Pravastatin is part of a class of medications known as ‘statins’ or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Also known as Pravachol or Selektine, it works to decrease the level of cholesterol that may have built up on artery walls blocking blood flow to the heart, brain and other vital organs. If left untreated, over time these patches can make a blood vessel narrower, a condition called atherosclerosis or ‘hardening of the arteries’. This is known to increase the risk heart attack and stroke.
Pravastatin is primarily used in the treatment of dyslipidemia and prevention of cardiovascular disease. In this way, pravastatin is a lipid-regulating drug and is used to reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel disease in patients where changes in diet, exercise and other weight reduction techniques have not improved cholesterol levels.
The usual dosage of Pravastatin ranges from 10mg to 80mg daily.
Mechanism of Action
Pravastatin acts as a lipoprotein-lowering drug through two pathways. The first and major pathway is to inhibit HMG-CoA (hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase). Its function as a reversible competitive inhibitor means it works by sterically hindering HMG-CoA by occupying the active site of the enzyme.
This enzyme is primarily responsible for the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate in the rate-limited step of the pathway for cholesterol.
Pravastatin also works as an inhibitor of very low-density lipoproteins which leads to an increase in the number of cellular LDL receptors, thus increasing LDL uptake and removing it from the bloodstream. The end result is a reduction in circulating cholesterol and LDL. Minor reductions in triglycerides and increases in high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are also common.