Heart disease is, in part, caused by a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. The bad cholesterol, or LDL, that your body produces, based on your diet, creates the plaque and leads to heart disease.
Statins are medications that treat the root cause of heart disease by blocking the formation of cholesterol. These drugs are called enzyme blockers, and they help control your blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
There are two statins that we want to compare here, so you can be aware of what sets them apart and ask intelligent questions of your doctor when he prescribes one or the other to you.
If you were just to compare the prices of the generic forms of the drugs Atorvastatin and Simvastatin, you would find that Atorvastatin is a bit more expensive. But when it comes to name brand versions (Zocor and Lipitor), the Simvastatin is the more expensive one. So the difference in price is really going to come down to which version of each drug you would be getting.
Their interactions are more or less the same. They both interact with a variety of different drugs. You’ll have to talk to your doctor about what you are currently taking to see if what he prescribes will be okay to use with it.
You also need to keep in mind that both of these drugs interact poorly with grapefruit juice. If you consume this particular juice while taking one of these drugs, your blood pressure can increase dramatically, particularly if you drink more than a quart a day of grapefruit juice.
Simvastatin is the less effective of the two. It’s a bit milder, but it can still reduce your LDL (bad cholesterol) by 30-50 percent. That can certainly make a difference, and it can become more effective with continued use.
Atorvastatin is even more effective, though. It has the potential to reduce your LDL levels by more than 50 percent. Of course, the effectiveness of each of these drugs will vary by individual and will depend on several factors. To make them even more effective, you can exercise regularly and eat a healthy, low-cholesterol diet.
The side effects are very similar between these two. They each have their own set, and choosing one drug over the other may come down to which side effects you find more tolerable. Now, there is no guarantee that you will experience any of these side effects or that you will suffer any of them severely. But you could also have a bad reaction to one of them and experience the more extreme versions of these side effects.
At any rate, Simvastatin is more likely to cause muscle pain and fatigue. You may feel tired and lacking energy constantly while on the drug.
With Atorvastatin, you are much more likely to experience diarrhea and an upset stomach. Also, if you have suffered from a stroke or TIA recently (in the last six months), then you will be at greater risk for another stroke when you take elevated doses of this drug.
Both drugs have the potential to increase blood sugar and cause you to develop diabetes. These are all risks you doctor will talk to you about, but it may help to be aware of them beforehand.
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