Fluvastatin is a commonly prescribed treatment for high cholesterol belonging to stating category of drugs. Available in varying strengths and in both standard tablet and slow-release tablet forms, Fluvastatin is a generic version of branded Lescol, manufactured and marketed by Actavis pharmaceutical company. Highly effective at reducing cholesterol and preventing associated cardiovascular illnesses and complications, Fulvastatin is among the most commonly used high cholesterol treatments in the UK.

What’s on this page?

What is high cholesterol?

High cholesterol is a medical condition that doesn’t produce any noticeable symptoms, but it can lead to some rather serious cardiovascular problems and complications including heart attack, stroke and angina. There are numerous reasons why someone might develop high cholesterol. While genetic and hence hereditary factors play a prominent role, unhealthy diet rich in saturated fats, lack of physical activity, smoking or excessive alcohol consumption have all been proven to significantly contribute to the onset of the condition, even in those individuals who have no genetic predispositions to it.

In some cases, high cholesterol can actually be a consequence of an underlying medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. While it is much more likely to occur in individuals that have a family history of high cholesterol, it seems that harmful lifestyle habits and choices play an even greater role.

Biochemical basis of high cholesterol

While cholesterol is commonly viewed as a sign of bad health, it might come as a surprise to many that lipids that cholesterol consists of are actually nutrients which are essential for normal functioning of the body and its cells. Cholesterol is absolutely vital in the formation of stable, healthy and robust cellular membranes. While this compound is found in numerous foods, high cholesterol is directly linked to the lipids produced within the body, by the liver. These lipids, once merged with proteins to make so-called lipoproteins are then carried around the body due to biochemical properties of the proteins.

If the levels of cholesterol are abnormally high, these compounds won’t be used by the cells but will instead begin to get accumulated within the blood vessels, putting extra pressure on the arteries, narrowing them down and causing the heart to work with more force in order to efficiently pump the blood around the body. This can lead to restriction of blood flow and potentially serious and life-threatening complications including heart attack or stroke.

Fluvastatin in the treatment of high cholesterol

The high success rates of Fluvastatin are based on the active ingredient of the same used also in the branded version, Lescol. This compound works by inhibiting the activity of a specialised liver enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase which is responsible for the production of cholesterol in a manner similar to other statins such as Crestor, Zocor or Lipostat. In this way, the medicine will lower the levels of cholesterol produced by the body, thus reducing the risk of associated illnesses.

How is Fluvastatin used?

When commencing treatment, it is important to get a clear understanding of instructions provided by your prescriber. You can always complement this knowledge with the guidelines that can be found in the official patient information leaflet that is issued within every pack of the medicine. By doing this, you will both optimise the results of the treatment, while minimising the risk of side effects at the same time.

Here, we will provide you with a brief overview of the main points of the usual guidelines. Please note that the following text has been compiled only to provide you with the general idea of how Fluvastatin treatment will look like and is not intended to be used as a guide, nor can it substitute consultations with a doctor.

  • Take exactly as prescribed
  • Fluvastatin is taken once daily in a vast majority of cases
  • The starting dose is usually 20mg
  • After a period of four weeks, the doctor might reconsider changing your dose depending on your response to the treatment
  • Try to always take the tablets at around the same time each day
  • Those using just one tablet daily should administer the medicine in the evening or around bedtime
  • If you have been prescribed to use Fluvastatin twice per day, do so in the morning and at night
  • Fluvastatin tablets can be taken with or without food
  • Take the tablets whole, do not cut or chew them
  • Maximum daily dose is 80mg
  • The extended-release capsules are always taken just once daily
  • Never exceed the prescribed amount
  • If you forget a dose, just skip it and continue with the treatment as usual – do not try to compensate
  • Fluvastatin should be used only in parallel to diet and exercise programme

What are Fluvastatin side effects?

Whenever you begin using a prescription medicine you are not familiar with, it is important to learn about documented side effects so in case something goes wrong, you can easily differentiate between potentially dangerous adverse effects and those which might be uncomfortable, but otherwise harmless.

You should notify your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Muscle degradation symptoms (pain, tenderness or weakness)
  • Hepatitis
  • Jaundice
  • Decreased platelets (bruising easily)
  • Allergic reaction
  • Pancreatitis
  • Blood vessel inflammation
  • Lupus-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, loss of appetite)

The side effects documented as common, meaning they tend to appear in approximately 1 in every 10 users include:

  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • General malaise
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Nausea

Other side effects are considered very rare as they manifest in roughly one in every 10.000 users and they include:

  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities
  • Disturbed or decreased sensibility
  • Memory loss
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Depression
  • Coughing
  • Palpitations
  • Fever
  • Diabetes

Is Fluvastatin safe for me? What are the contraindications?

As is the case with all prescription medicines, Fluvastatin is not suitable for everyone and there are some situations when the use of this medicine will be contraindicated. One of the common scenarios is the possibility of adverse interactions with other medicines you might be taking at the same time. Medications that might be a cause for concern include:

  • Ciclosporin
  • Fibrates
  • Nicotinic or bile acid sequestrants
  • Fluconazole
  • Rifampicin
  • Phenytoin
  • Anticoagulants

In addition to this, there are certain medical conditions that might make Fluvastatin use contraindicated. These include:

  • Liver disease
  • Allergy to soya or peanuts
  • Kidney disease
  • Muscle problem
  • Thyroid gland problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Alcoholism

Finally, this medicine should not be used by women who are pregnant, are trying to become pregnant or are currently breastfeeding.