver
In addition, people with active liver disease or unexplained high levels of liver enzymes in their blood should also not take fluvastatin.
All statins work in the liver, which is one of the main sites of cholesterol synthesis, so all statins can make liver problems worse.
The guidelines published by Novartis state that you'll want to get a blood analysis of liver function before starting or raising the daily dose of fluvastatin (Lescol), as well as 12 weeks after both.
If liver problems are going to develop because of Fluvastatin (Lescol), they generally tend to do so within the first three months. After this initial period, it's a good idea to have these blood analyses done again every so often just to check.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) and the Kidneys
However, unlike rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol), fluvastatin (Lescol) is generally considered safe to take for people with kidney damage as long as a doctor keeps a close eye on it.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) and Children
No studies for Fluvastatin (Lescol) have ever been done in the pediatric population, period, ever.
Because of this, and because pediatric studies have been done on so many other medications like simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor) and especially pravastatin (Pravachol), kids probably shouldn't take fluvastatin (Lescol) period, ever.
Each and every drug is different, and just because other members of the statin class have proven reasonably safe for adolescents or pre-pubescent children doesn't mean Fluvastatin (Lescol) is.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) Ingredients
Lescol contains fluvastatin, gelatin, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatized corn starch, red iron oxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, talc, titanium dioxide, yellow iron oxide, and other ingredients listed below.
The Fluvastatin (Lescol) capsules also include benzyl alcohol, black iron oxide, butyl paraben, carboxymethyl cellulose sodium, edetate calcium disodium, methylparaben, propylparaben, silicon dioxide and sodium propionate.
Extended release Fluvastatin (Lescol) tablets also include microcrystalline cellulose, hydroxypropyle cellulose, hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose, potassium bicarbonate, povidone, magnesium stearate, iron oxide yellow, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol 8000.
Keep in mind that these listed ingredients are only good for the brand name "Lescol". It does not reflect the list of ingredients for any other version or name for fluvastatin.
If you're allergic to anything on this ingredients list, you should not take Lescol. Instead, work with your doctor to find a generic version, a different statin or other lipid-lowering medication entirely that you're not allergic to.
How long will it take Fluvastatin (Lescol) to work?
Fluvastatin (Lescol) reaches its peak concentration in the bloodstream within one hour of taking it.
Like most other statins except pravastatin (Pravachol), Fluvastatin (Lescol) takes about forty eight hours to clear out of the body to the point it can no longer be detected.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) has proven most effective when taken with a low-fat meal in the evening. It's not as effective when taken with a high-fat meal, as the fat binds to the drug in the intestines and keeps Fluvastatin (Lescol) from getting into the bloodstream and doing its job.
Evening is when most cholesterol synthesis takes place, so making sure that the medication is in your system at this time is a good idea, in addition to which fluvastatin (Lescol) has been shown to work better under such conditions.
Like lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor), and atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol) shows an initial therapeutic response within two weeks. This is reasonably fast, but not as fast as the two speediest members of the statin class, rosuvastatin (Crestor) and pravastatin (Pravachol), which both tend to show an initial therapeutic response at one week.
However, the time to maximum therapeutic response is pretty much the same across the board, which is about four to six weeks.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) used with other drugs
There's only one drug that you absolutely, positively should not take with fluvastatin, and that's phenytoin. Phenytoin is an antiepileptic drug used to dampen unwanted, out of control electrical activity in the brain.
On the bright side, Fluvastatin (Lescol) can be taken with many of the medications that other statins are barred from, as long as your doctor keeps a careful eye on it.
Concurrent use of statins and gemfibrozil and fenofibrate is never recommended, both because they've been shown to boost the concentration of each other in the blood and because both can cause myopathy/rhabdomyolysis on their own.
However, fluvastatin (Lescol) is apparently safer (note I didn't say safe, I said safer) to combine with these than other statin medications.
In addition, all of the other medications in the "Danger" category only had warnings to watch it carefully. I'd take that admonition seriously, but fluvastatin (Lescol) seems to be an option for those stuck taking one of the drugs that normally interferes with statin use on a chronic basis.
