Side Effects Associated with Zocor Medication

November 12, 2012

Side Effects Associated with Zocor Medication

Zocor is effective in lowering cholesterol in patients, however this medication has been seen to produce many side effects. Zocor is the generic name for Simvastatin which is a medication used to help in lowering cholesterol, particularly LDL cholesterol. This medication belongs to a family of drugs called statins.

Zocor is available in the following doses, 5, 10, 20, 40 and 80mgs. The main purpose of statins is to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of vascular disease developing from atherosclerosis is reduced by using statins.

Restrictions

From June 2011 the FDA has restricted the use of 80mg of Zocor. This was due to studies carried out which showed that there appeared to be an increased number of patients suffering from serious muscle disease when using Zocor compared to patients who were using other statins which were available.

Patients who have been taking 80mg doses of Zocor for over a year and have not experienced the Zocor side effects which cause myalgia can continue with this amount.

It is not recommended to switch medication or to take additional lipid lowering drug for patients who are taking 40mg doses of Zocor medication and have not reached their required LDL cholesterol level. These patients may be given another medication to take, such as Zetia or Niacin. They may also be considered for a non-pharmaceutical solution by increasing their efforts to exercise, diet and lose weight.

The FDA has given approval to use Zocor for the following indications:

  • Dyxbetalipoporoteinemia

  • Mixed hyperlipidemia

  • Homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia

Zocor is also given to aid high risk patients in prevention of the adverse effects of cardiovascular illness such as a history of coronary artery disease or peripheral arterial disease or have suffered a heart attack which is related to diabetes.

Zocor side effects are much the same as the side effects generally related to the statin family of drugs. Common side effects associated with Zocor are:

  • Myalgias. The symptoms can range from a minor pain and aches to severe muscle inflammation.

  • Gastrin trustable tract. Pain may be experienced in the abdomen and diarrhea, constipation and flatulence may occur.

  • Symptoms of urinary tract infections.

  • Asthenia

Serious side effects associated with Zocor are:

  • Myopathy. This is a very common side effect associated with using Zocor. Symptoms can range from extremely serious to less severe. The less severe myopathy symptoms can normally be reversed and are transient.

  • Hepatoxicity. There are various degrees of this diseases ranging from a small increase of the liver transaminase which is AST and ALT to the more serious symptoms of drug induced hepatitis. As a rule of thumb should the increase in the liver transaminase be more than three times over baseline levels, the Zocor medication should be stopped or the dose reduced.

  • Acute renal failure connected to rhabdomyolysis.

  • Pancreatisis.

  • Angioedema

  • Anaphylasis

  • Interstitial lung disease

Zocor side effects affecting the skin are:

  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis and photosensitivity.

Zocor side effects related to the rheumatologic system include:

  • Dermatomyositis, lupus erythematosus, polymyalgia rheumatic and dermatomyositis. Hypersensitivity syndromes which are of a serious nature have also been reported.

Side effects connected to the hematologic system include:

  • Thrombocytopenia

  • Leukopenia

  • Hemolytic anemia

Unusual Zocor side effects experienced are:

  • Myalgia appears to be a side effect specific to Zocor medication and other Statin medication. It is also a common side effect in Lipitor medication. Patients may report minor symptoms such as sore muscles, body pain, weakness and severe aches after physical exertion.

Drug Interactions and Cautions

There are many doctors who will decide not to give statin medications including Zocor to women of reproductive age who possibly may be pregnant. Zocor is contraindicated for pregnant or lactating women. There is confirmed or positive evidence which indicates there is a risk to the fetus and this risk is considered to outweigh any potential benefits. Caution would be used when administering Zocor to patients who are suffering with an active disease of the liver including hepatitis and patients who consume excessive amounts of alcohol. If a patient is suffering from an existing muscle disease such as myopathy then Zocor would only be given after careful consideration as it is known the drug may cause myopathy. Azole antifungal medicines and drugs belonging to the erythromycin family and many antiviral drugs which are used in the treatment of HIV infections are a limited list of medications where interactions with Zocor raise significant concerns. Before taking any medication speak with your doctor and always read the information leaflet from the manufacturer.

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