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Simvastatin is a tablet used to reduce cholesterol levels. Simvastatin helps to prevent circulatory problems by reducing the activity of an enzyme in the liver that produces cholesterol. It is most effective when combined with exercise and a diet low in cholesterol. These tablets are swallowed whole and are available in varying strengths. You will likely be given a weaker tablet to start, usually 20mg. Simvastatin is available in strengths of 10mg, 20mg, 40mg or 80mg.
High cholesterol can lead to a number of serious circulatory problems, including heart attack and stroke. It is important to be conscious of your levels of cholesterol, especially because there are no obvious external symptoms. Lifestyle factors, such as fatty diets, smoking, alcohol consumption and lack of exercise can all raise your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can also occur as a consequence of medical conditions like diabetes. Some people may be more susceptible to cholesterol problems due to family history.
At lower levels, cholesterol is essential in the bloodstream – it transports fats throughout the body, leading to healthy cell tissue growth. This is known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol. However, this amount is produced naturally in the liver. When there is excess cholesterol in the blood, due to poor diet and other lifestyle factors, fats group together and can stop blood from flowing. This is low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol.
Simvastatin works by reducing the activity of an enzyme found in the liver that produces cholesterol. This lowers the cholesterol levels in the body, which reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and angina.
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Your doctor will advise you on the appropriate dosage of Simvastatin. The normal starting dose is 20mg at night, although this will depend on your current cholesterol levels.
The tablets are to be swallowed whole with a sip of water. Take one per day, ideally in the evening. This is because the liver most actively produces cholesterol at night.
If you stop taking Simvastatin, your body will likely resume producing large quantities of cholesterol, which may lead to complications. So, it must be taken long-term.
Your doctor may adjust your dosage going forward, especially if you are at risk of coronary heart disease.
Simvastatin is most effective if combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Prescription medicines should only be one part of a healthy lifestyle.
Not everyone will experience side effects when they take Simvastatin, however, if you do they can include:
If you are overweight with high blood pressure, you may be at risk of diabetes while taking these tablets. Your doctor will monitor you while you take Simvastatin, and stop the prescription if complications develop.
If you are concerned about these effects, or if the product affects you in any other way, stop using it and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Reading the following warnings carefully will help to ensure you are selecting an appropriate product.
Stop taking simvastatin and see a doctor or go to a hospital straight away if you experience:
Muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps. On rare occasions, these muscle problems can be serious, including muscle breakdown resulting in kidney damage; and very rare deaths have occurred.
Simvastatin is unsuitable for you if:
Some other medicines may interact with Simvastatin. This could impact the effectiveness of either (or both) of the medicines. Otherwise, the combination could increase your risk of certain side effects. These medicines include:
The above list is not exhaustive. Please read all packaging and the Patient Information Leaflet before taking any new medicine and inform your doctor of medicines you are taking or intend to take.
The active ingredient contained in Simvastatin is simvastatin.
Simvastatin also contains the following inactive ingredients to make up the complete product:
Lactose monohydrate, pregelatinised maize starch, ascorbic acid (E300), citric acid monohydrate (E330), microcrystalline cellulose (E460(i)), butylhydroxyanisole (E320), croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate (E572).
Simvastatin is a type of medicine known as a ‘statin’. These reduce the amounts of harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream.
Cholesterol medicines will not cause a noticeable change. You will require blood tests to determine whether the treatment has been effective.
Grapefruit affects the activity of an enzyme in the liver. If you are taking certain types of medicine, this can lead to some very harmful side effects. This interaction has been shown to be especially strong for Simvastatin and Atorvastatin. So, avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
Simvastatin has been shown to be most effective at reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol when taken in the evening or at night. This is because of its short duration.
Only repeat supplies of Simvastatin can be purchased from The Independent Pharmacy. This means that you need to have been prescribed it by a GP first. You must have taken Simvastatin for at least three months without unwanted complications.
No – we can only supply the exact statin that you were prescribed and have been taking. You will need to consult your GP if you would like to see what other prescriptions are available.
Your cholesterol will be reduced while you take Simvastatin, but the tablets will not have a permanent effect. So, you will need to take this medicine for as long as you require its effect. Changes to diet and regular exercise can make a lasting change to your cholesterol levels, though blood tests are necessary in order to check your progress.
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