Pravastatin and Lipitor are both medications that are often prescribed to help lower cholesterol and prevent harmful conditions that result, such as strokes and heart attacks. These two drugs are very similar, but there are some differences between them.
Lipitor is made by Pfizer. The generic name for Lipitor is atorvastatin calcium. Prevastatin, or prevastatin sodium, is the generic name for Pravachol. Pravachol is made by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Both of these are medications known as statins which are prescribed to help lower cholesterol.
Statins work by blocking an enzyme called the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme. When there is less of this enzyme, your body makes less cholesterol. Because this enzyme is made by the liver, both of these medications can have negative consequences on liver function, though this is rare.
Pravachol can be used to treat children who have a genetic condition that results in high cholesterol. Both drugs have interactions with other drugs so you shouldn't take them if you are taking some types of antibiotics or antifungal medication. You shouldn't take Lipitor if you are taking birth control pills or protease inhibitors, but Pravachol doesn't list these types of drugs as causing interaction problems.
The dosage for both of these medications is similar, starting around 10 milligrams and going up as high as 80 milligrams for the maximum dose.
Lipitor is still protected by a patent that allows Pfizer to be the only manufacturer. Pravastatin sodium is available in several generic formulations and, therefore, might be available for a lower price, depending on the pharmacy and your health insurance coverage.