Generic Name: simvastatin, Oral tablet

Zocor

All Brands

  • Zocor
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for simvastatin

Oral tablet
1

Simvastatin can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It can also reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

2

Women who are pregnant, women who may become pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, and people with liver disease shouldn’t use simvastatin.

3

Simvastatin can cause serious side effects involving the muscles and kidneys.

4

There are several serious drug interactions, including certain drugs that should never be taken with simvastatin. Discuss all your medications with your doctor or pharmacist.

5

The dosage depends on your body and specific condition. If you don’t take your dose as prescribed, you raise your risks for serious complications.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

May cause myopathy/rhabdomyolysis

Simvastatin and other statin drugs can sometimes cause muscle weakness (myopathy). They can even cause severe muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis). Rhabdomyolysis can lead to kidney failure. You have an increased risk of each condition if you:

  • are elderly
  • are female
  • have kidney disease
  • have low thyroid function
  • have diabetes

Tell your doctor right away if you experience:

  • unexplained muscle weakness or tenderness
  • persistent muscle pain
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • dark-colored urine

Warning for liver disease and alcohol abuse

People with active liver disease shouldn’t use simvastatin. People with a history of alcohol abuse and risk of liver disease should also not take the drug. For these groups, simvastatin can increase the risk of serious liver injury.

Drug Features

Simvastatin is a prescription drug. It is available in these forms: oral tablet.

Simvastatin is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand.  Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why It's Used

Simvastatin is used to:

  • lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in the body
  • increase good cholesterol (HDL)
  • slow the development of heart disease and reduce the risk of stroke

How It Works

Simvastatin belongs to the drug class known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, also called statins. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly in your body. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How It Works

Simvastatin belongs to the drug class known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, also called statins. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly in your body. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Statins work to reduce the body’s cholesterol production. They also reduce the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides moving through the body. High cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with increased risk of:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • heart attack

Statins are usually taken in combination with lifestyle changes, such as changes to diet and exercise.

SECTION 2 of 5

simvastatin Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

Most people don’t experience too many uncomfortable side effects from simvastatin. However, side effects are possible.

Common side effects include:

  • headache

  • nausea

  • stomach pain

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • muscle pain or weakness

  • joint pain

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life-threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis)

  • severe muscle pain or weakness

  • muscle spasms

  • kidney failure

  • liver toxicity

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

  • severe anemia

  • symptoms associated with severe allergic reaction, such as fever and difficulty breathing

  • rash of any kind

  • extreme sensitivity to the sun

  • diarrhea

  • feeling weak or very tired

  • severe stomach pain

  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • blood in the stool or black stools

  • blood in the urine

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

  • severe swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Simvastatin does not cause drowsiness.

To reduce the likelihood of feeling side effects, take this drug exactly as prescribed at a regularly scheduled time each night.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

simvastatin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Simvastatin can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Food Interactions

Avoid grapefruit juice while taking simvastatin. Grapefruit juice can increase simvastatin levels in your body and increase the risk for side effects.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

CYP3A4 Inhibitors

These drugs block the breakdown of simvastatin. They can lead to very high levels of the drug in your body. They can also increase side effects, including severe muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis).

These drugs include:

  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole
  • voriconazole
  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin
  • telithromycin
  • cyclosporine
  • danazol
  • nefazodone
  • boceprevir
  • telaprevir
  • ritonavir
  • tipranavir
  • indinavir
  • fosamprenavir
  • darunavir
  • atazanavir
  • nelfinavir
  • cobicistat

People taking simvastatin should not drink grapefruit juice, which is also a CYP3A4 inhibitor.

Other Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

When used with simvastatin, some cholesterol drugs can increase side effects such as muscle weakness (myopathy) or rhabdomyolysis.

These drugs include:

  • gemfibrozil (Lopid)
  • fenofibrate (Tricor)

Calcium Channel Blockers & Other Drugs that Increase Risk for Myopathy or Rhabdomyolysis

Using simvastatin with these drugs can increase the risk of myopathy or rhabdomyolysis. Your doctor may discuss other medication options or lower your dose of simvastatin.

Calcium channel blockers include:

  • amlodipine (Norvasc)
  • diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Taztia, Tiazac)
  • verapamil

Other drugs that increase risk for myopathy or rhabdomyolysis include:

  • amiodarone
  • dronedarone
  • ranolazine

Lomitapide (Juxtapid)

Lomitapide is a drug used to lower cholesterol. Using it with simvastatin can cause large increases in simvastatin levels. If you use these two medications together, your doctor may lower your dose of simvastatin.

Digoxin

Digoxin is a drug used to treat heart failure and arrhythmias. Simvastatin can increase levels of digoxin in some people. If you’re taking both drugs, your doctor may want to more closely monitor your digoxin level.

Colchicine and Niacin

Colchicine is a drug used to treat gout. Niacin is sometimes used to lower cholesterol (either alone or in combination with other drugs). Combining simvastatin with colchicine or niacin can increase the risk of both myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. The risk with niacin is higher when taking larger doses and in people of Chinese descent.

