Zocor is a high cholesterol treatment available in the form of a tablet. This branded medicine is developed and marketed by Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) pharmaceutical company and is commonly prescribed for high cholesterol treatment in the United Kingdom. Supplied in a variety of dosages, Zocor is suitable for varying degrees of severity of the condition and can also be used in moderate dosages for people who might be more susceptible to side effects than others.

What’s on this page?

With just one tablet per day, Zocor will efficiently act on the specialised liver enzyme that is tasked with cholesterol production, limiting its activity and thus lowering the levels of cholesterol in the organism.

High cholesterol: Condition summary

High cholesterol is a condition that doesn’t produce any immediately noticeable symptoms and if one doesn’t get tested, the condition can remain ‘under the radar’ for prolonged periods of time. However, when left untreated, high cholesterol can cause some rather serious and sometimes even potentially life-threatening complications and medical conditions.

This condition is marked by excessive presence of certain types of fat (low density lipoproteins or LDLs for short) in the blood vessels and is directly linked to complications such as blood flow restriction, heart attack, angina and stroke. While certain types of food do contain this compound which can then be absorbed in the small intestine, a majority of cholesterol in the body is produced by the liver.

It is worth mentioning that contrary to the popular belief, cholesterol isn’t bad in itself in any way – on the contrary, this compound plays a vital role in the maintenance of healthy and stable cellular structure. In fact, this is the exact reason why liver produces this type of fats – once they merge with proteins to make lipoproteins, they are released and travel through the bloodstream until reaching the cells that need them for their proper functioning. However, if the concentration of LDLs in the blood is too high, the cells won’t have time to use the compound in total and it will start to accumulate in the arteries, contributing to their narrowing down and eventually leading to restriction blood flow and atherosclerosis.

What causes high cholesterol?

High cholesterol is partially a hereditary condition. What this means is that a family history of high cholesterol is an indicator that you are at risk at developing the condition. However, the medical experts agree that other factors play a much more prominent role. This means that an individual with predispositions to high cholesterol and a healthy lifestyle has less chances of actually developing the condition as opposed to an individual who doesn’t have any predispositions but leads an unhealthy life. The most detrimental practices have been identified as:

  • Lack of physical activity and exercise
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Diet rich in saturated fats

Because of this, once the condition has been confirmed through medical tests, the doctor will recommend making certain lifestyle changes to address these harmful practices and habits. In most cases, a medical expert will help you with developing a custom programme involving special diet and exercise routine aimed at helping you reduce cholesterol levels.

Zocor in high cholesterol treatment

In those cases where the accumulation of LDLs in the blood vessels has already advanced to a certain point, prescription medicines will be issued to be used in parallel to exercise and diet programme. Most commonly prescribed class of medicines is of course statins. Zocor belongs to this class thanks to its active ingredient simvastatin. This compound works by directly interfering with the cholesterol production in the liver. Other drugs belonging to this category include Crestor, Lipostat, Fluvastatin or Pravastatin

More specifically, it inhibits the activity of a specialised liver enzyme called HMG-CoA which is tasked with conversions resulting in cholesterol production. By reducing the activity of this enzyme, Zocor will contribute to the lowering of cholesterol levels in the body, thus reducing the risk of further complications.

How is Zocor used?

At this point, we would like to present you with central points regarding the use of Zocor. However, you should keep in mind that the following text is not intended to be used a guide, but just as an illustration that will help you get a better idea of what Zocor treatment might involve.

  • Use exactly as instructed by your doctor
  • The usual starting dose is either 10mg or 20mg, once per day
  • It is recommended to take the medicine at roughly the same time each day
  • Take the tablet whole with a glass of water
  • Monitor your cholesterol level regularly during the treatment
  • Following the initial period of four weeks, the doctor may decide to increase your dose
  • The maximum daily dose is 80mg
  • Never exceed the dose prescribed
  • If you miss a dose, just skip it and continue with your treatment as usual

What are Zocor side effects?

While side effects will not manifest in everybody using this medicine, it is still important to learn as much as you can about them so in case something does go wrong, you can easily differentiate between potentially dangerous side effects that might need immediate medical attention and those which are unpleasant, but largely harmless.

You should immediately contact the emergency services if you notice any of the following:

  • Pain or tenderness in the muscles
  • Pronounced weakness
  • Allergic reaction
  • Inflammation of the joints
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels
  • Jaundice
  • Hepatitis
  • Pancreatitis

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

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

Zocor contraindications: Is Zocor 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, Zocor can adversely interact with numerous other medicines, including:

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

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

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

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