What is simvastatin?
Simvastatin is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." Simvastatin reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
Simvastatin is used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat) in the blood.
Simvastatin is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart complications in people with diabetes, coronary heart disease, or other risk factors
Simvastatin is used in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.
Simvastatin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about simvastatin?
In rare cases, simvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.
Never take simvastatin in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully. Taking too much of this medication may cause serious or life-threatening side effects.
There are many other drugs that should not be used together with simvastatin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.
Before taking simvastatin, tell your doctor if you have ever had liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder, if you are of Chinese descent, or if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
Simvastatin can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with simvastatin and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Do not drink more than 1 quart of grapefruit juice daily.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking simvastatin?
You should not take simvastatin if you are allergic to it, if you have liver disease, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
In rare cases, simvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). You may also be more likely to develop this condition if you are of Chinese descent and you take high-dose simvastatin while also taking medication that contains niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others).
The following drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems if you take them together with simvastatin. These drugs should not be used while you are taking simvastatin:
cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
nefazodone (an antidepressant);
the antibiotics clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole), and telithromycin (Ketek);
the antifungal medications itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and posaconazole (Noxafil);
hepatitis C medications such as boceprevir (Victrelis) or telaprevir (Incivek); or
the HIV/AIDS medications atazanavir (Reyataz), darunavir (Prezista), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Kaletra, Norvir), saquinavir (Fortovase), or tipranavir (Aptivus).
Before you start taking simvastatin, tell your doctor if you are already using any of these other medicines:
amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);
diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Dilacor, Diltia, Diltzac, Taztia, Tiazac);
amlodipine (Norvasc, Caduet, Exforge, Lotrel, Tekamlo, Tribenzor, Twynsta, Amturnide);
ranolazine (Ranexa); or
verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan).
To make sure you can safely take simvastatin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
history of liver disease;
history of kidney disease;
a thyroid disorder; or
if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take simvastatin if you are pregnant.Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking simvastatin.
Simvastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking simvastatin.