Zocor (simvastatin) is a prescription drug that’s used to manage high cholesterol levels and lower the risk of cardiovascular problems. The drug comes as a tablet that you swallow. It’s usually taken once per day.
Zocor is used together with diet or other treatments to lower certain lipids (fats) in the blood in adults and some children.* It’s prescribed to:
- lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in people with the following inherited conditions:
- primary hyperlipidemia
- treat hypertriglyceridemia
- treat type 3 primary hyperlipoproteinemia
Zocor is also used to lower the risk of certain cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problems, such as heart attack and stroke. Zocor can also decrease the need for certain blood vessel procedures in the future.
Zocor belongs to a group of drugs called statins. Its active ingredient is simvastatin. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
This article describes the dosages of Zocor, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Zocor, see this in-depth article.
* Zocor is prescribed for children ages 10 years and older with an inherited form of high cholesterol called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
This section describes the usual dosages of Zocor. Keep reading to learn more.
What are Zocor’s forms?
Zocor is available as a tablet that you swallow.
What strengths does Zocor come in?
Zocor comes in three strengths: 10 milligrams (mg), 20 mg, and 40 mg.
What are the usual dosages of Zocor?
Your doctor will likely start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for high cholesterol
Your doctor will likely start you on a dosage of 20 mg once per day. Then they’ll repeat your cholesterol test after about 4 weeks to see how you’ve responded to the medication. If your level is still high, they may increase your dosage. The maximum dosage of Zocor is 40 mg once per day.
After any dosage adjustments, your doctor will follow up with another cholesterol test. If your cholesterol level remains high after taking the maximum dose for at least 4 weeks, your doctor will likely switch you to another medication.
Dosage to lower the risk of cardiovascular problems and death
Your doctor may recommend Zocor as a preventive treatment if you have certain risk factors for cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) problems. Examples of risk factors are diabetes and high blood pressure.
Your dosage will depend on individual factors such as your cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk factors. For example, if your cholesterol levels are within the recommended range, you may be started on a lower dose. Typical Zocor dosages range from 20–40 mg per day. The maximum recommended dosage is 40 mg per day.
What’s the dosage of Zocor for children?
Children ages 10 years and older may take Zocor to manage high cholesterol levels caused by heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
Your child’s doctor will likely prescribe 10 mg of Zocor when treatment begins. After 4 weeks, your child’s cholesterol level will be checked again, and the dosage of Zocor adjusted as needed.
The maximum dosage of Zocor for children is 40 mg once per day. Your child’s doctor will prescribe the lowest dosage that leads to the desired outcome.
For more information about Zocor’s dosage for children, talk with your child’s doctor.
Is Zocor used long term?
Yes, Zocor is usually used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.
In some cases, you may need a dosage adjustment for Zocor.
If you have severe kidney problems, your doctor will likely lower the starting dosage to 5 mg* per day. This is because Zocor takes longer to clear from your body if you have kidney disease. This can increase your risk of side effects.
Certain medications interact with Zocor and can increase your risk of certain side effects, including muscle pain and muscle damage. Your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage of Zocor for you if you’re taking any of the following drugs:
- lomitapide (Juxtapid)
- verapamil (Verelan)
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia XT, others)
- dronedarone (Multaq)
- amiodarone (Pacerone)
- amlodipine (Norvasc)
- ranolazine (Aspruzyo)
Talk with your doctor if you have questions about Zocor and any dosage adjustments.
* Zocor isn’t currently available in a 5-mg tablet. For this dosage, your doctor may prescribe the generic version of Zocor, simvastatin.
The dosage of Zocor you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you’re taking the drug to treat
- your age
- other medications you may be taking*
- other conditions you may have*
* See the “Dosage adjustments” section above.
Zocor is available as a tablet that you swallow. It’s typically taken once per day in the evening. You can take it with or without food. It’s preferable to swallow the tablet whole because it’s not known if it’s safe to cut, crush, or chew Zocor.
If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.
For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Zocor, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also find those details in this article.
Accessible drug containers and labels
Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:
- have large print
- use braille
- feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.
Let your pharmacist know if you have trouble opening medication bottles. They may have tips to help, or they may be able to supply Zocor in an easy-open container.
If you miss a dose of Zocor, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at its usual time. If you’re not sure whether you should take a missed dose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you need help remembering to take your dose of Zocor on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.
Do not take more Zocor than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to harmful effects.
What to do in case you take too much Zocor
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Zocor. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Zocor’s dosage.
Is there a best time of day to take my Zocor dose?
Yes. The manufacturer of Zocor suggests that you take Zocor in the evening. A 2017 research review found that taking certain statin drugs, including Zocor, in the evening was more effective at decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol than taking it in the morning.
If you have questions about the best time to take your medications, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Do older adults require lower dosages of Zocor?
Yes, it’s possible that older adults (ages 65 years and older) may benefit from a lower dosage of Zocor.
In studies of Zocor, older adults who took high dosages of Zocor experienced more muscle pain and muscle damage than adults under 65 years old who took the same dosage. It may be that Zocor builds up and lasts longer in the body in older adults.
To help reduce the risk of side effects, doctors will typically start older adults on a low dose of Zocor. And they’ll watch closely for side effects.
If you have questions about your dosage, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
How long does it take for Zocor to start working?
Zocor typically takes about 4 weeks to lower cholesterol levels. After this amount of time, your doctor will order blood tests to check your lipid panel and see how well the drug is working for you.
If you have other questions about what to expect from your Zocor treatment, talk with your doctor.
The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Zocor for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you should not change your dosage of Zocor without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Zocor exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- Does my dosage of Zocor depend on how high my cholesterol levels are?
- Will I need a lower dosage of Zocor if I’m taking another cholesterol lowering medication?
- Would taking a lower dosage of Zocor lower my risk of side effects?
To learn more about Zocor, see these articles:
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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 another 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.