Simvastatin Side Effects

simvastatin side effectsMost legal drugs that reach the market have been rigurously tested. But even though they were tested, they all usually come with a list of possible side effects. When it comes to the Simvastatin side effects, there’s quite a list. However, before I put them into view, first of all it’s important to bring to your knowledge exactly what this drug does.

Simvastatin Main Effect

Simvastatin is a lipid-lowering drug. It is used for the treatments of hyperlipidemias, or to reduce and control the high levels of cholesterol. Simvastatin is mainly prescribed for dyslipidemia and to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Simvastatin is can also be prescribed to people with peripheral vessel disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes, or to patients who have a history of myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular disease. By reducing the blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, this drug also reduces the risk of another stroke or another heart attack. Simvastatin is sometimes prescribed to young adults with hypercholesterolemia.

In other words, Simvastatin is a drug that decreases the level of fat in your blood, this way lowering the risks of a heart attack, coronary heart disease and various other heart complications.

Simvastatin Adverse Effects

The list of usual Simvastatin side effects isn’t too long, and the frequent side effects related to the intake of this drug are low risk. These are: headache, nausea, skin rash, abdominal pain, indigestion, dyspepsia, constipation or diarrhea, stuffy or runny nose, or a general sensation of weakness.

Of course, there are more severe Simvastatin side effects. However, these aren’t very common, and only a very small number of patients might experience these complications after taking this drug.

For example it has been reported that patients who were administered Simvastatin chronically may face a series of liver diseases like cholestatic hepatitis or hepatic cirrhosis.

Some of the other unusual, rare adverse effects of Simvastatin are: muscle cramps or muscle pain, joint pains, fever, respiratory diseases or problems like sinusitis, bronchitis or shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, vertigo, amnesia, severe tiredness, depression and anxiety, irregular heartbeat, severe allergic reactions like eczema, skin blistering, swelling of the tongue, lips or mouth, angioedema and anaphylaxis, vomiting.

Also, some of the rare side effects of Simvastatin are sexual impotence and infections of the urinary tract.

One of the most serious Simvastatin side effects is rhabdomyolysis. This condition is the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue and the release of the products of the muscle damaged cells into the bloodstream. Some of these products, especially myoglobin, are really destructive for the kidneys. A condition like this may lead to kidney failure. The main symptoms of rhabdomyolysis are muscle pains, vomiting, and the brown coloration of the urine.

In general, it is known that the high (80 mg doses) and long-term intake of Simvastatin may lead to myopathy (in other words, muscle cramps, muscle pain, the swelling of leg muscles etc).

Needless to say, in a condition like this, or, in case any of the Simvastatin side effects mentioned here occurs, imediate medical help is necessary.

Simvastatin Interactions and Contraindications

Before prescribing Simvastatin or almost any other medicine to you, any doctor should ask you what other medicine you take or have been prescribed to you. Each drug may badly interact with other drugs or might be contraindicated for certain other conditions or diseases that you have.

Simvastatin has its share of intreactions and contraindications. One of the most significant is the intake of the drug along with grapefruit juice or the consumption of grapefruits. Grapefruit juice contains 6′,7′-dihydroxybergamottin, furanocoumarins and bergamottin, substances which inhibit the intestinal metabolization of the drug. This may result in increased plasma levels of Simvastatin. In other words, if you’re taking Simvastatin, you should not consume grapefruits or grapefruit juice because you may suffer a severe intoxication.

There are certain other drugs that interact with the assimilation of Simvastatin and can lead to severe intoxications. These are: HIV protease inhibitors, Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Erythromycin, Clarithromycin, Nefazodone, or Telithromycin.

Also, if you were prescribed Simvastatin in doses of 10 mg, you shouldn’t take it with Danazol, Cyclosporine and Gemfibrozil. Amiodarone and Verapamil shouldn’t be taken if you’re on medication with Simvastatin dosed at 20 mg.

Simvastatin is contraindicated in conjunction with any of the drugs mentioned above, because all of them a inhibitors of the Cytochrome P450 3A4, decreasing the metabolism of Simvastatin, just like grapefruit juice. Taking Simvastatin along with any of the drugs mentioned above, will spike its plasma activity and this may lead to myopathy and rhabdomyolysis.

Simvastatin is also contraindicated for pregnancy. Lipid content, cholesterol and cholesterol derivatives are necessary for the development of the fetus. Due to the fact that Simvastatin is a lipid and cholesterol lowering drug, it’s pretty much obvious that it shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy. This also stands for breast-feeding mothers.

Lastly, Simvastatin is also not recommended in case of liver disease, kidney and thyroid disorders. Medication with Simvastatin for patients that also have liver disease may lead to the increase of liver enzymes, jaundice, cirrosis, hepatitis and hepatoma. Simvastatin may also favor tumor growth, for lung, liver and thyroid tumors. However this drug reduces the chance of colon and skin cancer.

Conclusions

To avoid the Simvastatin side effects and complications you should not take this drug, if:

  • You are pregnant, trying to conceive or a breast-feeding mother;
  • You have a liver disease, or a history with liver disease;
  • You have or had kidney problems;
  • You have any thyroid problems;
  • You take any other medicine that may slow the absorbtion of Simvastatin (in other words, the drugs mentioned in the section above). Also, keep in mind that medicine that is available without prescription, like complementary medicine, or herbal infusion treatments might interact badly with this drug;
  • You have frequent muscle problems;
  • You have prophyria;
  • You are allergic to this drug.

To avoid the Simvastatin side effects, keep away from grapefruit juice while under medication with this drug. Also, consuming large quantities of alcohol may lead to bad reactions to the drug. In fact, if you’re taking any treatment, you shouldn’t consume alcohol at all. Always take the drug as your doctor prescribed. If you forgot to take your dose, do not take it when it’s close to the time for your next dose. And by no means take two doses at once just to make up for the time you forgot.

To benefit the most from the medication with Simvastatin you should pay regular visits to your doctor, so that they can evaluate your progress. Also, a diet low in fat and cholesterol, and with a reduced amount of salt will help a lot. Plus, you should exercise, if possible.