Simvastatin is a drug indicated for the treatment of high cholesterol, in those who have been unable to lower levels through diet and exercise alone. It is available in varying dosages, and a course is most typically initiated on a lower strength of 10 or 20mg. This is taken as one tablet, once a day. Simvastatin is made by Teva, and is the generic version of the product otherwise known as Zocor. It contains the same active ingredient, and behaves in the same way in the body; to reduce cholesterol. The drug is also available as an oral suspension fluid.
- Adept at combatting high cholesterol
- Simple to take tablet or oral suspension fluid
- Different doses available
What a large number of people are unaware of is that cholesterol, even though it is a fat, is a substance which the body requires to function normally. The main processor of cholesterol in the body is the liver, where it is taken up by proteins to form ‘lipoproteins’, before being carried around via the bloodstream. Once delivered to their destination, these fats play an important part in the formation of healthy cell structures.
However, it is an abundant presence of one form of these lipoproteins (low density, or LDLs) which causes problems. In large numbers, LDLs can swamp the arteries and gather there, causing them to become narrow. The less room there is for blood to get through the arteries, the more likely it is that illnesses related to poor circulation, such as stroke, angina or heart attack, will occur.
Some people may be genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, and others may experience it as a consequence of another illness, such as diabetes. But lifestyle factors can be a major contributor too. People who consume a lot of saturates in their diet, smoke, drink large amounts of alcohol on a frequent basis, or are physically inactive, are much more likely to get high cholesterol.
In those instances where taking the appropriate measures to rectify these causes (such as reducing fat and alcohol intake, or introducing a programme of light exercise) has not produced results, medication may be suggested by a doctor. This is more typically prescribed in the form of a statin.
What statins do is interfere with the processes in the liver which produce cholesterol. In the case of Simvastatin, an active ingredient of the same name does this by inhibiting the workings of an enzyme in the liver, which is responsible for turning out cholesterol. By inhibiting this function, the levels of cholesterol in the body become lowered, thereby offsetting the risk of associated serious illnesses.
We do not provide this medicine through our site. To renew your prescription for this treatment, we recommend you contact your GP.
You should always make sure you know how to apply your treatment before doing so. Read the accompanying instructions prior to use, and adhere to the directions provided by your prescriber.
- Take your medication as directed.
- You will need to have your cholesterol monitored regularly while using this product.
For the tablet:
- A typical beginning dose will be one 10mg or one 20mg tablet, taken once a day.
- Try to take this at the same time each day. The manufacturer recommends you do so in the evening.
For the oral suspension:
- The daily amount will be between 5 and 40g per day. This will be separated into several applications, depending on the concentration you use.
For both versions:
- Depending on the effectiveness of the course, your doctor may choose to adjust it after a period of use. The maximum dose is 40mg per day.
- Persons using this treatment should continue to follow the cholesterol-lowering diet or exercise plan as specified by their doctor.
- Never take more than the amount prescribed for you.
- If you forget to take your pill, do not make up for your missed dose by doubling up on your next one. Simply continue to take it at the normal time.
The above constitutes only a summary of the directions you will need to follow when using this drug. Consult those provided in the leaflet prior to use, and if you are still unsure about anything, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
The side effects associated with this item will not affect all users, however it is still important to be aware of the nature of these, as some may require immediate attention from a healthcare professional.
Tell your doctor right away if you notice anything which might constitute: an allergic reaction; muscular pain, tenderness or weakness; inflammation of the liver (itching, yellow eyes); or pancreatitis. More details on what these signs may look like can be located in the patient information leaflet.
Rare (1 in 1,000 people or less):
Anaemia, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, headache, tingling, dizziness, indigestion, feeling or being sick, rash, hair loss, insomnia or memory loss.
This is not a complete list of associated side effects. Refer to the accompanying leaflet for more information.
Taking it with other medicines
Your prescriber needs to be informed if you are using any other treatments during consultation, as these may interact with Simvastatin and render it less effective, or vice versa.
It may not be suitable for use in conjunction with: ciclosporin; antifungals such as itraconazole; fibrates such as gemfibrozil; danazol; antibiotics such as erythromycin; drugs for HIV infections, for instance indinavir, nelfinavir or ritonavir, or tuberculosis, including rifampicin; colchicine; anticoagulants; niacin; verapamil, diltiazem, or amlodipine; or nefazodone.
Conditions to look out for
Do not use Simvastatin if you have active liver disease. It should also not be taken by anyone using more than one of the above described treatments at the same time.
Let your doctor know if you have or have ever had any of the following conditions, as they may inhibit your ability to use this drug, or require you to apply it with special care: liver, kidney or thyroid problems; muscle problems which have been either caused by the use of another medication, or inherited.
You may also need to take special precautions if you are of Asian descent, drink large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, or are 65 or over.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Do not take Simvastatin and speak to your doctor for advice if you are pregnant, if you become pregnant, if you are trying to conceive or if you are breastfeeding.
Driving and using machinery
Dizziness is a possible side effect of this medication. If you are affected by this, do not drive or use machinery and ask your doctor for advice.
Food, drink and alcohol
Do not eat or drink grapefruit products when taking Simvastatin.
If you have any intolerances to sugar, let your prescriber know. Simvastatin contains lactose.
Can I still drink alcohol?
It is not recommended that you drink large amounts of alcohol while taking this item, as it may interfere with its function.
Grapefruit juice is also detrimental to the efficacy of this product, and the consumption of it should be avoided during use.
Will I still be able to drive?
Yes. It should not inhibit your ability to drive. But, if you notice anything which may impede your capacity to drive, you should not do so and get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible.
Can I take the medicine while pregnant?
It is not suitable for anyone who is pregnant. It should also not be used by those mothers who are breastfeeding.
How should I store it?
Keep it in a safe environment, below 25°C, and out of the reach of children.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
Simvastatin consists of the following ingredients: simvastatin, lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinised maize starch, magnesium stearate, butylhydroxyanisole (E320), ascorbic acid, citric acid monohydrate, hypromellose, titanium dioxide, macrogol 3350, triacetin (E1518), red iron oxide, yellow iron oxide and black iron oxide. If you are allergic to any of these substances, do not take it.
Is it available over-the-counter?
As it is a prescription-only drug, you can only buy Simvastatin online after first consulting with a doctor.
Is it right for me?
Treatment for high cholesterol needs to be initiated by your GP or consultant. They will discuss viable medication options with you during your regular review.
We do not provide this treatment on our site. See your GP if you are looking to renew your prescription for this item.
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