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Feb 1, 2023


Heart Health

Simvastatin (Zocor)

What is Simvastatin?

Simvastatin (Zocor) is a statin used to treat high cholesterol. Simvastatin is approved for adults and children older than 10 years.

Simvastatin vs Atorvastatin

Both simvastatin (Zocor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) statins are used to treat high cholesterol.

The primary distinction between these medications is their dosage forms. Atorvastatin is available in 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, as well as 80 mg, and the standard starting dose is typically either 10-20 mg once daily or 40 mg taken once daily.

Simvastatin is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, as well as 80 mg, and the standard starting dose is 40 mg taken once daily.

Lastly, atorvastatin can be taken at any time during the day, while simvastatin is generally taken in the evening.

Read more about Atorvastatin

How does Simvastatin work?

Your liver makes cholesterol using the enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. By blocking this enzyme simvastatin reduces cholesterol synthesis and lowers your cholesterol levels. For this reason statins are called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Simvastatin lowers levels of bad cholesterol (LDL: low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and triglycerides, one of the most common types of fat from the food you eat.

Simvastatin can also improve your blood levels of good cholesterol (HDL: high-density lipoprotein cholesterol).

In short, simvastatin works by minimizing the level of cholesterol produced by your liver.

Watch our YouTube video on Simvastatin

What is Simvastatin used for?

Simvastatin is used in conjunction with proper diet, weight loss, and exercising to lower your chance of developing a heart attack and/or stroke. It's also used to lower the likelihood of heart surgery if you have preexisting heart disease or are at risk for acquiring it.

The conditions simvastatin used for are:

  • Dyslipidemia—an abnormal balance between good and bad cholesterol levels
  • Hypercholesterolemia—high cholesterol levels in your blood
  • Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)—a medical condition that develops when your body has trouble eliminating LDL from your blood, resulting in an increased risk of developing a heart attack at a young age.
  • Primary and secondary Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD)
    • ASCVD is caused by the development of cholesterol plaque (build-up) in your arteries.

How is Simvastatin administered?

Simvastatin can be taken with or without food at bedtime or with an evening meal.

It’s available in suspension and tablet form in dosages ranging from 5 mg to 80 mg, including the following:

  • Moderate-intensity: 20-40 mg daily
    Can reduce LDL by approximately 30%–49%
  • Low-intensity: 10 mg daily
    Can reduce LDL by no more than 30%

Simvastatin oral suspension is generally taken once daily in the evening on an empty stomach and should be shaken for approximately 20 seconds before each use.

Your physician could prescribe you a low dose of simvastatin to begin and then progressively increase it up to once every 4 weeks.

Simvastatin should still be taken even if you're feeling better. Without consulting your physician, do not discontinue taking simvastatin.

What are the side effects of Simvastatin?

Although simvastatin is safe and effective for many individuals, it does cause an extensive amount of adverse effects, including the following:

  • Myopathy (skeletal muscle disorder causing muscle spasms, muscle stiffness and muscle weakness)
  • Myalgias (muscle pain and/or soreness)
  • Arthralgia (joint pain)
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Headache
  • Cold-like symptoms, including sore throat, stuffy nose, and/or sneezing
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation

Do not abruptly discontinue taking this medication if you believe you are encountering any negative side effects. Consult your doctor to determine whether a dose adjustment or switching to a different drug could be beneficial in your case.

Serious side effects
  • Difficulty raising your arms and/or difficulty rising or standing
  • Muscle aches in your hips, shoulders, neck, and back
  • Hepatic (liver) issues, such as upper abdominal pain, weakness, fatigue, decreased appetite, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Kidney issues, such as little to no urination, ankle or foot swelling, fatigue, or shortness of breath.

If you’re experiencing any of the serious side effects listed above, immediately call your doctor and stop taking this medication.

Learn more about Statin Intolerance

Can Simvastatin interact with anything?

Your physician must be aware of any additional medications you are taking because some of them might significantly raise your chance of developing serious muscle issues.

Inform your physician of all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Fluconazole
  • Fenofibrate
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Amiodarone
  • Medications used to treat HIV/AIDS, including atazanavir or indinavir

What should I avoid while taking this medication?

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should not be used with this medication since there may be an interaction that results in undesirable side effects.

Avoid consuming food that’s rich in cholesterol or fat. If you don't adhere to a diet that lowers cholesterol, simvastatin won't be as successful in lowering your cholesterol.

Avoid taking simvastatin with alcohol. You may be at an increased risk of liver damage and your triglyceride levels may rise as a result.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Simvastatin should be taken at roughly the same time every day so you don’t forget to take it.

However, if you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it's almost time for your next dose. In this case, skip the forgotten dose and take the next one at the usual time. Do not take 2 doses together to make up for a missed dose.


Speak With Your Doctor

Simvastatin is relatively considered a safe and effective medication when taken appropriately (as prescribed by your doctor). Talk to your doctor today about using Simvastatin and send your prescription to Marley Drug. Save up to 95% compared to your local pharmacy by using Marley Drug.

Marley Drug provides free nationwide shipping, allowing you to receive your medication at no additional cost straight to your door.

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