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Where is Simvastatin used?
Simvastatin is a statin medicine used to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. This medication is used together with a proper diet. Lowering bad cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.
How does Simvastatin work?
Simvastatin works by decreasing the production of LDL cholesterol by the liver. This has a knock-on effect of making the liver cells take up LDL cholesterol from the blood. This medicine also causes a small decrease in the production of other fats in the blood called triglycerides. It also causes a small increase in HDL cholesterol.
Statin medicine has an important role in preventing coronary heart disease and stroke. It is because they reduce the risk of excess cholesterol being deposited in the major blood vessels of the heart and brain. Any blockage in these blood vessels limits the amount of blood and therefore oxygen that can be carried to the heart or brain. In the heart, this can cause chest pain and in severe cases can result in a heart attack while in the brain it can cause a stroke.
How is Simvastatin taken?
The usual dose of this medication is 20 mg. The dosage is increased after reviewing cholesterol levels later at least four weeks. The maximum dose of Simvastatin is 80 mg. People with increased risk of cardiovascular disease or genetically high cholesterol levels may be started on a 40 mg dose of Simvastatin.
This is taken once a day at night or as directed by your doctor. The body produces most cholesterol at night, so this drug is generally more effective if taken in at bedtime. You will need to take Simvastatin every day on a long-term basis. This is because if you stop taking it, your body will start to make cholesterol again and your cholesterol levels will start to rise again. Your dose of Simvastatin can be taken either with or without food. Avoid taking Simvastatin with grapefruit juice. Let your doctor know right away if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.
What are the precautions in taking Simvastatin?
- Simvastatin is used for adults and children over 10 years who have high cholesterol levels. It is either due to genetics or a result of diet and lifestyle.
- This drug should not be taken during pregnancy and by people with liver disease or taking certain medicines. It includes medicines used to treat HIV and hepatitis C.
- Some people especially elders may need a lower dose of Simvastatin or extra monitoring. This also includes people with a history of liver or kidney problems, who drink large amounts of alcohol, with an underactive thyroid gland, and at risk of developing diabetes.
- This prescription should not be used in pregnancy because it may be harmful to a developing baby. Let your doctor know if you get pregnant while having Simvastatin as your treatment.
- Talk to your doctor straight away if you think you could be pregnant or want to try for a baby. It is recommended that statins are stopped 3 months before trying to get pregnant.
- It is also advised that Simvastatin should not be taken by women who are breastfeeding.
- Taking Simvastatin is not a substitute for eating a healthy and balanced diet. You must continue to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet and do regular exercise while having this treatment.
- You should avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol if taking Simvastatin. It may increase the risk of liver problems or side effects on the muscles.