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Simvastatin is a medication that is commonly prescribed to treat high cholesterol levels. It belongs to a group of medications known as statins. Simvastatin is also prescribed to prevent heart disease in some people.
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Prescriptions issued by European Doctors
- Simvastatin belongs to a family of medications called statins
- Simvastatin lowers the levels of cholesterol in the blood
- Simvastatin can be prescribed to treat high levels of cholesterol, or to reduce the risk of other related health complications such as heart attacks and strokes
- Simvastatin usually only needs to be taken once daily in the evening
- Simvastatin is sometimes known by its brand names Simvador and Zocor
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Simvastatin Work?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance. Simvastatin works by reducing the amount of cholesterol that is produced and retained within the body’s blood vessels.
Reducing the amount of cholesterol produced helps to prevent fatty deposits from building up in the walls of the arteries. This is important because having these deposits in the arteries increases the risk of the arteries becoming blocked. When arteries become blocked, it can result in a stroke, heart attack, or damage to another organ in the body such as the kidneys.
Simvastatin can therefore reduce the risk of high cholesterol, and help to prevent some of the associated health complications.
How is Simvastatin Taken?
Simvastatin is usually taken once a day. Most people take it in the evening. The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.
Simvastatin can be taken with or without food as the tablets are unlikely to make you feel sick. If you experience any nausea (feeling sick), it is advisable to take simvastatin with food to see if this helps.
Dosage of Simvastatin
Simvastatin is available in four different strength tablets, 10mg, 20mg, 40mg and 80mg.
Your dose will depend on how high your cholesterol level is, and how well you respond to initial treatment. The usual starting dose is 10 to 20mg daily in the evening.
Are there any Side Effects?
Like all medications, simvastatin can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Flatulence (excess wind)
- Feeling tired
- Tingling sensation or pins and needles
- Itchy rashes
- Thinning of the hair.
These side effects may settle down, but if they persist or become troublesome you should speak to your doctor for further advice.
In very rare cases, more serious side effects can occur. These include:
- Muscle pain and weakness – this could be a sign of muscle or kidney damage
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, with dark urine (pee) or pale stools (poo) – this could be a sign of liver problems
- Cough and breathlessness – this could be a sign of a lung problem
- Skin rashes on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
- Severe abdominal (tummy) pain – this could be a sign of a problem with the pancreas.
If any of the above occurs, you should speak to your doctor straight away.
Serious allergic reactions happen very rarely. If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip swelling or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.
Simvastatin may not be suitable for everyone. You should tell your prescriber if you:
- Have liver disease
- Have kidney disease
- Have lung disease
- Have a muscle disorder, including fibromyalgia
- Have a close family member who has a muscle disorder
- Regularly drink alcohol or have alcohol dependence
- Have thyroid disease
- Are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding
- Have ever had an allergic reaction to simvastatin or any other medication.
Your prescriber can then advise whether simvastatin is a suitable medication for you.
Some medications can interact with simvastatin. You may be advised that simvastatin will not suit you if you already take:
- Antimicrobial medications including antifungal treatment
- Medications to treat HIV or AIDS
- Fusidic acid
- Medications for high blood pressure or heart disease
- Other medications for high cholesterol including lomitapide.
When taking simvastatin, you should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice as this can make side effects more likely.
Because simvastatin may not suit everyone, we will complete a Consultation with you including a health questionnaire. This will ensure that the medication will be suitable for you.
A qualified prescriber will review your current medications, including any herbal remedies or supplements, to ensure that simvastatin will not interact with them.
Once prescribed, simvastatin will be ordered on your behalf via electronic prescription. Simvastatin will then be conveniently dispatched from one of our partner pharmacies.