Statins belong to a category of medications that are used for decreasing the level of blood cholesterol. Intake of drugs under this genre is known to reduce the risks of cardiac arrests and other heart disorders. Statins can also control the risks of strokes. Simvastatin is a prescription drug. It is administered to reduce triglycerides as well as cholesterol levels. This drug does trigger a few side effects. If you are going to start a dosage of simvastatin, it may be useful to know the likely side effects of this drug.
Enzymes in the liver play a critical role while your body makes cholesterol. If your blood has an excessive amount of cholesterol, it can lead to formation of plaque – especially on the linings of your blood vessels. Over a period of time, these lining may thicken and shrink the passage of your arteries. Contracted arteries run the risk of clotting your blood in these constricted passages, thus triggering a stroke or cardiac arrest.
The main functions of statins are to decrease your bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost the good cholesterol (HDL) levels. LDL is the short form of low density lipoprotein. If LDL is lesser than 100 mg/dL, it is considered as normal. At 100 to 129 mg/dL, it is staged as above normal or optimal. LDL-values between 130 to 159 mg/dL are taken as marginally high (borderline) while above 160 mg/dL is staged as high. Some people may have a level higher than 190 mg/dL. This is considered as a very high level of bad cholesterol.
High density lipoprotein (HDL) is referred as good cholesterol. This is because of its ability to bring cholesterol from different parts to the liver. If HDL level is higher than 60 mg/dL, it is considered as a healthy level. On the other hand, levels lesser than 40 mg/dL are taken as being low. Such low levels of HDL are bad for your health. Statins are also effective in decreasing the traces of triglycerides in blood. Thus, these drugs can essentially decrease the total cholesterol level in blood.
Simvastatin and its dosage
This statin is administered along with a well-structured treatment plan comprising a balanced diet and workout schedule. Simvastatin helps increase HDL (i.e., good cholesterol), reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and other fats such as triglycerides. In essence, it helps decrease the quantum of cholesterol your body makes. By doing all these tasks, the drug lowers the risks of cardiac dysfunction as well as strokes.
Dosage of simvastatin depends on your age, clinical condition and also on the other drugs you are currently taking. It is never administered beyond 40 mg in a day. As an important precaution, you are advised not to take grapefruit juices or eat the fruit while consuming the statin. This is an important measure as this fruit can enhance the concentration of this drug in your body.
Along with doses of this statin, you are advised to take foods with low-fat content. You may also need to make a few changes to your habits – especially shed excessive body weight by exercising and working out regularly. If you have the habit of smoking, it is a good practice to stop it.
If you have any known hypersensitivities or allergies, it is essential to inform your doctor about them. Also, if you have the habit of excessive consumption of alcohol, your prescribing-doctor needs to know about it before even starting a treatment plan. This is very essential because taking alcohol along with simvastatin increases the risks of aggravating your liver conditions. Also, if you are having a renal condition, such history needs to be shared with your medical team.
This drug is not to be taken by pregnant women as the risks of damages to your fetus are fairly high. Hence, you may need to use contraceptives while taking this medicine. While choosing a contraceptive, you may need to take your doctor’s advice on the right type. It is likely that your doctor may recommend usage of birth control medicines or condoms – which are considered as more reliable.
Simvastatin may interact with a few drugs – especially with blood thinning or antiplatelet drugs. Not stopping with these, you need to avoid taking this statin with antifungal medications (especially of the azole genre, for example – ketoconazole).
Side effects of simvastatin
It is important to remember that your doctor has prescribed this statin as its benefits clearly outweigh the likelihood of adverse side effects it may trigger. However, most people who take this drug find no major or acute reactions.
In very rare instances, simvastatin is known to alter blood sugar levels. So, people with diabetes need to take needful precautions on this front. It is a good practice to tell your treating doctor if you are diabetic or if your family’s clinical history has blood sugar related ailments. Similarly, in very rare cases, this drug has been seen to cause mild levels of confusion. It may also manifest as memory lapses, again at a milder scale. In such instances, you are advised to talk to your doctor.
As an extremely rare occurrence, simvastatin may trigger a few muscular conditions. A very minor share of such conditions may turn into muscular pain and inflammation. This is essentially an autoimmune medical condition. In order to avoid such complications, you need to inform your treating doctor about existing discomforts such as painful muscles or weariness. It is also important to track any changes in your renal health; this may show up as changes in the quantity of urine discharged.
Similar to the above, this drug may – in very remote cases – trigger hepatic conditions. Though it is a rare side effect, you may need to take it seriously due to the impact it may have on your overall health. Hepatic or liver disorders may show up as discoloration of urine, appearance of a yellowish tint on your skin or eyes, nausea accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting and acute pain in your lower stomach or lower abdomen.
If you experience allergies such as itchiness, inflammation of facial parts or oral organs (like your throat or tongue), respiratory problems or difficulties such as gasping for breath and an acute spell of drowsiness, it is important to seek medical help without any delay. Although most of these side effects are not very uncommon, needful steps are required as soon as you experience any of them.
In sum, simvastatin is taken as part of a treatment plan including a balanced diet and regular exercises. This statin helps enhance your HDL (i.e., good cholesterol), decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. As a result, the quantum of cholesterol your body makes comes down sizeably. Most of the people who use this drug do not develop any major side effects. However, in very rare cases, this drug can liver conditions, muscular problems, etc. Very rarely, it can trigger allergies such as rashes on your skin, itchiness, breathing problems, etc. You are advised to contact your treating doctor and take needful advice.
If you are living in the US, it is highly recommended to call 911. If you are living in Canada, you may get in touch with a local poison control center without any further delay. Also, if you are aged 55 years or more, it is quite likely that you may be extra-sensitive to this drug and to the side effects it may trigger.