|Type of medicine||A lipid-regulating medicine commonly known as a statin|
|Used for||Lowering cholesterol and other lipids (fats) in the blood
To reduce the risk of a heart attack after a treatment called percutaneous coronary angioplasty
|Also called||Dorisin® XL, Lescol®, Lescol® XL, Luvinsta® XL, Pinmactil®, Stefluvin® XL|
|Available as||Capsules and prolonged-release tablets|
Lipid is another word for fat. Lipids are easily stored in your body and serve as a source of energy. Cholesterol and triglycerides are types of lipid. Lipids are made naturally in your body from the food you eat. When the concentration of lipids in your blood is too high, it is called hyperlipidaemia.
In hyperlipidaemia, small fatty patches called atheroma develop within the inside lining of your blood vessels. Over time, these patches can make blood vessels narrower and this is called atherosclerosis or 'hardening of the arteries'. This narrowing reduces the blood flow through the arteries and increases the risk of a number of heart and blood vessel diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.
Fluvastatin reduces the amount of lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides made by your body. It does this by blocking the action of a certain enzyme which is needed to make the lipids. This lowers your risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Fluvastatin can also reduce the risk of a heart attack after coronary angioplasty, which is a procedure used to open up blocked blood vessels of the heart.
Before taking fluvastatin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking fluvastatin, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any liver problems, or if you have ever had a disease which has affected your liver.
- If you have ever had muscle problems, or if you have repeated or unexplained muscle aches or pains.
- If you have a thyroid disorder.
- If you have kidney problems.
- If you regularly drink large amounts of alcohol.
- If you have porphyria (a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take fluvastatin
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the brand of fluvastatin you have been given and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take fluvastatin exactly as your doctor has told you. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how much to take and when to take it. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack.
- You can take fluvastatin before or after food.
- If you have been given prolonged-release tablets of fluvastatin, you should swallow the tablets whole, without chewing or crushing them.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. You will need to have blood tests, particularly when you first start treatment. The tests will check that your liver has not been affected by taking fluvastatin, and may also measure your cholesterol level.
- Your doctor will give you advice about eating a healthy diet, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, stopping smoking and taking regular exercise. Following this advice will also help you to reduce your risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease.
- Cut down on the amount of alcohol you normally drink. Alcohol can increase the risk of side-effects to your liver.
- Women who could become pregnant should not take fluvastatin unless they are using an effective contraceptive. If this affects you, ask your doctor for advice about suitable contraception.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with fluvastatin.
Can fluvastatin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common fluvastatin side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Muscle aches, pains, weakness, or tenderness||Although this may not be anything to be concerned about, you should tell your doctor about this. This is because there is a rare but serious side-effect of fluvastatin which is a severe form of muscle inflammation|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water each day|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Feeling sick, stomach ache, indigestion, wind||Stick to bland foods - avoid rich or spicy food|
|Disturbed sleep, feeling dizzy, tiredness, forgetfulness, depression, sexual problems||Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
Important: if you experience any of the following rare but serious symptoms, stop taking fluvastatin and contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- Any unexplained shortness of breath or cough. This is because (in very rare cases), fluvastatin may cause a disease called interstitial lung disease.
- Any swelling of your face or mouth, or a severe skin rash. These may be signs that you are allergic to fluvastatin.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store fluvastatin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Lescol® 20 mg and 40 mg capsules; Manufacturer's PIL, Lescol® 20 mg and 40 mg capsules, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Lescol® XL 80 mg Prolonged Release Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Lescol® XL 80 mg Prolonged Release Tablets, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2011.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall