Simvastatin is a medicine used for the treatment of high cholesterol in those patients who have not responded well to just lifestyle changes such as healthier diet and more exercise. Similarly to many other high cholesterol medicines, Simvastatin is available in the tablet form in various dosages, so that the initial dose can be significantly lower than the one that will eventually be reached if needed.

What’s on this page?

Manufactured and marketed by Teva pharmaceutical company, Simvastatin is a generic version of the branded Zocor medicine. Based on the same active ingredient and working via the same mechanism of action, Simvastatin is bioequivalent to Zocor, meaning that aside from the manufacturer and the name, these two drugs are absolutely identical. Simvastatin can also be obtained in the form of an oral suspension fluid.

High cholesterol: A brief overview

Despite having a bad reputation, the fat that comprises cholesterol is actually a substance that the body needs in order to function normally. Produced by the liver, the lipids are merged with proteins into so-called lipoproteins which are then carried around the body through the bloodstream until they reach the cells needing them. Once they are delivered to the final destination, these fats are used by the cells for proper functioning and maintenance of their structure.

However, once these compounds are present in excessive amounts, low-density lipoproteins (or LDLs) will start accumulating in the arteries instead of being used up by the cells. In this way, the arteries will start narrowing and the narrower they get, the larger are the chances of experiencing a condition related to compromised blood pressure including a stroke, heart attack or angina.

What causes high cholesterol?

Medical experts largely agree that a significant percentage of people affected are genetically predisposed to this condition while others might develop high cholesterol because of an underlying medical problem such as diabetes. However, even those who might have a predisposition for developing the condition can live a perfectly healthy life provided they are careful about their potentially harmful lifestyle practices and habits. Likewise, even those who might not have genetic predispositions might get affected if they consume unhealthy diets rich in saturated fats, smoke, drink large amounts of alcohol or are physically inactive.

High cholesterol treatment and management

In some milder cases, the doctor might recommend introducing some changes to your daily routine in order to curb your harmful practices and habits. These may include reducing fat and alcohol intake or breaking your sedentary habits with some light exercise. However, if these measures fail to produce the desired results, or if the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels has reached a certain measurable limit, then prescription medicines will be recommended. Most commonly, they will belong to a type of pharmaceutical compounds called statins like, for example, Lipitor or Lipostat.

Simvastatin as a high cholesterol treatment

Simvastatin, as the name implies, also belongs to this category, just like, for example, Crestor or Lescol. It works by interfering with the process of cholesterol productions in the livers by inhibiting the activity of a specialized liver enzyme which is responsible for turning out cholesterol. With this mechanism of action, Simvastatin will reliably and efficiently lower the levels of cholesterol in the blood, thus also reducing the risk of associated serious cardiovascular illnesses and complications.

How is Simvastatin used?

At this point, we will provide you with a brief summary regarding the use of Simvastatin. Please note that what follows is not intended to be a complete guide – for comprehensive instructions, please refer to the official patient information leaflet that is issued within every pack of the medicine. In addition to this, your prescriber will give you all the information you will need in order to optimise the results of the treatment while minimising the risk of side effects at the same time.

  • Take Simvastatin exactly as directed
  • Monitor your cholesterol regularly while using this medicine
  • Depending on the severity of your condition and effectiveness of the course, your doctor might adjust the dose after a certain period of use
  • Maximum dosage is 40mg of active ingredient per day
  • It is important to adhere to diet and exercise plan specified by your doctor while using this medicine
  • Never exceed the prescribed amount
  • If you forget to take a tablet, just ignore it and continue with the treatment as usual

Simvastatin tablets

  • In most cases, the doctor will recommend either 10mg or 20mg dosage
  • Simvastatin tablets are taken once daily, ideally in the evening

Simvastatin oral suspension

  • The recommended daily amount will be somewhere between 5g and 40g per day
  • Unlike tablets, Simvastatin administration should be split into several applications
  • The exact number of daily doses will depend on the concentration of the suspension

What are Simvastatin side effects?

As is the case with all prescription medicines, Simvastatin also comes with certain side effects, but these will not affect everybody using this medicine. However, it is still important to get familiar with them prior to commencing treatment so you can easily differentiate between those potentially dangerous side effects and those which are rather uncomfortable, but benign.

If you notice any sign of symptoms indicative of an allergic reaction, prolonged muscular pain, inflammation of the liver or pancreatitis, you should immediately contact emergency services and get instant medical attention.

Other side effects, documented in 1 in 1000 users of Simvastatin include:

  • Anemia
  • Numbness or weakness in the limbs
  • Headache
  • Tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Indigestion
  • General malaise
  • Rash
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss

Simvastatin contraindications: Is Simvastatin safe for me?

All medicines belonging to the statin group of pharmaceutical compounds are considered to be moderately safe. However, there are certain situations when their use might be contraindicated.

For example, Simvastatin can adversely interact with numerous other medicines, including:

  • Ciclosporin
  • Antifungal tablet medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • HIV-medicines
  • Anticoagulants
  • Amlodipine
  • Nefazodone
  • Other statins

In addition to this, Simvastatin use is contraindicated in people affected by the following medical conditions:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Dysfunction of the thyroid gland
  • Muscle problems caused by the use of other medication
  • Alcoholism

Finally, Simvastatin is not recommended for women who are currently pregnant, are trying to become pregnant or are currently breastfeeding. People of Asian descent and those older than 65 can use this medicine but will need to take certain precautions.