Pravachol (Pravastatin) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Pravachol
Pravachol is a medication that is taken to lower the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Its generic name is Pravastatin. Pravachol belongs to a group of medications known as HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors (also referred as Statins). You can buy Pravachol as an oral tablet. This medication is taken by patients who have diabetes, coronary heart disease or any other condition that increases the risk of stroke or heart attacks. Pravachol is not a cure for the above mentioned conditions.
Side Effects for Pravachol
Inform your doctor at once and stop taking Pravachol if you suffer from any serious side effects. These side effects include unexplained muscle weakness, tenderness and pain, fever, fatigue, dark colored urine, chest pain, swelling, urinating less or not at all, weight gain, stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, itching, clay colored stools, and yellowing of the eyes or skin.
In some people, Pravachol may trigger a serious allergic reaction. The side effects of an allergic reaction include hives, swelling of the face, tongue, lips and throat, and difficulty in breathing. Stop your medication and get immediate medical help if these side effects occur.
Mild side effects may also occur while taking Pravachol. These side effects include headache, mild skin rashes, diarrhea, and mild muscle pain. Inform your doctor at once if these side effects become severe or if they persist for a long time.
Do not buy Pravachol if you have an allergy of Pravastatin or any other Statin medications. Inform your doctor if you have diabetes, thyroid disorder, or a history of liver or kidney disease. Under the above conditions, your doctor may conduct special tests on you and your dosage of Pravachol may be changed to suit your condition.
In extremely rare cases, this drug may cause breakdown of skeletal muscle tissues. This, in turn, can cause kidney failure. The risk of kidney failure increases among elderly patients and those patients who already have kidney disease.
Pravachol can be dangerous to an unborn child and can cause birth defects in the child. Do not buy Pravachol if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control methods during the time of treatment. Stop using Pravachol immediately and inform your doctor at once if you become pregnant during a treatment with Pravachol. Do not take Pravachol if you are breastfeeding a baby.
You must buy Pravachol only after consulting a doctor. Do not buy the medication in any other dosage other than what has been prescribed by your doctor. The recommended dosage of Pravachol is once a day. This medication may be taken with or without food. Your dosage may be changed occasionally by your doctor.
Inform your doctor about all the over-the-counter and prescribed medications that you have taken or are still taking, before you buy Pravachol. You must tell your doctor if you are taking Tagamet, Aldactone or Aldactazide. Also, tell your doctor if you are using any other Statins such as Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin and Lovastatin.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.