Simvastatin

Written by Rachel Nall | Published on November 11, 2013
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on November 11, 2013

What Is Simvastatin?

Brand Name: Zocor, as well as combination drugs, such as Juvisync, Simcor, and Vytorin
Generic Name: simvastatin

Simvastatin is a medication that physicians prescribe to reduce the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides circulating in the body. High cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack (MedlinePlus, 2013). The medication belongs to the drug class known as statins or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Read the FDA description of simvastatin.

What Does Simvastatin Do?

The body naturally produces cholesterol, and cholesterol is present in foods such as red meat with visible fat on it. When a person takes statins, the medication works to reduce the body’s cholesterol production. A physician typically recommends taking simvastatin along with making lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise (MedlinePlus, 2013).

This information is a summary. Before starting this medication, discuss questions with your healthcare provider and make sure you understand dosage instructions.

What Should I Tell My Doctor Before Starting Simvastatin?

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are breastfeeding
  • are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant
  • have liver disease
  • have diabetes
  • drink more than two drinks per day
  • have hypothyroidism
  • have kidney disease
  • have low blood pressure

Patients who are Chinese or who are of Chinese descent are at increased risk for adverse muscle effects known as myopathies when taking simvastatin plus niacin (FDA, 2011).

What Medications May Interact with Simvastatin?

Always tell your physician about any prescription medications or herbal remedies you are taking.

Medications that can adversely interact with simvastatin include: 

  • amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • amlodipine (Norvasc)
  • anticoagulants (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • antifungal medications, such as itraconazole (Sporanox), ketocanozole (Nizoral), and posaconazole (Noxafil)
  • boceprevir (Victrelis)
  • colchicine (Colcrys)
  • digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxin)
  • gemfibrozil (Lopid)
  • HIV protease inhibitors, including atazanavir (Reyataz), darunavir (Prezista), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), lopinavir (found in Kaletra), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir, found in Kaletra), saquinavir (Invirase), and tipranavir (Aptivus)
  • niacin (nicotinic acid, Niacor, Niaspan)
  • ranolazine (Ranexa)
  • verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)
  • voriconazole (Vfend)

Always tell your dentist if you are taking simvastatin. Grapefruit juice consumed in more than one quart per day can adversely affect simvastatin’s effectiveness.

Possible Side Effects of Simvastatin

The following are severe and emergent side effects of these medications. Contact your medical provider immediately if you experience the following:

  • symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a serious problem that causes skeletal muscles to break down; these symptoms include diarrhea, fever, dark-colored urine, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, muscle pain, and feeling very tired or week (rhabdomyolysis is a risk when simvastatin is taken in high dosages, such as around 80 mg)
  • symptoms of liver damage, due to increases in liver enzymes; these symptoms include fatigue, appetite loss, dark urine, jaundice, and stomach discomfort in the right upper quadrant

The following side effects may occur but do not usually represent an emergency. Discuss with your doctor or healthcare professional if they continue or are bothersome.

  • bladder pain
  • blurred vision
  • body aches
  • constipation
  • headache
  • nausea
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • stomach pain
  • upper respiratory infection
  • vomiting

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor or healthcare provider for advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where Should I Keep Simvastatin?

Simvastatin should be stored at room temperature—somewhere around 41 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius. Keep the medication tightly closed.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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Article Sources:

●      Simvastatin. (2012, December 1). Mayo Clinic.com. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR601991/METHOD=print
●      Simvastatin. (2013, May 15). MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a692030.html
●      Simvastatin. (October 2011). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/019766s083lbl.pdf

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