Remember, when taking fluvastatin (Lescol) along with antacids, cholestyramine or colestipol, don't take them at the same time. Space the doses at least two hours apart, taking the fluvastatin (Lescol) at the later time. Otherwise the fluvastatin could bind to the other medication in the intestines, causing your expensive medication to be flushed right out of the body without doing you one bit of good.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) Side Effects
Like all medications, fluvastatin (Lescol) comes with its own bevy of potential side effects.
In this instance, those would be headache, uncomplicated myalgia, which means muscle aches and cramps for really no reason, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, flatulence, fatigue, along with way too many to list here. Those are the most likely ones.
Of course, there's also the faint, tiny risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis so popular among the statin class of medications. That means that yes, you do have to report muscle aches, cramps or tenderness to your doctor each and every time they happen, but in all likelihood it'll be nothing. Talk about your anxiety inducing experiences!
Fluvastatin (Lescol) Overdose
There's no real information on fluvastatin (Lescol) overdose, unfortunately.
There've been a couple of children who MIGHT have overdosed on Fluvastatin (Lescol), but nobody's entirely sure. When vomiting was induced, there weren't any capsules in their stomachs, but that doesn't really mean anything. In any case, both kids completely recovered.
Researchers found out that an extreme one-time overdose of fluvastatin (Lescol) can kill a rat, but that doesn't exactly help the worried parent who found a child with an open bottle. The best I could find was to get the person who overdosed to the hospital, treat the symptoms if and when they come up, and do lots of laboratory tests to check for liver and kidney function.
Sometimes overdose is treated with hemodialysis, but nobody even knows if that will do any good in the case of this medication.
People who took high doses of Fluvastatin (Lescol) for a long time caused a lot of gastrointestinal complaints and elevated liver enzyme levels in the blood.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) prescriptions are filled by a pharmacy technician and then checked by a pharmacist for accuracy before being handed to you. However, the upshot is that both pharmacy technicians and pharmacists are human and can make errors, so here's the description for all of the dosages of Lescol. Please, please check your medication when you get it from the pharmacy before you take it. It may save your life.
The 20 mg dosage of Lescol is a brown/light brown capsule with "20" imprinted twice on one half and "LESCOL" along with a triangle S symbol imprinted twice on the other half.
The 40 mg dosage of Lescol is a brown/gold capsule with "40" imprinted twice on one half and "LESCOL" along with a triangle S symbol imprinted twice on the other half.
The 80 mg extended release dosage of Lescol is a yellow, round tablet with "Lescol XL" on one side and "80" on the other.
Keep in mind that these descriptions are only good for the brand name "Lescol". Fluvastatin marketed under any other brand name is not going to look the same, so please get to know what your medication should look like.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) Storage
Fluvastatin should be stored at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) with excursions permitted between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 to 86 degrees F). Excursions permitted means that you can leave it out between those temperatures overnight, but you should make an effort to store Fluvastatin (Lescol) somewhere that keeps a relatively steady 25 degrees C, such as a cool pantry or medicine cabinet.
Don't store Fluvastatin (Lescol) in your refrigerator or on the sunniest window ledge you can find.
In addition, protect Fluvastatin (Lescol) from light and moisture by keeping it in tinted plastic and remembering to close the cap.
Fluvastatin (Lescol) in Conclusion
Fluvastatin (Lescol) is one of the safest statin class medications out there, and can be a real lifesaver to people who are forced to take other chronic medications that normally don't work well with statins.
However, keep in mind that Fluvastatin (Lescol) is still a prescription drug and as such, still needs to be handled with care by both you and your doctor.
Used properly and with appropriate monitoring of your health, fluvastatin (Lescol) can reduce your cholesterol levels, reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and allow you to get on living a long and happy life.
You can contact Novartis Pharmaceuticals at:
One Health Plaza
East Hanover, NJ, 07936
Main Research and write by Loni Ice, Editing by Donald Urquhart
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