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Old 10-07-2005, 05:27 AM   #1
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Lipitor vs Lovastatin

Is Lovastatin just as effective at lowering LDL as Lipitor is? I do the diet and exercise every single day. I currently take 10 mgs. of lipitor and it has lowered LDL some. Rather than go to 20 mgs. of Lipitor, I would like to start 20 mgs. of Lovastatin (the $ savings is amazing). I will ask my Dr. about this - but I wanted input from some of you first...I trust your honest opinions more. LOL

Thanks

 
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Old 10-07-2005, 10:50 AM   #2
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Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendap
Is Lovastatin just as effective at lowering LDL as Lipitor is? I do the diet and exercise every single day. I currently take 10 mgs. of lipitor and it has lowered LDL some. Rather than go to 20 mgs. of Lipitor, I would like to start 20 mgs. of Lovastatin (the $ savings is amazing). I will ask my Dr. about this - but I wanted input from some of you first...I trust your honest opinions more. LOL

Thanks
The dosage range of Lipitor is 10-80 mg. Daily dosage ranges of lovastatin (brand names Mevac or or Altocor) are 10-60mg for extended release pills taken once a day; and 20-80mg for tablets taken as a single daily dose or divided into smaller doses.

These drugs are in the same category but are not necessarily the same strength. It certainly would be worth asking your doctor about switching and voicing your concern about reducing your cost. Let us know what he says. I believe lovastatin is now available in generic form, which is probably the reason that the cost is so much less than Lipitor.

As an aside, I switched from Pravachol (a very expensive, but relatively weak statin) and the doctor had the option to switch me to either Lipitor or lovastatin. I am in an HMO with Rx coverage, but he didn't choose to switch me to the cheaper lovastatin, choosing Lipitor instead. The actual dosage (in mgs) for me is 10 mg Lipitor which has the same effect as the 40mg Pravachol dosage had. Actually the Lipitor brought my LDL a bit lower.

Another way to lower your Lipitor cost is to have the Dr. prescribe 20 mg pills, then split them with a pill-splitter. This is recommended by my HMO. My husband does this. However, the drug company, I think, has caught on to this ploy and raised the cost of the drug to compensate for the fact that the patient buys only 15 pills a month instead of 30. The games we play.

 
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Old 10-07-2005, 02:06 PM   #3
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Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

Brendap, I took 10 mg of Lipitor for a few years and it did a great job of lowering the cholesterol and like you I wanted to save some money so asked to be switched to Lovastatin. Lovastatin is the generic of another older statin I think Me****r (sp?). I was told I would have to start at 20mg since it didn't come in 10mg. It is not as strong as Lipitor but nevertheless I had some terrible side effects with Lovastatin, more then Lipitor. Constipation like you wouldn't believe and that led to bloody stools and a colonoscapy. I had trouble sleeping, hair loss, muscle inflammation and worse yet stomach pain that didn't stop til I quit taking the pills. Never again will I put myself through all the agony. That is not improving your health when all this is happening to you daily. I am now going the natural way as best I can. When I told my doctor I was going to use food as my medicine and also take flush-free Niacin and I thought I'd get an argument from him but rather he said fine and told me they used Niacin for years with good results and even now he is starting several people every week on Niacin rather then statins. I hope this all works for me because boy do I feel better. Being a women and over 60 I have read a lot of test that say women who lower their cholesterol open themselves up to cancer and a whole host of problems. Nursing home research has shown that the women who live to very old ages had high cholesterol and the ones that had low died. Like Hubble, JJ and others here I believe it is inflammation rather then cholesterol that is the problem.

 
Old 10-08-2005, 09:25 AM   #4
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Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

Quote:
Originally Posted by gardeninggal
I am now going the natural way as best I can. When I told my doctor I was going to use food as my medicine and also take flush-free Niacin and I thought I'd get an argument from him but rather he said fine and told me they used Niacin for years with good results and even now he is starting several people every week on Niacin rather then statins. I hope this all works for me because boy do I feel better. Being a women and over 60 I have read a lot of test that say women who lower their cholesterol open themselves up to cancer and a whole host of problems. Nursing home research has shown that the women who live to very old ages had high cholesterol and the ones that had low died. Like Hubble, JJ and others here I believe it is inflammation rather then cholesterol that is the problem.
Gardeninggal,

Good luck with the Niacin - I'm still taking 500-750mg/day, although I've been forgetting to take it from time to time.... I'm mostly on the Policosanol now - take it religiously... Will post my next blood test results soon.

Like you, I have also read several places that longevity is related to cholesterol levels - those with the higher cholesterol levels tend to live longest.... I'm not saying there's a cause and effect relationship, but it is just more evidence that the theory that high cholesterol causes heart disease has more than just a few holes in it...

I'm sure that if the cholesterol level is too high this relationship breaks down. But one graphic I saw on a web site from a study of several thousand Japanese had the lowest overall mortality from those whose cholesterol was around 260. It went much higher when cholesterol dropped to around 190.

Up until the generation of statins came into favor, and pharmaceutical advertising and stong-arm tactics went thru the stratosphere, normal cholesterol was 240...

I think they had it right decades ago, and have been perverting medicine with marketing for the past 25 years...

HubbleRules

Last edited by HubbleRules; 10-08-2005 at 09:26 AM.

 
Old 10-14-2005, 07:14 AM   #5
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Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

Quote:
Serum cholesterol and mortality among Japanese-American men. The Honolulu (Hawaii) Heart Program
G. N. Stemmermann, P. H. Chyou, A. Kagan, A. M. Nomura and K. Yano
Japan-Hawaii Cancer Study, Honolulu 96817.

