Simvastatin: uses, mechanism and precautions

Simvastatin is a drug that belongs to the statin family and should only be used with a prescription. It is used to treat high cholesterol problems.

Last update: September 07, 2021

Simvastatin is one of the most widely used drugs to lower cholesterol levels bad in the blood. Remember that a good part of cardiovascular diseases are related to this factor.

Elevated levels of bad cholesterol or LDL promote fat deposits in the arteries. This makes it difficult for the blood to circulate.

It is important to make two clarifications. One is that simvastatin is a prescription drug, meaning it is not available over the counter. Another is that this drug is ineffective if treatment is not accompanied by lifestyle changes.

How does simvastatin work?

Simvastatin comes in two forms: tablet or suspension.. Both are ingested orally. As a brand-name drug, it can be found under the name Zocor ®, but there are also generic versions.

What this substance does is inhibit an enzyme called hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A. By doing so, it prevents the liver from synthesizing LDL fat particles.

The so-called bad cholesterol is of low density and is the one that accumulates in the blood vessels. Cholesterol well o HDL is high-density and its role is to collect excess cholesterol and bring it back to the liver for processing.

Simvastatin is used when there are abnormally high levels of bad cholesterol., to the point where they can put cardiovascular health at risk. If a change in lifestyle is considered sufficient, this drug will not be prescribed and the effect of diet and exercise will be evaluated.

It is also used to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Likewise, to prevent heart problems in people who suffer from diabetes, coronary heart disease or who have other risk factors.

Certain forms of cholesterol obstruct the passage of blood through the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks.

Possible side effects of simvastatin

Like all medicine, simvastatin also has the potential for side effects. The most common are headache, nausea, constipation, and myalgia.

It has been established that 1 in every 1000 patients may present the following signs:

  • Muscle pain or cramps with numbness in the limbs.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Hair loss.
  • Anemia and inflammation of the pancreas.

Likewise, it is estimated that 1 in 10,000 patients may have effects such as the following:

  • Muscle tears.
  • Kidney damage
  • Very intense weakness and tiredness.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale-colored stools and dark-colored urine.
  • Enlargement of the breasts in men.


The use of simvastatin in pregnant women is not recommended.. The active substance in this medicine can harm your baby or cause birth defects. It is also not safe to use during lactation.

This medicine should not be given to children under 10 years of age. It is important to inform your doctor about other drugs that are being taken, as there could be interactions.

Statins have adverse effects that can be monitored with regular labs.

Dosage and recommendations for use

The most common is that it is prescribed a daily dose of 5 to 40 milligrams of simvastatin. It is started at night to reduce muscular side effects.

If the high cholesterol levels are due to genetic reasons, the usual dose is 40 milligrams a day, taken at night as well. Most commonly, children ages 10 to 17 eat no more than 10 milligrams a day.

The ideal amount for each person will be established taking into account age, the condition being treated and its severity. In all cases, it is the doctor who can order or suspend this drug.

Simvastatin Precautions and Interactions

During treatment with simvastatin it is not advisable to consume grapefruit. This fruit has been found to cause undesirable side effects. Likewise, it is not advisable to drink alcohol, since it increases the risk of liver damage.

People with hypothyroidism or diabetes should take this drug with extreme caution. There is a risk of rhabdomyolysis, a condition that leads to muscle tissue breakdown.

There will always be a monitoring by the attending physician. For this, blood laboratories are requested every 3 or 6 months, so that the effect of the drug on liver enzymes can be measured.

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