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Updated 11 February 2013

Simvastatin

Simvastatin is indicated for the lowering of blood cholesterol in patients for whom diet, exercise and weight loss have proven ineffective in reducing high levels of blood glucose.

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Simvastatin is the active ingredient of Adco-Simvastatin, Arrow Simvastatin, Aspen Simvastatin, Austell-Simvastatin, Cipla-Simvastatin, Lipidex, Merck-Simvastatin, Simayla-Simvastatin, Simcard, Simvacor, Simvotin and Zocor.

General information

Simvastatin is indicated for the lowering of blood cholesterol in patients for whom diet, exercise and weight loss have proven ineffective in reducing high levels of blood cholesterol.

Your doctor may prescribe this drug to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease or having a stroke when you are considered to be at risk.

Simvastatin is not a cure for high cholesterol, but keeps it under control. For this medication to be effective it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect. The full benefit will only be seen after 4-6 weeks, and time should be allowed for simvastatin to reach its full effect.

Unwanted side effects may include muscle pain, inflammation and muscle damage, which are typical with statin cholesterol-lowering drugs. Should you experience any of these, you should contact your doctor.

How does simvastatin work?

Simvastatin works by blocking an enzyme in the liver required for the manufacture of cholesterol. As an indirect result, the level of bad cholesterol - LDL - is lowered. The level of HDL - the good cholesterol - is elevated.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Tablets

What does it do? Simvastatin lowers high cholesterol

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 3 weeks.

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours.

Dietary advice: A healthy, low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fibre diet is advised for optimal results

Stopping: Simvastatin should not be stopped suddenly without consulting your doctor. Once discontinued, blood cholesterol may return to its original elevated level.

Prolonged use: Long-term use can affect liver function. Muscle function may also be affected. Your doctor may perform periodic tests to keep an eye on these risk-factors.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a liver or kidney disease,
  • you have a disease affecting your muscles,
  • you have a thyroid disorder,
  • you high blood pressure or angina,
  • you have porphyria,
  • you are consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, or
  • you are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children. It should only be prescribed by a paediatrician.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: Avoid excessive alcohol use as it may increase the risk of liver-related complications.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Nausea

x

x

Headache

x

x

Constipation

x

x

Diarrhoea

x

x

Dizziness/ light-headedness

x

x

Fever

x

x

Chest pain

x

x

Unexplained muscle pain/ weakness

x

x

Skin rash

x

x

Jaundice

x

x

Impotence

x

x

Insomnia

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Clarithromycin and erythromycin antibiotics

Increased risk of muscle damage

Antifungal drugs

Increased risk of muscle damage

Digoxin

Increased risk of digoxin toxicity

Other cholesterol-lowering drugs

Increased risk of muscle damage

Warfarin

Increased risk of warfarin toxicity

Ciclosporin and other immunosuppressive drugs

Increased risk of muscle damage

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a liver or kidney disease, or if you have a disease affecting your muscles.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 10-80mg/day.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
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