Simvastatin is used as a preventative for cardiovascular disease. The drug lowers the risk of a heart attack and can also be used to treat high cholesterol. It will also raise good cholesterol in the body and lower triglycerides in the blood stream, cutting down on the risk of heart surgery, stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart attack. In some cases, the drug has been shown to reverse coronary artery disease. Simvastatin can be used on a variety of age groups if the dosing is adjusted accordingly. The drug may also have an altered dose based on the heart condition intended to treat. More severe conditions will require a higher dosage in order for simvastatin to be effective.
There are multiple dosages of simvastatin available, ranging from 5-80 mg. Those with normal LDL levels will normally take a smaller does than those already suffering from cholesterol or heart issues. High doses should only be taken with a doctor's supervision because you can easily overdose on simvastatin. You will only take one dose of simvastatin a day. Try to take these around the same time, and do not double up on a dose if you miss one the day before.
Most doctors will prescribe a healthy eating regimen to help encourage the effectiveness of simvastatin. Eating a diet that is low in saturated fats will promote higher effectiveness of your simvastatin drug. Doctors will also usually recommend eating a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Cutting down on carbohydrates may also be required. Some doctors will also include exercise as a requirement for taking simvastatin. If you are obese or have a serious heart condition, talk over safe options for exercise with your doctor.
Common Side Effects of Simvastatin
The most common simvastatin side effect is headaches, occurring in 3.5 percent of users. This is followed by abdominal pain at 3.2 percent and constipation at 2.3 percent. Most people saw an improvement in these symptoms over time, and found that the side effects were not extreme enough to interfere with their everyday life. If you find that this is not the case for you, contact your doctor and discuss whether or not your prescription needs to be altered. A lower dose may help you adjust to the medication without as much bodily disturbance.
Other common simvastatin side effects, occurring in approximately 2 percent of users, include upper respiratory infections, flatulence, weakness, and nausea, diarrhea, and muscle pain. These were also mild and did not cause much discomfort in the body. Only 1.4 percent of users stopped taking simvastatin due to the discomfort of the side effects. Discuss any symptoms you develop with your doctor so you can determine the most appropriate course of action. If you need to seek medical attention for any infections you develop, let your medical care provider know you are on simvastatin so they do not prescribe any medications that will counteract the effects of the drug.
Uncommon and Rare Side Effects of Simvastatin
Less common simvastatin side effects include depression insomnia, rhabdomyolisis, muscle and joint pain, erectile dysfunction, eczema, vertigo and pancreatitis. These conditions were so rare that it is difficult to determine a percentage of people who suffered from them. If you start developing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about a possible solution. They will inform you if you should stop taking simvastatin or get additional medical care for your condition. Let your doctor know if you have ever experienced similar side effects due to another drug so they can anticipate the risk.
In some cases, patients suffered an allergic reaction to their simvastatin dosage. While this is an extremely rare occurrence, it is very dangerous and should be taken seriously should it occur. If you notice any hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing while you are on simvastatin, stop taking the medication and contact your health care provider. If your condition is serious, you may need to contact emergency services to counteract the side effects.
Side Effects in Children and Pregnant Women
Children ages 10-17 can use simvastatin to treat familial hypercholesterolemia. Children younger than this age group should not take simvastatin. Children are more at risk for developing headache, abdominal pain and nausea while on the drug than some other age groups.
Pregnant women should not use simvastatin because it has been shown to do harm to the fetus. Those who are breastfeeding should avoid the drug as it can be passed on to their infant, which has proven to be dangerous in many cases. Talk with your doctor about the potential risk before starting a simvastatin prescription while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Interactions with Other Medications and Substances
If you are on blood thinners such as danazol, gemfibrozil or cyclosporine or any type of HIV inhibitors you should tell your doctor before starting a simvastatin prescription. These drugs may react poorly with the medication or could counteract with the properties of the drug. Some anti-fungal medications including fluconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, and itraconazole will also react poorly when paired with simvastatin. These will increase your risk of side effects as well as increase the effects of the drug, which can lead to a dangerous condition.
You should not pair simvastatin with alcohol. Alcohol raises triglyceride levels which will directly counteract the effectiveness of the medication. You should also avoid smoking as this will promote poor cardiovascular health which will contradict your simvastatin dosage. Grapefruit and grapefruit extract should not be consumed while on simvastatin as is slows down the body's intake of the drug and reacts negatively with the compounds in the body.