Lovastatin may elevate creatine phosphokinase and transaminase levels (see WARNINGS and ADVERSE REACTIONS). This should be considered in the differential diagnosis of chest pain in a patient on therapy with lovastatin.
Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Lovastatin is less effective in patients with the rare homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, possibly because these patients have no functional LDL receptors. Lovastatin appears to be more likely to raise serum transaminases (see ADVERSE REACTIONS) in these homozygous patients.
Patients should be advised about substances they should not take concomitantly with lovastatin and be advised to report promptly unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever or if muscle signs and symptoms persist after discontinuing lovastatin (see list below and WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis ). Patients should also be advised to inform other physicians prescribing a new medication that they are taking lovastatin.
It is recommended that liver enzymes be checked before starting therapy, and if signs or symptoms of liver injury occur. All patients treated with lovastatin should be advised to report promptly any symptoms that may indicate liver injury, including fatigue, anorexia, right upper abdominal discomfort, dark urine or jaundice.
Lovastatin is metabolized by CYP3A4 but has no CYP3A4 inhibitory activity; therefore it is not expected to affect the plasma concentrations of other drugs metabolized by CYP3A4. Strong inhibitors of CYP3A4 (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole, clarithromycin, telithromycin, HIV protease inhibitors, boceprevir, telaprevir, nefazodone, erythromycin, and cobicistat-containing products), and grapefruit juice increase the risk of myopathy by reducing the elimination of lovastatin. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics.)
Interactions with Lipid-Lowering Drugs that can Cause Myopathy when Given Alone
The risk of myopathy is also increased by the following lipid-lowering drugs that are not strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, but which can cause myopathy when given alone.
See WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis.
Niacin (nicotinic acid) (greater than or equal to 1 g/day)
Other Drug Interactions
Cyclosporine: The risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis is increased by concomitant administration of cyclosporine (see WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis).
Danazol, Diltiazem, Dronedarone or Verapamil: The risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis is increased by concomitant administration of danazol, diltiazem, dronedarone or verapamil particularly with higher doses of lovastatin (see WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis; CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics).
Amiodarone: The risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis is increased when amiodarone is used concomitantly with a closely related member of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor class (see WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis).
Coumarin Anticoagulants: In a small clinical trial in which lovastatin was administered to warfarin treated patients, no effect on prothrombin time was detected. However, another HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor has been found to produce a less than two-second increase in prothrombin time in healthy volunteers receiving low doses of warfarin. Also, bleeding and/or increased prothrombin time have been reported in a few patients taking coumarin anticoagulants concomitantly with lovastatin. It is recommended that in patients taking anticoagulants, prothrombin time be determined before starting lovastatin and frequently enough during early therapy to insure that no significant alteration of prothrombin time occurs. Once a stable prothrombin time has been documented, prothrombin times can be monitored at the intervals usually recommended for patients on coumarin anticoagulants. If the dose of lovastatin is changed, the same procedure should be repeated. Lovastatin therapy has not been associated with bleeding or with changes in prothrombin time in patients not taking anticoagulants.
Colchicine: Cases of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, have been reported with lovastatin coadministered with colchicine. See WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis.
Ranolazine: The risk of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, may be increased by concomitant administration of ranolazine. See WARNINGS, Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis.
Propranolol: In normal volunteers, there was no clinically significant pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interaction with concomitant administration of single doses of lovastatin and propranolol.
Digoxin: In patients with hypercholesterolemia, concomitant administration of lovastatin and digoxin resulted in no effect on digoxin plasma concentrations.
Oral Hypoglycemic Agents: In pharmacokinetic studies of lovastatin in hypercholesterolemic non-insulin dependent diabetic patients, there was no drug interaction with glipizide or with chlorpropamide (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies).
Increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels have been reported with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, including lovastatin.
HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors interfere with cholesterol synthesis and as such might theoretically blunt adrenal and/or gonadal steroid production. Results of clinical trials with drugs in this class have been inconsistent with regard to drug effects on basal and reserve steroid levels. However, clinical studies have shown that lovastatin does not reduce basal plasma cortisol concentration or impair adrenal reserve, and does not reduce basal plasma testosterone concentration. Another HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor has been shown to reduce the plasma testosterone response to HCG. In the same study, the mean testosterone response to HCG was slightly but not significantly reduced after treatment with lovastatin 40 mg daily for 16 weeks in 21 men. The effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors on male fertility have not been studied in adequate numbers of male patients. The effects, if any, on the pituitary-gonadal axis in pre-menopausal women are unknown. Patients treated with lovastatin who develop clinical evidence of endocrine dysfunction should be evaluated appropriately. Caution should also be exercised if an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor or other agent used to lower cholesterol levels is administered to patients also receiving other drugs (e.g., spironolactone, cimetidine) that may decrease the levels or activity of endogenous steroid hormones.
Lovastatin produced optic nerve degeneration (Wallerian degeneration of retinogeniculate fibers) in clinically normal dogs in a dose-dependent fashion starting at 60 mg/kg/day, a dose that produced mean plasma drug levels about 30 times higher than the mean drug level in humans taking the highest recommended dose (as measured by total enzyme inhibitory activity). Vestibulocochlear Wallerian-like degeneration and retinal ganglion cell chromatolysis were also seen in dogs treated for 14 weeks at 180 mg/kg/day, a dose which resulted in a mean plasma drug level (C max ) similar to that seen with the 60 mg/kg/day dose.
CNS vascular lesions, characterized by perivascular hemorrhage and edema, mononuclear cell infiltration of perivascular spaces, perivascular fibrin deposits and necrosis of small vessels, were seen in dogs treated with lovastatin at a dose of 180 mg/kg/day, a dose which produced plasma drug levels (C max ) which were about 30 times higher than the mean values in humans taking 80 mg/day.
Similar optic nerve and CNS vascular lesions have been observed with other drugs of this class.
Cataracts were seen in dogs treated for 11 and 28 weeks at 180 mg/kg/day and 1 year at 60 mg/kg/day.
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