Hawaiian men of Japanese ancestry followed up for 18 or more years after a baseline examination showed a quadratic distribution of death rates at different levels of serum cholesterol. Mortality from cancer progressively decreased and mortality from coronary heart disease progressively increased with rising levels of serum cholesterol. There was a positive association between baseline serum cholesterol levels and deaths from coronary heart disease at 0 to 6 years, 7 to 12 years, and 13 years and longer after examination. The inverse relationship between cancer and serum cholesterol levels was stronger in the first 6 years than in the next 6 years and, although still inverse, lost statistical significance after 13 years. Cancers of the colon and lung showed the strongest association with low baseline serum cholesterol levels, while gastric or rectal cancer failed to show this association. Organ specificity and persistence of the inverse association beyond 6 years suggest that the nutritional demands of cancers may not entirely explain the inverse association with some cancers. The quadratic distribution of deaths in this cohort remained after coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer were removed from the analysis. For the entire period of observation, the lowest mortalities were found in men with serum cholesterol levels between 4.65 and 6.18 mmol/L (between 180 and 239 mg/dL). Manipulation of serum cholesterol levels below this level would not be desirable if this were to result in increased risk of death from cancer or other disease. This study does not rule out this possibility.
I read that differently.

 
Old 10-15-2005, 06:32 AM   #6
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Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

Lenin,

Thanks for the info. The study I was referring to is Medline #12499611... "The Japan Lipid Intervention Trial was a 6-year, nationwide cohort study of 47,294 patients treated with open-labeled simvastatin (5-10 mg/day) and monitored by physicians under standard clinical conditions."

I can't seem to get anything but the abstact on it. It did find that keeping total cholesterol <240 and LDL <160, Triglycerides <300, and HDL >40 were related to a lower incidence of CHD.

However, it did find a j-shaped total mortality curve for those in the study, where mortality from all-causes was highest in the low-cholesterol group. The study even stated:

"The J-curve association was observed between average TC or LDL-C concentrations and total mortality. Malignancy was the most prevalent cause of death. The health of patients should be monitored closely when there is a remarkable decrease in TC and LDL-C concentrations with low-dose statin."

Do you know how to get the full text of the study?

HubbleRules

 
Old 10-15-2005, 07:05 AM   #7
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Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

No, I can;t find the full text, except one reference to "full text in Japanese"...I'm limited to ordering sushi.

The study is mentioned slightly more thoroughly in the AHA's Journal in a good article discussing the ideal points at which to lower LDL and TC (Second boldfaced paragraph).
Quote:
In the Japan Lipid Intervention Trial, 52 421 subjects with total cholesterol levels 220 mg/dL were treated with simvastatin, usually at a dose of 5 mg/d, for 6 years. Approximately 10% of the subjects had coronary disease at baseline. The incidence of myocardial infarction did not decrease once on-treatment LDL-cholesterol levels fell below 140 mg/dL. In the 47 294 subjects without coronary disease at baseline, total mortality was higher when LDL-cholesterol levels were <70 mg/dL on treatment. 7 The absence of a control group severely limits the value of this trial. The accumulated epidemiological evidence suggests that low cholesterol or lowering cholesterol does not increase mortality, but rather that low blood cholesterol levels may be a consequence of chronic diseases that increase mortality.
The complete editorial (interesting) can be found here:
http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/104/22/2635

 
Old 10-30-2005, 01:11 PM   #8
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Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

I can speak from experience with both statins. Several years ago I took 10mg Lipitor for 2 months and it got my cholesterol down to 140, and I didn't really follow a strict diet. But the Lipitor gave me a rash on both hands, so I stopped taking it. This year, after a quadrupel by-pass, a new doctor suggested Lipitor and I asked him if I could try 10 mg. Lovastatin. Lovastatin got my cholesterol down to 131, with no side effects, yet. Lipitor is more powerful than Lovastatin, but I think the reason my cholesterol is lower with the Lovastatin is diet and exercise. I eat very little meat(especially red), less refined sugar(no store bought deserts), avoid as much partially hydrogenated oil and trans fats as possible, more fruits and vegetables, more fiber and ride my bicycle 150 to 180 miles a month. The Lipitor would probably take my cholesterol even farther than 131.

 
Old 10-30-2005, 01:49 PM   #9
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rahod HB User
Re: Lipitor vs Lovastatin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendap
Is Lovastatin just as effective at lowering LDL as Lipitor is? I do the diet and exercise every single day. I currently take 10 mgs. of lipitor and it has lowered LDL some. Rather than go to 20 mgs. of Lipitor, I would like to start 20 mgs. of Lovastatin (the $ savings is amazing). I will ask my Dr. about this - but I wanted input from some of you first...I trust your honest opinions more. LOL

Thanks
"Rather than go to 20 mgs. of Lipitor, I would like to start 20 mgs. of Lovastatin "

Won't work! In fact, even 80 mgs of Lovastatin is not as potent as 10 mg Lipitor! I would add 10 Mg ZETIA (not a statin..blocks absorbtion of cholesterol in small intestine). I take 10 mg Crestor and 5 mg Zetia (1/2 dose) and it's a dynamite combo! No problems over a year now. You can also take VYTORIN (ONE PILL!), which combines ZOCOR (20 mg) with 10 mg Zetia. Your results will be almost the same...but the combo with Lipitor is a bit more potent.

Good Luck

 
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