Simvastatin, also sold under the brand name Zocor, is a statin prescribed to patients with high cholesterol who may be at risk of heart disease. It is considered a safe medicine. However, there is some information such as side effects and interactions that is still beneficial for patients to be made aware of.
- What is simvastatin (Zocor)?
- What is simvastatin used for?
- What are the side effects of simvastatin?
- When should you take simvastatin?
- How does simvastatin work?
- What is the difference between simvastatin and atorvastatin?
- Which simvastatin dosage should you take?
- What are the common simvastatin interactions?
1. What is simvastatin (Zocor)?
Simvastatin belongs to the group of medicines known as statins. It is considered to be a safe medication and is regularly prescribed to patients with high cholesterol or patients with a family history of heart disease. Simvastatin is available in tablet form in a range of doses.
2. What is simvastatin used for?
Simvastatin is used to help lower “bad” cholesterol and fats in the blood to help reduce the risk of heart disease. It is typically prescribed along with a proper diet to ensure the medication is as effective as possible. As well as maintaining a healthy diet , doctors may recommend that patients exercise more and stop smoking. This combination of lifestyle changes can help prevent strokes and heart attacks for those who are at risk. In some cases, simvastatin may be prescribed to patients without high cholesterol who have diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease.
3. What are the side effects of simvastatin?
Although simvastatin is considered to be a safe drug with relatively few side effects, every patient is affected differently. Potential side-effects range from mild to severe. Mild side effects typically subside after a few days or weeks. If they persist you should speak to your doctor.
Common side effects:
- Muscle Aches
- Abdominal pain
Serious side effects:
- Myositis (inflammation of the muscles)
- Elevated CPK levels (an enzyme that can lead to muscle weakness)
- Extreme muscle pain and weakness (this can lead to damage)
- Muscle breakdown
- Jaundice (noticeable by yellowing of the eyes or skin)
- Liver disease or liver failure
If you experience any of these serious side effects, you should speak with your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if you feel you are having an emergency.
In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Abilify:
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat or chest
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
4. When should you take simvastatin?
Generally, simvastatin works better if taken in the evening. That’s because statins with half-lives of less than six hours are best taken at night. They have been shown to produce a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol—a type of “bad cholesterol”—than when they are taken earlier in the day.
5. How does simvastatin work?
Simvastatin belongs to a class of drugs called statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. It works by speeding up the speed at which cholesterol is removed from the body and slowing down the rate at which the body produces more “bad” cholesterol. This then decreases the amount of cholesterol that may build up on the walls of the arteries. By reducing the build-up, the risk of blockages that cause serious heart events or brain events is reduced. The flow of oxygen to your heart and brain is also increased by reducing cholesterol buildup, which is critical in preventing heart disease.
6. What is the difference between simvastatin and atorvastatin?
Simvastatin and atorvastatin (Lipitor) both belong to the class of drugs known as statins. This means that they function very similarly to one another. They are used to treat the same conditions and are similarly effective, but they can cause slightly different side effects. These are the side effects that are more common from each drug than from the other (not a complete list):
- Muscle and joint pain
- Urinary tract infection
7. Which simvastatin dosage should you take?
The proper dose of the drug will be unique to each patient. Always follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. The following information presents common doses of the drug. If the dose prescribed by your doctor is not consistent with these doses, do not change it to follow them.
The typical dose for adults taking simvastatin is between 10 mg and 40 mg. Simvastatin comes in an oral tablet form and is typically taken once per day. In some cases, people with very high cholesterol levels may be prescribed 80 mg per day. However, as with many drugs, the typical simvastatin dose will vary as it depends on the specific condition being treated. That is why it’s essential to stick to the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Children typically are prescribed doses slightly differently, and according to their age. The typical starting dose is 10 mg each evening and can be increased after a month if necessary.
If you miss a dose you should take it as soon as possible unless it is almost time for your next dose, in which case you should skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. You should never double doses.
8. What are the common simvastatin interactions?
The simvastatin oral tablet may potentially interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs. In fact, it is a medication with some of the most known drug interactions. For this reason, your doctor may choose to prescribe a different statin with fewer side effects.
These interactions may reduce the effectiveness of simvastatin or pose potentially harmful side effects. Before taking simvastatin you must speak with your doctor and let them know about anything else you’re taking. The following is not a complete list of potential interactions but lists a few of the most common:
- Other drugs for lowering cholesterol like fenofibrate
- Calcium channel blockers like diltiazem and amlodipine
- Several HIV drugs
- Heart drugs like amiodarone and clopidogrel
- Gout drugs
- Blood thinners like warfarin
- St. John’s Wort
Aside from medical interactions, patients taking simvastatin should avoid grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice has the potential to increase the levels of simvastatin in the body, in turn increasing the risk of negative side effects. People with a history of alcohol abuse should also avoid taking simvastatin as it can lead to serious liver injury.
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