Simvastatin is a generic brand of Zocor. Simvastain is used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat) in the blood. Simvastatin is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart complications in people with diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors.
Why have I been prescribed Simvastatin?
Simvastatin is used along with diet if you have:
- a raised cholesterol level in your blood or elevated fat levels in your blood.
- a hereditary illness that increases the cholesterol level in your blood. You may also receive other treatments.
- coronary heart disease (CHD) or are at high risk of CHD (because you have diabetes, history of stroke, or other blood vessel disease).
Simvastatin may prolong your life by reducing the risk of heart disease problems, regardless of the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
How does it work?
The drug in Simvastatin belongs to a family of drugs called statins. It prevents the production of cholesterol by the liver and consequently reduces the levels of cholesterol and other fats (triglycerides) in your body.
When and how do I take it?
- Swallow each tablet whole with a drink of water. Take Simvastatin in the evening. You can take it with or without food.
- Grapefruit juice contains one or more components that alter how the body uses some medicinal products, including Simvastatin. Consuming grapefruit juice should be avoided.
What’s the dose?
- The dose is Simvastatin 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg tablet by mouth once a day.
- The 80 mg dose is only recommended in patients with very high cholesterol levels and at high risk of heart disease problems.
- The usual starting dose is 10, 20 or, in some cases, 40 mg a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose after at least 4 weeks to a maximum of 80 mg a day. Do not take more than 80 mg a day.
Could it interact with other tablets?
It is particularly important to tell your doctor or Pharmacist if you are taking any of the following drugs. Taking Simvastatin with any of these drugs can increase the risk of muscle problems:
- cyclosporin (a medicine often used in organ transplant patients)
- danazol (a man-made hormone used to treat endometriosis)
- medicines like itraconazole or ketoconazole (medicines for fungal infections)
- fibrates like gemfibrozil and bezafibrate (medicines for lowering cholesterol)
- erythromycin, clarithromycin, telithromycin, or fusidic acid (medicines for bacterial infections)
- HIV protease inhibitors such as indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, and saquinavir (medicines for AIDS)
- nefazodone (a medicine for depression)
- amiodarone (a medicine for an irregular heartbeat)
- verapamil or diltiazem (medicines for high blood pressure, chest pain associated with heart disease, or other heart conditions)
As well as the medicines listed above, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including those obtained without a prescription. In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
- medicines to prevent blood clots, such as warfarin, phenprocoumon or acenocoumarol (anticoagulants)
- fenofibrate (another medicine for lowering cholesterol)
- niacin (another medicine for lowering cholesterol).
What are the possible risks or side-effects?
The following rare serious side effects were reported. If any of these serious side effects happen, stop taking the medicine and tell your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room at your nearest hospital.
- muscle pain, tenderness, weakness, or cramps. On rare occasions, these muscle problems can be serious, including muscle breakdown resulting in kidney damage; and very rare deaths have occurred.
Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions including:
- swelling of the face, tongue and throat which may cause difficulty in breathing
- severe muscle pain usually in the shoulders and hips
- rash with weakness of limbs and neck muscles
- pain or inflammation of the joints
- inflammation of the blood vessels
- unusual bruising, skin eruptions and swelling, hives, skin sensitivity to the sun, fever, flushing
- shortness of breath and feeling unwell
- lupus-like disease picture (including rash, joint disorders, and effects on blood cells)
- inflammation of the liver with yellowing of the skin and eyes, itching, dark-coloured urine or pale-coloured stool, liver failure (very rare)
- inflammation of the pancreas often with severe abdominal pain.
The following side effects have also been reported rarely:
- low red blood cell count (anaemia)
- numbness or weakness of the arms and legs
- headache, tingling sensation, dizziness
- digestive disturbances (abdominal pain, constipation, flatulence, indigestion, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting)
- rash, itching, hair loss
Can I drink alcohol while taking it?
Alcohol intake should be kept to a minimum.
What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?
Simvastatin cannot be given while pregnant or during breast feeding.
If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.
Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note: We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.