Warfarin (Blood Thinners)

Simvastatin can increase the blood thinning effects of warfarin. This can lead to an increased risk of bleeding. Your doctor may want to more closely monitor your warfarin level if you’re taking these two drugs at the same time.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with low thyroid function (hypothyroid) or diabetes

Simvastatin and other statin drugs can sometimes cause severe muscle breakdown called rhabdomyolysis. Having hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) or diabetes raises your risk for this condition. Other risk factors include:

  • being elderly
  • being female
  • having kidney disease

Tell your doctor right away if you experience:

  • unexplained muscle weakness or tenderness
  • continuous muscle pain
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • dark-colored urine

People with liver disease

People with active liver disease, such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, shouldn’t use simvastatin.

People with a history of alcohol abuse

People with a history of alcohol abuse and risk of liver disease should also not take the drug. For these groups, simvastatin can increase the risk of serious liver injury.

Pregnant women

Simvastatin is a category X pregnancy drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy.

Simvastatin blocks the production of cholesterol, which is important for the developing baby.

If you’re pregnant and need treatment for high cholesterol or triglycerides, talk to your healthcare provider. They can discuss other treatment options during pregnancy.

Women who are nursing

It isn’t known if simvastatin enters the breast milk. But, because of the risk of severe side effects, it shouldn’t be used during breastfeeding.

Talk to your healthcare provider about other treatment options while breastfeeding.

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take simvastatin (Dosage)

Oral tablet

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

High cholesterol

Generic form

Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg



Brand: Zocor

Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Simvastatin is often started at 10 mg to 20 mg per day. However, the dose may range from 5 mg to 40 mg.
  • You can take it once a day in the evening.
  • The dose is gradually adjusted if needed.
Child Dosage (ages 0-9 years)

This medicine has not been studied in children below age 10 years.

Child Dosage (ages 10-17 years)

Doses above 40 mg per day have not been studied in this age group.

Special considerations

Kidney Disease: Having kidney disease may affect your dose. People with advanced kidney disease usually require a lower dose. Speak with your healthcare provider about your treatment with simvastatin if you have kidney disease.

Liver Disease: People with liver disease, such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, shouldn’t use simvastatin. Speak with your healthcare provider about your treatment with simvastatin if you have liver disease.

Reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with coronary heart disease (CHD) or risk of CHD

Generic form

Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg



Brand: Zocor

Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Simvastatin is often started at 10 mg to 20 mg per day. However, the dose may range from 5 mg to 40 mg.
  • You can take it once a day in the evening.
  • The dose is gradually adjusted if needed.
Child Dosage (ages 0-9 years)

This medicine has not been studied in children below age 10 years.

Child Dosage (ages 10-17 years)

Doses above 40 mg per day have not been studied in this age group.

Special considerations

Kidney Disease: Having kidney disease may affect your dose. People with advanced kidney disease usually require a lower dose. Speak with your healthcare provider about your treatment with simvastatin if you have kidney disease.

Liver Disease: People with liver disease, such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, shouldn’t use simvastatin. Speak with your healthcare provider about your treatment with simvastatin if you have liver disease.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Simvastatin comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If You Don’t Take It or Stop Taking It

If you have high cholesterol and don’t take your simvastatin, you risk:

  • having increased cholesterol levels
  • developing heart disease
  • having a heart attack or a stroke

If You Don’t Take It on Schedule

Not taking simvastatin every day, skipping days, or taking doses at different times of the day may also increase your risk for high cholesterol levels, heart attack, or stroke.

If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take the next dose as scheduled. Don’t double your dose.

How Can I Tell if the Drug is Working?

You can tell this drug is working if your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are within healthy levels while taking it.

You can take simvastatin with or without food

Taking it with food may reduce nausea.

Take simvastatin in the evening to maximize its effects

Cholesterol production in the body is highest at nighttime.

You may cut or crush the tablet

Though most simvastatin pills don’t have a score, you may cut or crush them. A score is an indented line down the middle of a tablet. Scoring helps pills to be cut in half evenly.

Storing simvastatin in the right conditions is important to its effectiveness

Store at 41 – 86°F (5 – 30°C). Keep the medication tightly closed and in a light-resistant container.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor will want to make sure that simvastatin isn't affecting your liver and kidneys. They may perform a baseline liver function test (an initial liver function test that is repeated in a few months).

They may also do additional liver and kidney function tests during treatment.

Sun Sensitivity

Though rare, simvastatin may increase risk of sunburn. Use these steps to avoid sunburn:

  • Avoid the sun if possible.
  • Keep skin covered with protective clothing/hat.

Use high SPF sunscreen (30 SPF or higher).

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

Options include:

  • atorvastatin
  • lovastatin
  • rosuvastatin
  • fluvastatin
  • pravastatin
  • pitavastatin

What does the pill look like?

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SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does simvastatin Cost?

Oral tablet
We've partnered with GoodRX so you can compare prices and save money on your next prescription. Check out the lowest cash prices below and enter your zip code to find the best deal near you.

Compare prices and save money on your next refill!

Lowest price for simvastatin

Kroger Pharmacy $5.73
Kmart $5.73
Target $5.73
These represent the lowest cash prices for simvastatin and may be lower than your insurance.

Find the lowest prices of simvastatin near you

These represent the lowest cash prices for simvastatin and may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with Stacey Boudreaux, PharmD

Medically reviewed by Susan J. Bliss, RPh, MBA and Alan Carter, PharmD on January 22, 2015

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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