Simvastatin is a type of statin, a group of lipid-regulating medicines used to lower cholesterol in patients at high risk of developing heart disease. It is used in combination with a healthy lifestyle and diet to reduce the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood and raise the level of ‘good’ cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a substance produced by the liver that plays an important role in the functioning of all cells in the body. Having a high level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or ‘good’ cholesterol, in the blood is good for you, but a high level of low-density lipoprotein, ‘bad’ cholesterol, can build up the arteries and cause a blockage, creating a high risk of heart attack or stroke. The best way of lowering levels of LDL in the blood is to maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fats and to exercise regularly. Alongside these measures, Simvastatin helps to reduce the amount of LDL produced by the liver and is prescribed to people at high risk of heart disease.
Statins such as Simvastatin are usually taken for life, as the benefits will wear off once treatment ends. For this reason, they are usually only prescribed to patients at high risk of developing heart disease, such as those with a history of stroke or heart attack. The benefits of statins increase over time, and coming off them suddenly can be dangerous. Never stop taking statins without first consulting a doctor.
The active ingredient in Simvastatin in simvastatin.
The inactive ingredients in Simvastatin are lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, ascorbic acid, citric acid monohydrate, butylated hydroxyanisole (E320), talc, magnesium stearate, polydextrose, hypromellose, titanium dioxide (E171), triacetin and macrogol.
Simvastatin 10 mg and 40 mg tablets also contain iron oxide red (E172) and the 80 mg tablets contain allura red AC lake (E129).
Please Note: Different manufacturers of generic Simvastatin could use different inactive ingredients in their drugs that those listed here.
Always take Simvastatin as instructed by a doctor. The usual dose is between 10 and 40 mg taken once daily, although patients with very high levels of cholesterol may be prescribed a daily dose of 80 mg. Swallow each tablet whole with a small glass of water at the same time each day.
It is best to take Simvastatin in the evening.
Simvastatin should not be crushed or split, but should be swallowed whole with a small glass of water.
If you forget to take a dose, don’t worry, just take your next dose at the normal time. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Like all medications, Simvastatin can cause side effects in some patients. If you experience either of the following, stop taking this medication and consult a doctor immediately:
Rare side effects (affecting between 1 and 10 in 10,000 people) include:
The following side effects have been reported, although their frequency is unknown:
Do NOT take Simvastatin if:
Before taking Simvastatin, tell your doctor and take special care if:
Do NOT take Simvastatin if you are taking any of the following medications:
Before taking Simvastatin, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including those bought over the counter without a prescription. In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
You should not drink grapefruit juice while taking Simvastatin, as it can increase the concentration of this medication in your system.
You can drink alcohol while taking Simvastatin, but you should stick to the recommended guideline of no more than 14 units per week. Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing liver- and muscle-related side effects.
There are 5 types of statin available on prescription in the UK. The main difference between statins is their lowering effect of cholesterol levels: Simvastatin, Fluvastatin and Pravastatin are low-intensity statins, which are sufficient for lowering the cholesterol in most patients. For patients with very high cholesterol levels, a high intensity statin such as Atorvastatin or Rosuvastatin may be more suitable.
People react differently to different statins, so if you are experiencing troublesome side effects speak to your doctor about the possibility of switching to a different statin.
Simvastatin is a prescription medication that must only be taken following consultation with a doctor. It can also be purchased at a low, 10 mg dose from a pharmacy - however, you should still consult a doctor before switching to this medication. Your doctor will place you on a low-cholesterol diet and start by prescribing you a low dose which may be increased gradually over time.
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol and diagnosis is through testing which is recommended once every five years.
Limiting intake of foods which contain cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat is the easiest way to manage cholesterol. Simvastatin is prescribed in addition to dietary changes if; your levels of cholesterol have not been be lowered by diet or exercise, you are at a greater risk of a stroke or heart attack, you are suffering from coronary heart disease, or you have inherited a condition called homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia.
Simvastatin is not a cure for high cholesterol, and your cholesterol levels will rise again if you stop taking this medication. However, Simvastatin helps to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. It is only effective when accompanied by the appropriate lifestyle and diet. To make the best of Simvastatin, you will need to follow a healthy, low-cholesterol diet, exercise regularly, quit smoking and lose weight if you are overweight.
You will not be able to feel Simvastatin working. However, your doctor may wish to conduct regular blood tests to monitor the level of your cholesterol. It is more important to concentrate on leading a healthy lifestyle to make the most of the benefits of Simvastatin.
Simvastatin is not a blood thinner. It works by reducing the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood and increasing the level of ‘good’ cholesterol.