Simvastatin - oral
Simvastatin - oral
Simvastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins." It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.
In addition to eating a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking. Consult your doctor for more details.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily in the evening. If you are using the tablet form of this medication, you may take this medication with or without food.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, take this medication on an empty stomach. Shake the bottle well for at least 20 seconds before each dose. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
The usual maximum dose for this medication is 40 milligrams a day. If you have been instructed by your doctor to take more than 40 milligrams, continue on that same dose. However, promptly talk with him or her about the risks and benefits of your higher dose.
Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and the risk of serious side effects may be increased.
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of this medication in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol or triglycerides do not feel sick.
It is very important to continue to follow your doctor's advice about diet and exercise. It may take up to 4 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
A very small number of people taking simvastatin may have mild memory problems or confusion. If these rare effects occur, talk to your doctor.
Rarely, statins may cause or worsen diabetes. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.
This drug may rarely cause muscle problems (which can rarely lead to very serious conditions called rhabdomyolysis and autoimmune myopathy). Females, older adults, and Chinese people may be at higher risk. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms during treatment and if these symptoms last after your doctor stops this drug:
This medication may rarely cause liver problems. If you notice any of the following rare but serious side effects, tell your doctor right away:
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
In the US -
Before taking simvastatin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
Limit alcoholic beverages. Daily use of alcohol may increase your risk for liver problems, especially when combined with simvastatin. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially muscle problems.
This medication must not be used during pregnancy. Simvastatin may harm an unborn baby. Therefore, it is important to prevent pregnancy while taking this medication. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) while taking this medication. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
See also How to Use section.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
Other medications can affect the removal of simvastatin from your body, which may affect how simvastatin works. Examples include certain azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole), boceprevir, cobicistat, colchicine, delavirdine, macrolide antibiotics (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin), nefazodone, HIV protease inhibitors (such as nelfinavir, ritonavir), telaprevir, telithromycin, among others.
Chinese people should not take niacin at doses used to lower cholesterol (1 gram or more) when taking this medication. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects (especially muscle problems). Talk with your doctor for details.
Do not take any red yeast rice products while you are taking simvastatin because some red yeast rice products may also contain a statin called lovastatin. Taking simvastatin and red yeast rice products together can increase your risk of serious muscle and liver problems.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood cholesterol/triglyceride levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Storage temperature ranges differ according to different manufacturers, so consult your pharmacist for more information. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Do not store in the bathroom. Discard the suspension form of this medication one month after opening the bottle, even if there is medication left. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Information last revised March 2019.
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