Simvastatin

Simvastatin is a statin medicine used to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. 

Cholesterol 

This is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. But, high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Cholesterol is carried through your blood that is attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called a lipoprotein. There are different types of cholesterol based on what the lipoprotein carries. They are;

LDL

This makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke. 

HDL 

This absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Factors that may increase your risk of bad cholesterol include:

  • Poor diet

Eating saturated fat and trans fat can raise your cholesterol level. Foods that are high in cholesterol will also increase your cholesterol. 

  • Obesity

Have a BMI of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol. 

  • Lack of exercise 

Exercise helps boost your body’s HDL while increasing the size of the particles that you make up your LDL. Wherein, it makes it less harmful. 

  • Age

The chemistry of your body changes as you age and your risk of high cholesterol climbs. For instance, as you age, your liver becomes less able to remove LDL cholesterol. 

  • Smoking

Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels. It makes them more prone to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking might also lower your level of HDL. 

  • Diabetes 

High blood sugar contributes to higher levels of a dangerous called very-low-density lipoprotein and lower HDL cholesterol. 

How It Works

Simvastatin works by decreasing the production of LDL cholesterol by the liver. This has a knock-on effect of making the liver cells take up LDL cholesterol from the blood. This medicine also causes a small decrease in the production of other fats in the blood called triglycerides. It also causes a small increase in HDL cholesterol. 

Statin medicine has an important role in preventing coronary heart disease and stroke. It is because they reduce the risk of excess cholesterol being deposited in the major blood vessels of the heart and brain. Any blockage in these blood vessels limits the amount of blood and therefore oxygen that can be carried to the heart or brain. In the heart, this can cause chest pain and in severe cases can result in a heart attack while in the brain it can cause a stroke.

How To Use It

The dosage of this medication will depend on your cholesterol levels, what other medicines you may be taking, your risk of having a heart attack, and any other conditions. The usual starting dose of Simvastatin for people with high cholesterol is 20mg. This is increased after reviewing cholesterol levels after at least four weeks. The maximum dose of Simvastatin is 80mg. People with genetically high cholesterol levels or increased risk of cardiovascular disease may be started on a 40mg dose of Simvastatin.

This is taken once a day at night or as directed by your doctor.The body produces most cholesterol at night, so this drug is generally more effective if taken in at bedtime. You will need to take Simvastatin every day on a long-term basis. This is because if you stop taking it, your body will start to make cholesterol again and your cholesterol levels will start to rise again. Your dose of Simvastatin can be taken either with or without food. Avoid taking Simvastatin with grapefruit juice. If you forget to take a dose of this medication don’t worry, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as usual when it is due. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose. Let your doctor know right away if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse. 

Side Effects

Common side effects:

  • Gas
  • Heartburn 
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion 
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation 
  • Joint pain
  • Headache 
  • Skin rash 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Sleep problems or insomnia 
  • Cold symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, or sore throat. 

Contact your doctor right away if you have these side effects:

  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Weight gain
  • Painful urination
  • Weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Increased hunger or thirst 
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Tenderness or weakness with fever or flu symptoms 

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Hives
  • Swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat 

This is not the complete list of the side effects. Call your doctor if there are side effects that happened. 

Precautions 

  • Simvastatin is used for adults and children over 10 years who have high cholesterol levels. It is either due to genetics or a result of diet and lifestyle. 
  • This drug should not be taken during pregnancy and by people with liver disease or taking certain medicines. It includes medicines used to treat HIV and hepatitis C. 
  • Some people especially elders may need a lower dose of Simvastatin or extra monitoring. This also includes people with a history of liver or kidney problems, who drink large amounts of alcohol, with an underactive thyroid gland, and at risk of developing diabetes. 
  • This prescription should not be used in pregnancy because it may be harmful to a developing baby. Let your doctor know if you get pregnant while having Simvastatin as your treatment. 
  • Talk to your doctor straight away if you think you could be pregnant or want to try for a baby. It is recommended that statins are stopped 3 months before trying to get pregnant. 
  • It is also advised that Simvastatin should not be taken by women who are breastfeeding. 
  • Taking Simvastatin is not a substitute for eating a healthy and balanced diet. You must continue to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet and do regular exercise while having this treatment. 
  • You should avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol if taking Simvastatin. It may increase the risk of liver problems or side effects on the muscles.