What Is Simvastatin?
Simvastatin is a drug designed to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Simvastatin belongs to the group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, also known as statins. Statins act by reducing levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. They reduce production of cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme HMG CoA reductase in the liver. Apart from reducing amount of cholesterol and triglycerides, statins also increase levels of good cholesterol or HDL in the blood.
Simvastatin is also used to lower the risk of heart attack, coronary artery disease, stroke and other complications related to the heart in people with medical conditions that make them susceptible to heart problems.
Although simvastatin can significantly reduce levels of cholesterol, this drug entails numerous side effects. Here is the list of common side effects of simvastatin.
Simvastatin Side Effects
When taking simvastatin, a patient must carefully follow the directions given on prescription label. Simvastatin comes as an oral tablet that should be taken once a day, usually in the evening, in average daily dose of 5 to 80 mg. Simvastatin must be taken in the exact dose as ordered by a doctor as side effects of the drug are mostly caused by changes in the dosage.
Simvastatin can cause many side effects but usually they are minor such as headache and nausea. However, some people may experience rare and severe side effects of this cholesterol-lowering drug such as liver disease and memory loss.
The most common side effect of simvastatin is muscle pain. This is usually experienced as soreness, tiredness and weakness in the muscles. Muscle pain due to simvastatin can range from mild discomfort to intense pain that hampers everyday activities. In very rare cases, simvastatin can cause the condition called rhabdomyolysis that is characterized by life-threatening muscle damage. It can also lead to renal failure, liver damage and death if simvastatin is taken in combination with certain drugs.
Use of simvastatin can cause increased production of enzymes in the liver. If this production significantly increases, it can cause permanent liver damage thus simvastatin must be discontinued. Liver damage and liver failure may occur if simvastatin is taken with alcohol.
In some people who take simvastatin, digestive problems such as nausea, diarrhea or constipation may develop. Grapefruit juices should not be consumed while on simvastatin as this combination may result in damage to the liver.
Other Simvastatin Side Effects
Simvastatin can also cause hair loss, depression, memory loss, joint pain, gas, headache, rash, jaundice, chest pain and upper respiratory infections.