Lovastatin is used with diet changes (restriction of cholesterol and fat intake) to reduce the amount of cholesterol and certain fatty substances in the blood. Lovastatin is in a class of medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). It works by slowing the production of cholesterol in the body. Buildup of cholesterol and fats along the walls of the blood vessels (a process known as atherosclerosis) decreases blood flow and, therefore, the oxygen supply to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body. Lowering blood levels of cholesterol and fats may help to prevent heart disease, angina (chest pain), strokes, and heart attacks.
Lovastatin is a member of the drug class of statins, used for lowering cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular disease. The mode of action of statins is HMG-CoA reductase enzyme inhibition.
Lovastatin was isolated from a strain of Aspergillus terreus and it was the first statin approved by the FDA (August 1987).
Lovastatin is also naturally produced by certain higher fungi such as leurotus ostreatus (oyster mushroom) and closely related Pleurotus spp. (Bobek et al., 1998)
In 1998, the US FDA placed a ban on the sale of dietary supplements derived from red yeast rice, which naturally contains lovastatin, arguing that products containing prescription agents require drug approval.