Simvastatin Side Effects and Myopathy

November 12, 2012

Simvastatin Side Effects and Myopathy

If you have high cholesterol and your physician wants to put you on simvastatin, you should be aware of simvastatin side effects before you make a decision to take this prescription drug. This cholesterol lowering drug is a member of the statin family of drugs and shares the same sides effects with the statin group. Simvastatin mechanism of action is to slow down the production of cholesterol in the body. If you are producing too much cholesterol by the liver, this would be a desirable solution. Lower your cholesterol levels will decrease the potential for heart attack, atherosclerosis and stroke.

Simvastatin side effects are far and wide however, most individuals go relatively unaffected. Some patients experience muscle fiber damage and atrophy bringing about a myopathy rendering the muscle useless. This generally occurs at high doses with individuals that have taken the drug for some time. Early symptoms of this myopathy include muscle stiffness, soreness, spasms, cramping and general weakness. Additionally, simvastatin side effects of rhabdomyolysis have been reported. What happens here is that proteins that have broken down in muscle are released directly into the blood stream. This is known as hyperproteinemia. This will eventually lead to kidney damage and them kidney failure. Again, this occurs in high dosages and long-term usage.

Simvastatin side effects also include cholestatic hepatitis. This is an inflammation of the tube that carries bile from liver cells to the gall bladder. Inflammation of this tube prevents bile from passing into the intestine but instead enters the blood stream causing yellowing of the skin and later liver death. Beyond cholestatic hepatitis, simvastatin can cause liver cirrhosis which means it killing liver cells. Simvastatin side effects include tiredness, yellow of the skin and eyes, itching and bruising.

The more common simvastatin side effects include constipation, stomach pain, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, joint pain and memory loss. These are mild symptoms and often resolve themselves.

There are some complications when mixing other drugs with simvastatin. The drugs reported to have adverse interactions include antifungal medications, other cholesterol lower drugs and anticoagulants. Make sure you doctor knows you complete medical history and any other drugs you are currently taking along with natural supplements and vitamins. Botanicals such as Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng have blood thinning properties and shouldn’t be taken with simvastatin as this will increase the potential for internal bleeding and bruising which could be fatal.

Chances are your physician will have you come in regularly to check on your liver function. They often do a liver enzyme test for this to make sure simvastatin is not damaging your liver. This is particularly true if you are older or have diabetes or thyroid problems. If you are pregnant or breast feeding do not take this drug. If for any reason you suspect you have overdosed on simvastatin, call your physician or poison control center immediately. Chances are you need to go to the emergency room.


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