Simvastatin is known as a cholesterol-lowering drug. In the Philippines, it is the widely used anti-cholinesterase and the most recommended by most doctors. Here are facts about simvastatin Â– its uses, side-effects and safety.
Simvastatin was popularly recognized as Zocor. Nowadays, with the rise of numerous cheaper brands and generic equivalent competitors, most people understood simvastatin simply as cholesterol–lowering drug.
Simvastatin is an antihyperlipidaemic agent. As a statin or HMG CoA reductase inhibitor, simvastatin reduces the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or the bad cholesterol. It also decreases the triglycerides in the blood while increasing the HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or the good cholesterol.
The following are more facts about simvastatin- its uses, side-effects and safety.
High cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood can be reduced through necessary diet and exercise. However, when these non-pharmacological measures do not work, medical experts prescribe statins like simvastatin to prevent the incidence of uncontrollable hypertension, coronary heart disease and stroke. Simvastatin is also indicated for familial hypercholesterolemia – a genetic disorder of high LDL (bad cholesterol) that is passed down through families.
Simvastatin is given at night before bedtime. Depending on the blood cholesterol level, simvastatin can be prescribed from 5mg to 10mg initially. The dose adjustment can be increased after a month if treatment is not acquired. Maximum dosing of simvastatin is 80mg.
Some brand names and availability:
Afordel (Merck) 20mg and 40mg tablet
Orovas (Pharma Nutria) 20mg and 40mg tablet
Simvahex (Hexal) 10mg, 20mg and 40mg tablet
Zave (Pharmatrix corp) 10mg, 20mg and 40mg tablet
Zocor (Merck sharp and Dohme) 10mg, 20mg, 40mg and 80mg
- Simvastatin common side-effects
Like any medication, untoward reactions can be expected from simvastatin. Common side-effects includes fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, stomach pain, constipation, rashes, insomnia and cold symptoms as stuffy nose and sore throat.
Simvastatin is contraindicated with individuals who have liver problems and with those who are allergic to its active constituent or excipients. There are reports on congenital malformations because of exposure to HMG- CoA reductase inhibitors therefore simvastatin is not advised for pregnant women. Since, simvastatin may have a potential adverse effect on infants and it is also excreted in breast milk, treatment with simvastatin while breastfeeding is also not recommended.
Simvastatin is not indicated for children under ten years old.
Itraconazole ketoconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, HIV protease inhibitors, cyclosporine or nefazodone, fibrates (except fenofibrate), niacin, amiodarone, verapamil, diltiazem with simvastatin can increase the risk of myopathy.
Warfarin or acenocoumarol with simvastatin can cause bleeding complications.
Simvastatin and myopathy:
Just recently, the FDA recommended an additional info for Zocor label, citing new restrictions, contraindications and dose limitations. Since, Zocor is a brand of simvastatin; the warning also applies to all simvastatin equivalents and simvastatin containing drugs as Vytorin (simvastatin + ezetimibe) and Simcor (simvastatin + niacin).
Simvastatin as a HMG- CoA reductase inhibitor occasionally causes myopathy - a degenerative skeletal muscle disease, manifested by muscle pain or weakness associated by high CPK (creatinine phosphokiase).
Rhabdomyolysis is the serious form of myopathy. Rhabdomyolysis can be a rare case but this form can be very fatal. Rhabdomyolysis can injure the kidneys that can lead to its malfunction.
Although, the risk of myopathy is usually observed with medicine interactions, the strength of simvastatin is now regarded. Simvastatin with the 80mg dose has higher incidence of myopathy. This potency should not be indicated for individuals new to simvastatin treatment or for those who are already using lesser strength of simvastatin. However, Simvastatin 80 mg can be continued with patients who have been taking it for 12 months or more, without the evidence of muscle injury.
Simvastatin 80 is normally used for patients with severe hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease not corrected with the 40mg strength.
© Phoenix Montoya @ June 28, 2011
PPDr 5th edition
Simvastatin (Simvas) drug insert
Image thumb source
More articles by this author: