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Dr. Sarah Donald
Dr. Sarah Donald Clinical Lead

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What is Simvastatin?

Simvastatin (also known as Zocor) belongs to a group of medications called statins that are specifically intended to help lower blood cholesterol levels. It works to reduce the production of LDL (low density lipoprotein), which is a dangerous type of cholesterol that poses a serious risk to your health. Taking statins can significantly lower your chances of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and angina. The treatment has been clinically successful at treating high cholesterol, working more effectively when taken alongside beneficial changes in lifestyle and diet.

How do Simvastatin tablets work?

Simvastatin works to lower the level of LDL cholesterol in the body, simply by preventing the HMG CoA reductase enzyme in the liver from producing as much. As there is now less excess LDL in the blood stream, the liver can then absorb the LDL from your blood, lowering blood cholesterol levels.

The treatment can also help to reduce the levels of other dangerous fats in your blood, such as triglycerides, and promote production of HDL (high density lipoprotein), which is a 'good' type of cholesterol, that is easily broken down and does not clog up the arteries.

Category Total-C (mg/dL) LDL-C (mg/dL)
Acceptable < 170 < 110
Borderline 170-199 110-129
High ≥ 200 ≥ 130

What are the benefits of Simvastatin?

Simvastatin tablets can provide various benefits for the user, if used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, it can effectively:

  • Reduce levels of LDL cholesterol in your system
  • Reduce your chances of developing heart disease, angina and atherosclerosis, as excess cholesterol will not be able to build up and obstruct blood vessels and starve your muscles and heart of oxygen and blood.
  • Lower doses can equal a very low risk of side effects

People with other conditions, such as high blood pressure, may also benefit from this medication if they also suffer from high cholesterol.

How can I increase the efficacy of Simvastatin?

Quitting smoking
Stopping smoking is a great way to raise 'good' HDL. Studies have shown that people who have quit smoking for a one-year period increased their HDL levels by approximately 2.4mg per mg/dl, whereas the HDL levels in the group who continued smoking remained roughly the same.

Further studies have shown that a 1mg/dl rise in HDL lowers the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease.

Just 30 minutes of moderate-heavy exercise per day can help you increase the effects of these high cholesterol tablets. Advised activities include walking, jogging and cycling. Day-to-day activities, such as gardening, also count towards your exercise quota.

If you stick to a diet that is low in saturated fats, this will help you lower LDL levels. These foods include vegetables, fruits and oats.

How do I take Simvastatin tablets?

Simvastatin tablets are available for men or women over the age of 18, who are diagnosed with high cholesterol levels or are at a health risk of developing CHD as a result of high cholesterol levels. When looking to use it for the first time, you should use the following steps as a guideline. Depending on the dosage suggested by your doctor:

  • Swallow one Simvastatin tablet each day preferably in the evening with a glass of water, as the liver produces the most cholesterol during the night.
  • Do not break or crush the tablet, it should be taken whole
  • It's important to keep taking it on a long-term basis, because if you don't then your body may start to produce cholesterol in quantities large enough to make your levels rise.
  • The dosage can be adjusted as discussed with your doctor, this is particularly true for those at high risk of CHD (coronary heart disease).

What dosages are available for Simvastatin?

Simvastatin high cholesterol tablets are available in the following doses: 10mg, 20mg, 40mg or 80mg. Which one you should use will depend on your condition and your doctor's instructions; however, you will normally begin on the 10mg or 20mg dosage to establish how well the treatment works and how your body reacts to the medication.

The 40 or 80mg tablets are often restricted to those who have found minimal positive effects from the previous dosages and who have also not shown any adverse side effects (in particular muscle toxicity or muscle pain) having used a higher dosage for more than 12 months.

It is advised to discuss first with your doctor whether it is suitable to increase your dosage of the treatment and you should never increase your dosage without your GP's consent.

All the dosages available with this drug have been formulated by the manufacturer to maintain efficacy whilst simultaneously reducing potential side effects.

Side effects when taking Simvastatin?

Although this treatment does not normally cause side effects and in the rare instances that it does, they are usually mild and short lived.

The most common side effects affect between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 people and they include:

  • Headaches
  • Pins and needles
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion

Side effects that are rarely occur include:

  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Fever
  • Kidney problems
  • Stomach problems

If you experience any muscle pains, yellowing of the skin, cramps or a severe allergic reaction to the treatment, then you should contact your doctor immediately.

What are the precautions/interactions of Simvastatin?

The patients that will most benefit from this medication include those with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease (which can lead to a heart attack or stroke), such as hypertension, even if cholesterol levels are not especially high. You may not be prescribed this medication for certain medical reasons, these include:

  • the use of certain medicines, such as Amiodarone which may have a negative effect on the kidney function
  • if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • if you have liver disease
  • lactose allergy
  • if you have a low thyroid function
  • if you are suffering from diabetes
  • if you are allergic to the active ingredient in the Simvastatin tablet

We can only offer this medication to patients who have already been diagnosed with high cholesterol and have been recommended it as a course of treatment. If you think you may have high cholesterol, but are not certain, we strongly recommend that you speak to your doctor to receive an actual diagnosis.

Statins such as this can also react negatively to grapefruit, as they can increase the levels of Simvastatin in the blood, which can then increase the likelihood of muscle damage. Therefore it is strongly advised to avoid drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit.

Does it interact with alcohol?

Whilst moderate alcohol usage is unlikely to cause any problems, anyone with alcohol dependency should talk to their doctor before using Simvastatin as they may not be suitable for this medication due to the alcohol's effect on the liver.

For further information about the potential adverse effects, as well as the precautions and interactions of Simvastatin oral tablets, please refer to the helpful patient leaflet, which is included alongside your medication. It is also available for download towards the bottom of this page.

Can I buy Simvastatin online safely?

This cholesterol lowering medication is available to buy online here if you have been recommended it by your doctor. During our hassle-free online consultation, you will be asked a few questions regarding your health and current medical condition, so that one of our doctors can also check to make sure that it is suitable for your use. Once approved, your prescription will be filled and provided to one of our UK pharmacies, who will then dispatch it to you, to arrive the very next day.

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